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Take Your Pet to Work Day

In 2008 I was working as a production assistant at KCTV5, a local CBS affiliate. My jobs involved running the teleprompter, working the robotic cameras, creating/displaying the Chyron graphics, field work on occasion, etc. I had my older kids every other week (Mon - Sun) and on the off weeks I worked as many hours as I could around my full time gig at ScriptPro for extra cash. This could involve doing the morning show, evenings and/or weekends. Some days I would show at the TV station at 4:45 AM do the early show, go to ScriptPro from 9-5:30 then return to do the evening news that wrapped up at 10:30 PM. Needless to say these were very long days.

I can't find any photos from that day but found this funny one on the internet

On Saturday mornings the news was 3 hours long and involved lots of interview segments, cut aways to field reporters and a cooking segment. One weekend a junior producer looking to spice things up convinced the news anchors to bring their canine friends in for "Bring Your Dog to Work Day". While I am sure their intentions were good they failed to consider the impact 3 dogs could have on a TV set that relied on precise timing and consistency. Amy brought in her Mastiff "King", Shaun brought in his Labrador/Collie Mix "Rico" and Gary his Basset Hound "Lulu".

A different day when Ana visited

All of the dogs were good natured generally speaking but they had never been thrust into an environment quite like this before. We did the opening tease each of the pooches posed with their respective owners smiling and waving (the anchors waved, not the dogs). Things remained pretty calm at first until the pups decided to wonder off from the set and found their way to the atrium where they began to bite at the plants and knock over displays. The producer ran out and herded them back closing the doors to the studio to keep them in place. Even with that there was plenty of room for them to roam in the spacious studio.

An SP-2000 Camera Base like we had in those days

The robotic cameras operated by calculating their distance from a specific point on the floor, a black and white crosshair that was essential their [0,0] on a cartesian plane. At the end of a show or anytime they needed to be calibrated they were sent back there. We would save the spots on the floor for a given shot, with the height, zoom, focus, etc. so that we could call them up at a moments notice depending on what the director called for. When they moved across the floor they would blink (silently) and slowly truck to the selected coordinates. Unfortunately these mysterious large moving objects drew the attention of the curious doggies and before long they were barking and nipping at the base. The distracting barking heard over the air was bad enough but each time they bumped the cameras I lost all of my pre-saved shots and either had to send it back to recalibrate (and risk them hitting it again) or switch to manual mode and try to get them in place quickly enough on the fly. As there were 3 anchors and 4 cameras this proved very challenging especially when they moved to different stations on the set.

About an hour in King, the Mastif decided he needed to relieve himself and chose a spot near the teleprompter. The young lady working there couldn't handle the smell and opened the nearby door to let air in. This was just the opportunity they needed to get out and I was told they found their way into the marketing/sales area this time eating whatever they could find. Again they were collected, the mess removed and things returned to their crazy "norm". And so it went for the remainder of the show trying to keep it all together flying by the seat of our pants. That was the first and last "Take Your Dog to Work Day" I ever observed at the TV station.


8/5/2021

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