What Happens When You First Meet an AM News Producer

I am a morning newscast producer for the CBS affiliate in Seattle. For almost a year, I have enjoyed having a conversation with new people about my work. I have realized people ask the same boring questions, and give the same tired answers. It’s almost become comical. Here’s a transcript of what these conversations sound like:

Friend: Let me introduce you to Mike.
New Person: Hi, Mike. I’m (new person).
Me: Hi, nice to meet you.

Friend: Mike works for…KOMO?
Me: (light chuckle) KIRO.
Friend: (smiles, embarrassingly) Right, right, sorry. I normally watch KING.

New Person: You work in TV? Oh that’s really cool. Are you on TV? Like an anchor?
Me: No, I work as a producer for the morning show.
NP: (saddened) Oh. So what do you do?
Me: (listing) I write scripts, organize the order of the show, request graphics, decide with the other
producers what we want our reporters to cover.
NP: Do you get to tell the anchors what to say?
Me: Well, I don’t tell them, I just write stories, and they’ll change things to fit their style.

NP: (curious) What’s (so-and-so anchor) like?
Me: I like working with them, we usually get along.

Friend: Mike works overnights, so he has a really weird schedule.
Me: Yeah, I’m up all night, sleep during the day, and try to be awake to hang out with people when they
are done with work. It’s the only way to keep my sanity.
NP: That must be really hard. I can’t imagine doing that.
Me: It was tough at first but you get used to it.
NP: I bet you drink a lot of coffee.
Me: Actually, I don’t. (Seriously, I don’t like the taste of coffee, and I don’t drink soda to stay awake).
NP: WHOA. How do you do it?
Me: I have to sleep a lot during the day.
NP: Is it weird falling asleep with the sun up?
Me: It’s gotten to the point where it’s unnatural to sleep in the dark. I’m like a vampire (har har har,
Mike).

NP: Have you seen Anchorman?
Me: (inner groan…) Oh yeah.
NP: (Excited) Is it like that? (like they’re expecting me to say yes)
Me: Not quite.
NP: (saddened again) I guess it isn’t. That would be really funny if the stations got into a street fight, like
with PBS and Telemundo.
Me: Yeah, that would be crazy.

NP: Do you get to meet any famous people?
Me: Not really. Even if I worked during the day it’s not like we have a lot of celebrities just coming to our
station.
NP: (increasingly disappointed) Well, it’s still really cool you work for KOMO.
Me: It’s KIRO.
NP: Oh, right. Sorry.

Mike Brannen is a morning newscast producer for KIRO7, the CBS affiliate in Seattle. He finished his thesis Motivational Use of Twitter in 2010, and received an MA from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He received his Bachelor of Journalism degree the year before. Previous to Seattle, he worked multiple positions at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri for four years. He shares more about his life at mikebrannen.com and on Twitter: @MikeBrannen.

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