My friend Michael Schoen recently invited me into his WCBS 880 newsroom/studio to see firsthand how he anchors WCBS 880 Newsradio. WCBS 880 is a leading news station that we here in the NY metro area rely on to hear weather and traffic ‘on the 8s’ as well as sports and late breaking news. After spending time with Michael on the job, I can certainly tell you how he does it – effortlessly and seamlessly!
He gets to work a couple of hours early and meets with his producer to find out the leading stories of the moment. He then researches the top stories and writes news pieces about them to share LIVE in 2 – 2.5 minute segments. Sometimes these stories have to be abbreviated on the fly because of time constraints. He also reviews his program log sheet to see what ads will be running.
Once on air, Michael commandeers 4 computer screens, 3 mice and a digital audio control console, which many would find most intimidating. News is on one computer screen, commercials are on a separate system and there is a touch screen that controls the news sound. He smoothly transitions to the weather guy (accu-weather at Penn State University), cutting live to the traffic and sports reporter (out of Rutherford, NJ) to his own news and time updates. His updates on the day of my visit went from terrorism, to the weekend movie box office numbers to the financial market and beyond.
On Sundays (a day I visited), he and fellow news anchor Tanya Hansen alternate hourly news coverage from 1 – 9 pm. These two are so relaxed that they enter the studio and assume their anchor chairs sometimes a mere 1.5 minutes before they are on air.
As I drove home that evening, I found myself listening to the remainder of Michael and Tanya’s 880 broadcasts. Thankfully, the traffic piece was not important to me. I pictured how they were conducting their broadcasting symphony with the beautiful view of the Hudson River as their backdrop.
Thank you Michael for your generosity of time and spirit. As a voiceover actor, I was interested in learning how a live program is managed and executed. You made it look so easy, but then again, isn’t that what a professional is supposed to do?
About Michael Schoen
Michael, a college communications major, has been in the news business for over 30 years. He is an experienced broadcast journalist and voiceover actor who has covered some of the most exciting and even dangerous stories of our time. You can learn more about him here: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/personality/michael-schoen/ and here: http://www.michaelschoen.com/