In case some of you weren’t around this morning to see what I’ve been up to today, here’s the real brief teaser I put out on social media:
However, assuming you might be reading this in some far-flung future date where Twitter is dead in the aftermath of terrible social media toxicity, I’ll lay it out in good, old-fashioned text:
The Cal State Fullerton branch of the Society of Professional Journalists got an opportunity to tour the CBS2/KCAL9 broadcast center in Studio City, California this afternoon.
However, assuming you might be reading this in some far-flung future date where the Internet is dead after a nuclear apocalypse…
Well you wouldn’t be reading this anyway. My entire joke would fall apart well before I started it.
So I’ll stop wasting your time.
My dad worked at the station for about three years as an Information Technology Manager, in-part helping to build out some of the infrastructure that we were able to see today.
In fact, I personally helped build bits and pieces when he took me to work with him. Crawling under tables to plug-in computers and stuff.
Because he still has some friends at CBS, he was able to get our club president Harrison in touch with Dan Haight, the Director of Broadcast Operations and Engineering.
As the Secretary for our chapter, I figured the least I could do was help us get a tour at a professional newsroom. Luckily it was a successful venture!
I got to Studio City pretty early and had the chance to look around at the entertainment side of the house first.
That included a whole host of fancy-looking lots as well as named buildings, street signs and more.
But more importantly, it included a lot of brief looks at areas where different TV shows are currently being recorded.
The one that stood out most to me was Last Man Standing. Not because I watch the Tim Allen sitcom, but because of where the show was:
The home of Seinfeld? Now that’s a sound stage that could tell some stories.
Even if most of those stories are technically supposed to be centered in New York.
Here are a number of other discoveries I made, all lazily compiled in a slide show because I’m pretty tired after a number of hours on the freeway.
However, arguably the most important discovery I made was off the lot:
Don’t know if this is a business officially affiliated with CBS, or if it’s just some business owner with a lot of ingenuity to capitalize on the major job provider in the area, but either way I’m a fan.
After my little self-driven tour, it was time to head back to the broadcast center for our official tour!
… Except traffic was apparently not great today, so I was the first one there and had to hang out for quite some time before the rest of the group arrived.
Gave me a lot of time to look around at the big stuff in the lobby.
It was actually a lot of fun watching folks wander in-and-out, usually stopping by the security desk to see what was on the news with the guard.
After Dan arrived to take us around on the tour, I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures. Got caught up in just checking everything out.
So the best I’ve got for visuals in this stage are the couple of pictures we took as a group that got posted on the SPJ account:
Obviously, that’s where I got my featured image from. I love the image Harrison got of us all looking into a news camera.
We found out that the area where we took that picture is going to be reworked soon for a new project CBS is working on to get live news broadcasts to mobile phones easier. All with the hopes of attracting that young audience that doesn’t watch traditional TV anymore.
Then we got a look around the newsroom, everything from the assignment desk to the online story stations and editing bays.
Afterward we checked out a couple of the shows currently recording, or preparing to record, during our tour.
First was the weekly Veteran’s Voices show, where a few actors were sitting in as the anchors so they could make sure all the shots were right.
After that we saw the end of the News at Noon with Sandra Mitchell, sitting alongside the weather lady Alex Biston.
Fun fact, this weather update was actually what we watched her record. Live. It was pretty cool, and she took some time to chat with us afterward!
The most interesting thing about watching the news broadcast was the fact that those two were the only people on the entire set. Everything else was fully automated.
I can’t help but feel it would be disconcerting to record an entire broadcast like that with nobody else around on a big sound stage… But I suppose it’s the kind of thing that Internet personalities do all the time in the 21st Century.
It was kind of cool to see how much technology has advanced I suppose, even if it wasn’t a great sign for getting jobs in the industry.
Finally, we were in one of the big control rooms just in time for Donald Trump’s speech on the New Zealand attacks — which I’ll use the CNN story for just for the sake of variety.
It was pretty amazing watching almost every screen in the room change to show the President’s face, both for the CBS channels and their competition.
While we were checking out the fully automated sound deck beside that control room, another one of my Dad’s old friends showed up. Bob and Dan got to talking, which led them to telling our tour group about how much they enjoyed working with Dad and missed him.
Which was a very sweet thing to see.
But that was pretty much all there is to say about my CBS tour. It was really cool, especially on the verge of graduation when I need to start thinking about things like work more avidly.
… Plus, I got to write it off as networking with reporters for my internship.
So I really can’t complain about that.