Friday, July 12, 2013

The Lap of Luxury

I'm wrapping up my first week in a long time, anchoring news. It's been nearly six months since I last hosted a newscast.

Talk about a change of pace!

I’ll anchor Global Montreal’s 6 o’clock evening news for two weeks. As it turns out, compared to the morning show, I feel like I’m living in the lap of luxury!

The sometimes grueling and unpredictable nuts and bolts of preparing, building and presenting an automated news program have been hidden from my view this week. I merely write the news and then walk into the studio to present the news.

Glitches, technical problems, line-up issues, choice of visuals, rundown changes, banner spelling, supers and a million other aspects of live television, for the most part, happen somewhere else. The control room for the evening news is in Edmonton. There’s no fumbling for the teleprompter foot pedal under the desk, or forgetting to cue it to the right place, it’s all taken care of, thank-you very much.

By contrast, the morning show control room is right in front of us our desks, so we are, inevitably, intimately aware of the multitude of extraneous variables that can hamper smooth show preparation and presentation. The growing pains over the last six months have included, but not been limited to, software oversights and random technical glitches, as well as connection problems and sudden on-air equipment crashes!

We operate our own teleprompter, which, at least in my case, has, at times, posed some minor attention challenges!

Alas, the morning show is three hours of unscripted fun, high energy interaction between co-hosts, columnists and interview guests, whereas, the evening news is thirty minutes of scripted, serious news delivery. Either way, I’m so fortunate to be part of the Global Montreal team.

The biggest visible change, though hardly jarring, may involve wardrobe! A couple of months ago, as I wrapped up a morning show interview with my buddy, trumpet player Ron Di Lauro, he boldly wrestled a necktie over my head and around my neck!

I know he’s happy now.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

So Much More To Learn

Without a doubt, after presenting news for so many years, it’s tremendous fun to let loose on the air! As host of Global Montreal Morning News, in virtually constraint-free circumstances, I get to be myself. I’ve always loved being able to interview people and, consistently, many of the people I’m privileged to meet are incredibly talented and interminably fascinating! In the last few weeks, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Juno award winning singer, Lorraine Klassen.

She had been on the show in March as a Juno nominee and, after waiting for several weeks for her Juno to be engraved, she finally returned to the show this week and spoke energetically about winning the award, her latest recording project, ailing icon Nelson Mandela and signing the Golden Book at Montreal city hall. She was on the show Friday and came in for the interview in spite of a sore throat! We quickly ushered out  members of the band, Tcha-Badjo, after their live performace and had very little time to put a microphone on Lorraine, carefully remove her Juno from its box and take the cue to begin speaking! Through all the last second mayhem in our studio, she was smiling, gracious and sincere.

I also spoke with bassist Alain Caron this week about his jazz festival show. Alain had just been named recipient of the Montreal International Jazz Festival’s 2013 Oscar Peterson Award. He’d won it once before as a member of Uzeb. He’s won 11 Felix Awards, been named “Best Electric Bass Player” eight years in a row by Jazz Report and had recently released his eighth studio album.

After interviewing Montreal saxophonist Joel Miller last month about winning his Juno Award, I had a chance to meet and speak with Juno-winning saxophonist and jazz composer, Christine Jensen. I own her third album and was delighted to meet Christine and speak to her about her inspirations and jazz festival show.

It was terrific fun to meet and speak with Mikael Kingsbury, two-time World Champion moguls skier.

He spoke about his incredible season, his training and the upcoming Olympics. I had forgotten to ask him to bring in the Crystal Globes, which are awarded to freestyle skiing’s world champions. I'm grateful that he kindly remembered to bring them in for the interview! The 20 year old is a dedicated and highly talented young athlete, as well as a credit to our province, our country, Quebecers and Canadians!

I haven’t even missed a day on the morning show yet and, already, I’m eagerly looking forward to settling back into the hosting chair!

There’s so much more to learn!