If you’ve ever watched a live break during one of on-air fundraisers and wondered how the folks extoling the virtues of our programming know when to stop talking and let someone else pick up the verbal baton, the answer is simple – the floor manager. A floor manager is someone who helps coordinate and inform on-air talent with visual clues – essentially, the intermediate between the director in the control room and the people on camera. Occasionally, floor managers communicate via hand signals, often it’s signs that are either pre-printed or written on the fly.
Here’s a collection of signs used by floor managers during a recent fundraiser. I found them after the fact on a table in our main studio.
Viewers of UNC-TV will no doubt have encountered signs of our August fundraiser, currently in progress. All week long, we’ve been presenting special programming along with the usual entreaties for your support. Last night, the folk duo Chatham Rabbits joined us in the UNC-TV studios for an evening of music and fun. Hope you had a chance to tune in.
Here’s a quick peek at a behind-the-scenes sight used to keep track of the evening’s fare. When engaging in live television, it’s important for everyone involved – staff, producers, talent, volunteers – to be on the same page and a handy guide like this is invaluable.
Another shot this week from the archive photo collection I discovered. This one’s from Festival ’90 – the first on-air fund drive in our current (then brand-spanking-new) building in the Research Triangle Park. Pictured is former UNC-TV staffer Audrey Kates Bailey and a bevy of hardworking phone operators. Maybe you called in to make a pledge during this fundraiser. Maybe you were one of the many volunteers who helped make it a success. Regardless, it’s a fond memory for those of us who were part of it.
When you work in broadcasting, you are forced to think ahead. What to air, what to produce, what to acquire. With that in mind, I caught sight of this message on a white board in one of the offices here recently.
You have been warned.
UNC-TV ended its latest on-air fundraiser earlier this week and trust me when I say what you see on your TV screen is just the tip of the iceberg. During these fund drives, the station is a beehive of activity with meetings, planning, scheduling and oh so many volunteers who drop by our RTP facilities to lend a hand.
However, when the cameras are off, volunteers and staff take a break and avail themselves of the catering spread provided and maybe take a few photos to post on social media. But don’t stray too far – the next break is just minutes away!
Here’s a shot seen outside the studio during last week’s North Carolina Night. As you can see the evening is almost over – five breaks down, one to go.
This may seem to be an odd sight for a television station but it’s one I spied recently in a small room which doubles as the offices for our on-air fund drives. If memory serves, these inflatable emoji balls (I swear – if there’s another name, it escapes me) were used for the set of some of our more recent drives. Perhaps they are now merely waiting for their next on screen appearance.