Thursday, February 11, 2010

What it is really like to work in TV morning news

I've been there and so have many other TV staffers. The morning show. It is the dawn of the television news world because the sun hasn't risen when you show up to work. Some people love it, others can't physically work those early morning hours. Imagine starting your work day at 10pm, 12am or 3am.

Randy Tatano blogs all about the reality:

You chase the raccoons away from your car and head to the station. Oh, if you live in a cold climate, you'll have to either shovel the driveway (you don't dare crank up the snow blower and wake the neighbors), scrape your windshield, or both. What fun!

You notice birds are flying around in the middle of the night. Oh, wait. Those are bats. You wave at them. Professional courtesy.

After arriving at the station you discover your muse doesn't work nights and you try to write intelligent copy as you drink more coffee. Your co-anchor checks your copy and informs you that Reagan is no longer the President and is dead, to boot. If you're a weather person, you try to remember what state you're living in and note that all your weather cam shots are pitch dark. You start to get hungry again... didn't you already have breakfast? Or is there another name for meals eaten at three in the morning?

You notice you have put on two different colored socks, your shoes don't match, or both. READ THE REST

Tatano talks about the morning show weight gain syndrome and I experienced that first hand. I would wake up at 2am and on the way to work I stopped by Whataburger to food. My body clock was so off that I would be starving. Food and a massive Dr Peppers were the only way to fuel the engine. I was also 22 and stupid for starting my day off with a cheese burger.

I started off going to sleep when I got off my shift and then sleeping all day, eating dinner, hanging out with friends then going to work. Later I adjusted to staying up through the day and conking out early. As a person who already has sleep trouble, this was not the shift for me.

The benefits of this shift for some are that it's not as hectic in a news gathering sense as the daytime. Some markets probably hardly have any news happen overnight (although in Houston anything can happen). One Houston morning reporter I know says, "If I'm showing up in your neighborhood for my shift, something really bad happened."

Another management. The morning show staffs work in a more relaxed environment generally. Although one morning producer I know is the most hard charging, no nonsense type I have ever seen!


  1. Wow, been there done that. Reading that blog brought back a flood of memories. When I was hired at KTRH Radio in 1996 my shift started at 2am. That was probably the longest three years of my life, personally speaking. Professionally it was great. I had the cop beat and, in radio, morning drive brings a huge number of listeners. However, I spent three years of my life exhuasted. I tried everything under the sun, er, moon to adjust to that schedule, but couldn't. When I was at work I was fine, but once I was off and the intoxicating mix of nicotine, caffine and adrenaline wore off I was miserable. I gained nearly 25 pounds during those three years. When it really hit me was the time I was trying to get in touch with a Satanic priest for a story I was working on. The man called back when I was off and when one of my colleagues took the call they explained that I didn't come in until 2am. The guy responded that was fine because that was roughly the same time he started his day. I thought, "great, I now keep the same hours as a Satanic Priest." However, it all led to better opportunities and I wouldn't have traded that experience for anything in the world.

    Robert, KPRC