First days are one thing, first weekends are another.
I don’t mean weekends to party, I mean weekends to work.
When you’re hired to be the weeknight evening anchor, you work Saturday and Sunday from about 1 to 11p. Weekends in news can be fun. It is just you and the crew doing the news. No extras around to hold you back or distract you.
My first weekend in Davenport at KWQC-TV6 was June 10 and 11, 2000. That’s ten years ago today. Earlier this week I talked about my first day at TV6. Part of my job description was to be the producer as well as the anchor. Not a problem since I had produced before. My first weekend in the Quad Cities, I had some producing help which allowed me to be comfortable with the set up of this newsroom. It is an undertaking to get used to the way script pages are written and marked, scripts printed and what time all of that is supposed to happen.
My trainer was executive producer Betty Vesey. She had lots of experience and was in charge of all news producers in the building. She helped me get my feet wet and before I would be on my own for decisions, most likely the next weekend. Because afterall, what person wants to work weekends once they get off of them?
A typical weekend staff included a package by weekend morning anchor Fran Riley. Eugene Kennedy was the dayside reporter and Elizabeth Goodsitt was our nightside reporter. Sunday’s staff included only 1 dayside and 1 nightside crew. Each reporter was with a photojournalist who I would have gather another story in addition to the reporter’s story. If you ask some of those guys, it was 23 extra stories. Erik Maitland did weather and Dan Pearson knocked it out of the park with sports. Sunday’s brought Thom TC Cornelis in to the fray.
All the behind the scenes stuff went fine to my knowledge.
It was the on-air stuff that was a different story.
The lead story that first Saturday night was about the Moline softball team. In Illinois, softball and baseball end in early June not early August like in Iowa.
Our first piece or video in the open tease was Moline softball. I knew where Moline was, I knew they were the Maroons and Amy even lived in Moline.
Here’s the transcript from that night.
“Good evening I’m Paul Yeager. The Moline softball team played for history today…..”
If you read it that way, it is fine.
The problem with TV is you have talk and do pictures with the words.
The way it sounded at home?
“Good evening, I’m Paul Yeager. The Mo-Line softball team played for history today.”
Problem is, the town is pronounced Mo-Leen.
Somehow I kept that job for the next six years. Because afterall, all I could do was go up from there.
Thanks for being so understanding, Quad Cities.