As expected, Giannoulias’ people weren’t interested

4 Nov

On the radio side, Lars Weborg, a production intern for WBEZ-FM in Chicago, also got a crash course in Election Night coverage. Here is his account:

5:21 p.m. – I have successfully repaired the handlebar shaft on my bicycle. There’s a chance I’ll be dispatched at a moment’s notice if field reporters need their audio-recorder flash cards swiped out, so I had to get my ride operational.

5:34 p.m. – I’ve just been handed a mug shot of Michael Madigan. If the Democrats happen to lose the house, and I’ve been sent downtown and happen to cross paths with him, he is to be questioned, immediately. I am not to leave the WBEZ premises without taking an audio kit and Michael Madigan could be a marked man tonight.

6:01 p.m. – I’m in a holding pattern right now. I’ve assembled a Hootsuite list of local political reporters so I can watch the headlines as they’re tweeted.

6:23 pm – Monitoring the exit polls now, following tweets, etc.

6:41 pm – This feels like the calm before the storm. Most Illinois polls close in 20 minutes.

6:42 pm – In the meantime, I’m positioned next to the pizza, so if things don’t pick up, it could be a fat, fat night.

7:00 pm – Okay, our coverage is now officially live, and our Election Night fanfare theme is awesome.

7:15 pm – Still fairly eventless. Sipping coffee, watching the social media ticks, and waiting for the precincts to report.

7:43 pm – Panelists are now in full swing. Mebla Lara, Steve Edwards, Brian Babylon and Alan Gitelson are all working the mics. I’m keeping an eye out for breaking stories. The head is on a swivel. I’ve got social media humming. I’m watching five different television monitors and I’m listening to our broadcast as it’s laced in with NPRs.

8:00 – 10:00 p.m. – Menial work for this span of time since this was really the crunch. Just a lot of running numbers, making sure the on-air staff is well prepped and has all the up to date information in the broadcast studio.

10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. – Now the fun begins! Most of the races have declared, victory speeches have been made, tearful concessions have been given—now it’s my job to comb through all the different feeds and broadcasts of candidates (county, state and national) and pull the best sound bytes for tomorrow morning.

This production work is being done in between phone calls. We’re trying to get as many of the candidates—winners and losers—for tomorrow’s broadcast. It wasn’t until 1 a.m. that anyone actually started answering their phones.

As expected, Giannoulias’ crew was none too interested. Kirk is a tentative yes, but we’ll have to check in before our broadcast tomorrow to lock it down.

I’ve also roped in Adam Kizinger. His media handler is very excited to be talking to the press. Can you blame him?

Judy Baar Topinka is also a tentative yes, surprising since she was unable to visit us for a campaign check-in, in spite of her promises to do so.

It’s 2 a.m. now, my typing skills and my phone etiquette are starting to wane, but all I can think about is: How did Scott Lee Cohen get over 100,000 votes!?

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