Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pack Your Bliss

After work Friday, we spoke at the English Montreal School Board’s "Career Fair". At 16, I loved music and what I thought music was all about. I already knew I was a performer, but wasn’t sure whether I’d be in a position to make performing part of any eventual career.
Camille, Jess and I wait to speak at "Career Fair"

The truth of the matter is, at 16, I couldn’t even spell the word, “career”! I wasn’t thinking about “career”, or any part of the rather ethereal concept! I knew I would stay in school, but wasn’t sure where it would take me. At 16, I didn’t really worry about it too much. At 16, I’m not sure you should.

At 16, the possibilities are limitless and infinite, more so today than when I was that age. Keep moving forward, listening, learning and exploring as many of the possibilities that stray into your field of vision as possible.

Always have fun. Work hard at what you like. Never forget what you enjoy. If you can’t follow your bliss, at least pack it and bring it with you as you travel life’s road; it’ll likely save you later.

I probably would not have predicted two of the basics of schooling, reading and writing, would become cornerstones of my career.

The three groups of students we spoke to Friday didn’t have too many questions. Some were more enthusiastic than others and some listened more attentively than others. I certainly listened attentively as Camille and Jessica spoke about their career paths, at this point, significantly shorter than my own. Both their career paths shine with promise. It’s kind of funny that our career paths intersected about three months ago.

Fate has been treating me well. Is fate, destiny? Is destiny, fate? Are destiny and fate the work of a higher power? Whoa! That’s a whole other blog; or series of them!!

At one point during Friday’s Career Fair presentation, Jessica turned toward me and said the live feature reports I used to do on Global’s former morning show every day, helped provide her career with direction. After seeing what I was doing, she said she knew that’s what she wanted to do in broadcasting.

Pretty cool.

At another point during Friday’s Career Fair presentation, I was handed an unopened bottle of water. I twisted off the cap and guzzled the entire thing. Some students noticed. I managed to convince my stunned co-hosts the bottle I had guzzled wasn’t full when it was handed to me!

There’s a career in there somewhere.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Frantic Floor Manager

This morning, for a refreshing change, the problem didn’t appear to be based in Vancouver, or Alberta. Instead, our technicians concluded the problem, more likely, originated locally.

For the first half hour of our show, we were off the air, but, in that half-hour, Camille and I practiced the show without audio to see whether we could go to air and still offer a viewers a sensible program. It seemed to work fine, so we decided to go on-air at 6:30 this morning.

Normally, we have earpieces that allow us to hear all the sounds connected to the show. Those include the music at the beginning and end of each half hour, the reports and sound bytes we use, live reporters, phone-in winners and all our cues for timing, as well as when to start and stop speaking.

We scrapped a planned pre-budget live and were unable to speak on-air with the winner of today’s Oprah tickets, Jen, in Prevost.

When we went back on the air, Jessica, who was live on remote, didn’t realize we had no audio in our ears. She only realized when Camille told her, off-air, later on in the show.

Our boss was in early this morning and acted as floor manager, giving us our cues visually, or verbally. Occasionally, the floor manager appeared frightfully frantic, frazzled and frustrated, gesturing to delinquent anchors who, in spite of clearly communicated wrap cues, went ahead and asked guests just one more question!

It’s the thought that counts, Karen!

This morning was hardly the ideal scenario but, as Julie, our Mosart director, declared, it was much better to be on the air dealing with the audio problem, than off the air with no show to offer viewers.

We like to think some viewers want to watch the show as much as we want to do the show!

Friday, March 15, 2013


If it’s a show you can’t depend on, why depend on it? The question is completely logical. We want to be the morning show Montrealers can depend on, which is why our absence for two hours yesterday morning, was desperately frustrating!

It was frustrating for us and for many of the viewers we heard from.

From our directors, to our producer, our microwave truck team, camera-people and on-air talent, we had worked hard to make yesterday’s show as special as every other we do. Granted, our shows don’t always go as smoothly as we would like but, believe it or not, many of the noticeable on-air difficulties are beyond our control. We sometimes find ourselves stranded in awkward, uncomfortable situations but, Camille, Jessica and I, just try to roll with the punches and keep moving forward.

As strange as it sounds to us and you, many key technological components of our show are routed through Calgary and Vancouver. Any oversights or glitches at those two locations have a huge impact on our show here in Montreal. Earlier in the week, another problem out west, meant we only had one of our two robotic studio cameras to work with, which explains why Jessica was at the desk with Camille and I. Not that we have a problem with Jess at the desk with us; on the contrary, she does an awesome job and, this week, went above and beyond, coming in to work, though drained, sniffling and coughing!

Yesterday's difficulties generated e-mails that travelled both far and wide, and high and low. It remains to be seen whether they'll lead to meaningful change for our show here in Montreal.

Yesterday was Pi Day and extraordinary math teacher Jean-Francois Deslandes showed up at the station bright and early, eager for his interview! Aidan Burrows, a student at Heritage Elementary and member of the Canadian Cup Stacking Team, was coming in to demonstrate cup stacking! Gary Masse of Expo Sante Manger brought in a variety of products for us to taste and talk about. We greeted them at the door with flimsy explanation and considerable embarassment.

The 8 to 9 o’clock hour we did get to air was a difficult one, technically, but, we keep moving forward. Today’s show was better and brought the promise of eventual, albeit elusive, perfection.

We’re looking forward to Sunday’s St-Patrick’s Day Parade and hope to see you there. We have direction in common with the parade.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What You See...


Last week, we had a brand new digital clock installed in our studio! I tweeted about it a few times on the morning we got it. Now when I do time checks, they’re to the minute! Too often, I can’t resist making the time check to the exact second, especially if we happen to be on the air as the minute changes. Now, I tend to say stuff like, “It’s coming up on 8:56, in 3-2-1; precisely 8:56, according to our new clock!” I imagine myself at home, checking all my clocks to make sure they, too, have just switched to the new minute!

Thanks to our technical crew, Alain, Ziad and Richard, for setting up the clock. It’s been very helpful and I no longer have to fumble, panicked, for my iphone to check the time right before we go on-air!

I’m hoping we’ll soon be able to have musical guests in-studio. I know when I was hosting “Focus Montreal”, the station’s interview show, having live musical performances was always a highlight, both for viewers and performers!

Jessica bumps into us at a downtown bus shelter!

I’m having fun hosting Montreal’s new morning show. I know as a viewer, I enjoy seeing and learning about behind-the-scenes stuff, along with spontaneous, natural interaction. Whether I talk about their nail polish, or tendency to hog the dressing room until the last possible second before showtime, I often try to catch Jessica and Camille off-guard with the comments and questions I drop on them. They’ve been pretty cool customers, so far. I always urge them to do the same to me and some of our funniest moments have resulted from that spontaneous approach.

To me, there are many places to get information in the mornings, but I’m hoping what sets Global Montreal Morning News apart are the personalities of the people in front of the camera. Rest assured, whether Camille, Jessica and I are laughing, chatting, grimacing, riding high or falling flat, what you see is who we are.