The Clinton Visits

By: Roger Sheppard
By: Roger Sheppard

Some thank yous and some observations

The visits to the Mid-Ohio Valley in the past few days by first Bill Clinton and more recently Hillary Clinton, have made for some fun, wild times and long days by the folks here at WTAP.

In both cases, we had 48 hours’ notice – or less – of the visits. There are literally hundreds of details to be taken care of before such an event can be covered as thoroughly as we have.

At the risk of not mentioning everyone here at WTAP who worked so hard on our excellent coverage, I wanted to particularly mention two, two-person teams:

The first is made up of our Broadcast Engineer, Kevin Buskirk, and our Production and I-T Manager, Larry White, both of whom take care of setting up and testing the signal from our microwave truck, as well as cameras, audio, everything on site and then handle a large chunk of the on-site production.

The other team consists of Bruce Layman, our News Director, and Phillip Hickman, our Assignment Editor, who have to research details, get credentials, assign crews, re-arrange schedules, and then be here during the event to handle last-minute problems and keep information flowing to our webchannel, wtap-dot-com.

Senator Clinton’s visit was complicated by something new we offered.

For the first time, we actually had a live, spontaneous, unscripted news event captioned for the hearing-impaired in real time. Our network and syndicated programs are captioned, and our newscasts are also captioned except for any ad-libbing that goes on.

But with Kevin and Larry’s help, we were able to acquire the necessary equipment and then found a company in Kansas that would monitor the speech by phone line and type in the captioning as the event was going on, so it would appear on TV.

We felt this was necessary when it involved a race for the Presidency in which all Americans need to take an interest.

We also made the event available live on wtap-dot-com so that folks who were not in the local area could watch, as well.

WTAP was also the only media that staked out the Blennerhassett Hotel after the event to grab a quick, spontaneous interview with Senator Clinton, which she handled graciously. Sorry I can’t say the same thing for her 28-year-old daughter, Chelsea, who is participating in the campaign, but refusing to speak to the media even by saying “hello.”

I am very proud of all the WTAP people who helped make our coverage so good.

And stay tuned…there will be many more such events in the weeks and months to come.

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