Welcome to the PIT List!

I'm a network field producer who also worked in local tv as a line producer and field producer. Over the years, I have had the great fortune to work with super people. Now I'd like to pass along what I know and rant a tad.

"Dear Maggie..." pitlist@gmail.com
I check it sporadically, but I love answering emails, so if you have an issue or difficult person you need help with, don't hesitate to shoot it my way.

Maggie L

Maggie L
One of the rare times I'm in the office

Friday, November 2, 2007

Markets big and small

Sorry for not posting in a while. I try to do something new each week. We had the Nasa launch and then the CA wildfires so I got distracted!

In any case, thought I'd talk a bit about market size. I have worked in Ft. Myers, FL, years ago, when it was market 98, Cincinnati- 32, Phoenix- 15, Philadelphia- 4 and now a cable network.

I will tell you that it is the same s- everywhere. It's just a matter of resources, layers of bureaucracy and how much you get paid. Generally, the higher the market, the more toys, more chefs and more moolah. That said, I am a huge believer in "it's not market-size, it's management." That is, if you have good management, it really doesn't matter what market size you are.

In Ft. Myers, I was desk girl. I made beat checks, ripped the wire machine (yes, there was an actual machine that spooled out the latest AP wire) and listened to police scanners. I did this in High School. Our producer wrote the show with the help of anchors and when she went on vacation, the anchors produced the show.

In Cincinnati, I worked at two stations, one in college and another after I graduated. I was a Production Assistant during college. I think each show had two? We helped write, ripped scripts and then ran teleprompter or floor directed. I worked nights mostly so I'd come in and work on one of the early shows, grab food and work on the late one. I also came in on weekends or stayed after my shift or came in before to go out on stories with photogs.During college, computers were introduced to the newsroom. Before that we had typewriters and if an anchor crossed out too much stuff on our script, we'd have to retype it.

Post college, Fox news was beginning news start-ups and I was fortunate enough to be hired on at one of them. I ran the assignment desk on weekends and field produced during the week. Later, I was promoted to weekend producer and then 10pm producer. I think we may have had a writer or two but I remember writing a lot. At the time we only had a one hour show all day long so it wasn't particularly problematic to fill.

In Phoenix, I did an hour 10pm show. I had three writers. Many of them were really talented and got promoted.There was also a "live coordinator" who sat in the booth and coordinated live shots. I thought I had died and woke up in the big leagues.

Finally in local, I worked in Philadelphia. The writers on this show were pros, many of them preferring to write than show produce. I was a field producer in this market but I show produced a couple times and did some live special projects shows. It was a union market which was odd to get used to. In the booth, you don't talk to talent, you talk to the person who talks to talent. Stuff like that.

I think, generally, in smaller markets and unpopular shifts, you get more freedom and control- but less help. As you work your way up the food chain, you have to learn to play with others, which is a good thing.

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