With football season quickly approaching, sports writers, producers and
the rest of us media hacks are getting set for one last chance to
recharge the batteries before all the fun begins. Believe it or not,
football season is very long and at times very tiring.
Don't get me wrong, it's by far the best time of the year and football
media members are some of the luckiest people on the planet. We get
paid to go to the best stadiums in the country and report on the
greatest game on earth. But as the old saying goes... "there is such
a thing as too much of a good thing." By the end of November most of us
are begging for a break.
Football season in eastern North Carolina is a seven-day-a-week job.
Here's a little insight on a typical football week at WITN.
Monday: Brian Meador and I meet every Monday at 11am (except Monday's
prior to an ECU off week) at ECU's Murphy Center to attend Skip Holtz's
weekly press conference. It sets the table for everything we do leading
up to the game on Saturday. By 2pm, it's off to Washington to prepare
for the nightly 6pm and 11pm newscasts. At 11:35pm we begin producing a
rundown for the Pirate Pre-game show. I typically get home somewhere
Tuesday: My day begins at about 2pm. When I arrive at WITN, I
immediately try to get a jump start on the 6pm newscast and the Pirate
report of the day. By the way, there is a Pirate report in each
newscast of the day, written, produced and edited by me and Brian. Once
again, at 11:35pm the work continues on the Pirate Pre-Game show.
Writing, producing and editing a half-hour special every week takes a
lot of time. Once again, it's 1am by the time I get
Wednesday: One of the toughest days of the week. That afternoon we
typically head to football practice at ECU. It's our final chance to
interview Pirate players prior to Saturday's game. This is when we
shoot many of our feature stories for the Skip Holtz Show and player
profiles for the Pirate Pre-Game Show. Following the 11pm newscast, all
final touches need to be made for Thursday's 9pm taping of the Pirate
Pre-Game Show. That usually keeps me in the WITN edit bays until about
2am. I'm typically home by about 2:30am.
Thursday: That's when we turn up the heat. All finishing touches have
to be made prior to the taping of the Pirate Pre-Game Show which airs
the following night at 7:30. Just imagine how whacked-out the schedule
was a few years ago when East Carolina was playing football games on
nearly every day of the week. (Those Friday games still leave a bad
taste in the mouths of area High School coaches.) Speaking of high
school football, following the 11pm newscast, the work continues as
Brian and I begin to map out a game plan for the next night's Football
Express. Trying to figure out an effective game plan to cover schools
in 29 counties can be a headache.
Friday: On Fridays when ECU is either off or at home it's all high
school football. We preview the high school game of the week at six
o'clock and following the early newscast, Brian and I join a number of
other photographers to each shoot at least two high school football
games which usually means driving all over eastern North Carolina. (of
course we don't break any traffic laws!) Usually about a dozen games
must be produced and edited prior to the airing of the Football Express
When ECU is on the road, Brian and I are in town with the team. That's
a whole different animal.
Saturday: The best day of the week, although just as hectic and
sometimes even more so. Brian and I both shoot every play of every ECU
game. I'm replaced when WITN airs an ECU game since I'm in the booth
with Jeff Charles. By the way, on WITN televised games I must find time
during the week to prepare for the telecast. That's usually done at
home prior to the start of each work day. Following the game,
post-game interviews and the taping of the Skip Holtz Show. Taping,
producing and editing that show keeps the WITN crew in the studios
until about 5am on average. Brian loves those 20 hour days!
Sunday: Did I mention that we have a professional football team a few
hours to the northwest? The Carolina Panthers are one of the teams
favored to go to the Super Bowl this year and if you don't cover the
regular season games in person... good luck getting press passes for
the big show. A trip to Charlotte turns into yet another 12-to-14 hour
Then it starts all over again the following Monday!
Did I mention I wouldn't trade my job for any other job in the world?
I'll see you at the game.