Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Really Happens on Friday Nights

Here's a typical Friday night in the newsroom during football season. Keep in mind, most of us don't normally work at night, so our presence is half favor, half thrill of the game (news, not football).

I can't speak for what goes on outside of the newsroom, but I'd guess we have about 5-6 people shooting highlights from 15 or so games.

For the rest of us, it's all about the phone.

We usually go to dinner and come back to the station at 7:30 or 8:00. Sometimes we order pizza; sometimes we'll have a big barbecue out back. Often our family members come up and join us and sometimes they even help out.

The phone starts ringing at around 8:30 with half-time scores. There are a couple people who answer the phones and then write the scores on a big white board that's been all filled out with all the night's games.

Once we spot a new score on the board, one of us enters it into the news ticker. One of us enters it into the graphics for Friday Night Live and KTAB Football Xtreme. Another one or two of us go through and triple-check everything. You do NOT want to get the score wrong or you'll hear about it!

Then, it starts to get crazy. The scores are changing, it's getting late, and we're trying to get everything on the air. Keep in mind, we also have the news to get on!

Often, we'll look up at the big board at 9:30 and realize no one has called in with the scores of several games. So we start making calls. We have the phone numbers of some trusty people who we know will be there. Plus, this is West Texas, so almost everyone, especially in the smaller towns, knows who won. We'll call the convenience store or the Taco Bell near whatever stadium the game is at. We'll call friends who are teachers in the district and no doubt have been updated on the score.

Now, I'm completely forgetting our sports department. They're scrambling to edit video, grab highlights, comb through interviews, write scripts, put everything in order, and make sure their 60-ish hours of preparation that week will all play out on the air.

Then, someone's inevitably in overtime and we wait on the edge of our seats to get the final score. Then, finally, the board is all filled up, the shows are over, the ticker and web scores are finished, and we get the heck out of there and go to bed!