Lou Pickney's Online Commentary
May 16, 2012
I'm not a nomad by nature, but I knew when I decided in high school that I hoped to go into the Mass Communications field that I would likely have to make several moves as part of my career. And I really, really dislike moving: the packing, the sorting, the disassembling and reassembling, the items lost along the way, etc. But when the business you love and excel at demands it, whether it's radio (in the old days when stations actually had live/local disc jockeys) or pro wrestlers in the territory era or baseball managers, you know going into certain professions that possibly having to move frequently comes with the territory.
For the short term, I've set up a home base in my friend Velvet's guest room, unpacking just enough to get by for the next few weeks. I did this cognizant of the distinct possibility that I will likely move again soon, whether to avoid a long commute if something here pans out job-wise or to parts unknown if there isn't an opportunity in this area. Either way, I'll see how that plays out soon enough.
It's possible that I will end up in an apartment close to wherever I can find work (be it in this area or elsewhere) that will invariably at first resemble Jimmy McNulty's barren apartment from The Wire. But I have my computer and a television, which along with internet access (and important things like air conditioning) will be enough to get me through the short-term wherever I end up.
Today I had a blast visiting some old friends at WSAZ-TV, where I worked as a news producer for just shy of 1½ years, from 1999 to 2001. It's remarkable how many people who I worked with are still at the station, which I believe speaks volumes about the quality of the work environment and how much people enjoy their jobs there, both on-air and behind the scenes.
The technological advancements they have made since April 2001 are remarkable. The era of videotape is long gone, with the capacity to edit digitally allowing for all kinds of outstanding possibilities. In the old days, the idea of pulling a fresh (unaired) soundbyte from a story from the day before to air in the morning would have been noble but time-prohibitive, particularly since it would have meant me finding the tape, cuing it up, watching the video presuming that I hadn't been left a note to check a certain timecode, etc., all while trying to put together a newscast as quickly as possible.
Now, all a producer has to do is pull the audio file up on his or her computer, jump to any point within the video near instantly, and then edit via the same machine used to put together your newscast. In short, it makes for a more efficient news producing experience, not to mention a higher quality product presuming that whoever is doing the producing takes the time to add those small but important changes.
Seeing the vastly remodeled newsroom threw me for a loop, as I had seen photos of the place since it had been redone (remade for HD broadcasts and, yes, WSAZ was broadcasting in HD before at least half of the Nashville TV news outlets were doing so). It looks great and, more importantly, it's set up for optimum efficiency.
In short, I was impressed with what I saw, and the new people who WSAZ has added since my departure from there 11+ years ago all seem very sharp, smart, and friendly.
Besides the fun of seeing friends and checking out things at my old station, a really nice surprise was discovering that there is a Penn Station sandwich shop just down the road. I love Penn Station, but where I lived in the Nashville suburbs wasn't near any locations. But now? Velvet's place isn't located too terribly far from it. I realize that the location of a restaurant isn't a worthwhile reason to go overboard with joy, but I was *really* happy to spot it heading toward downtown Huntington today.