Monday, March 1, 2010

And the Oscar Goes To...

Before starting my career as a professional television journalist, I was a college intern at a station somewhere in Northeast Pennsylvania.  I worked for free hoping to gain valuable experience.  Of course, I mostly put in a lot of time doing grunt work- answering phones, gassing up the news vehicles, operating the teleprompter, running errands, etc.  I was the guy who had to pick up everyone’s lunch order.  “Bauer!  I told you to hold the mayo!  Dammit!” So you can see how this internship helped prepare me for the real world. 

This particular station had one of those Dialing for Dollars movie programs.  They’d take a break in the middle of the flick so viewers could call in to win a prize.  And all they had to do was pick the winner of our Daily Dialing for Dollars Gerbil Race.
   Three gerbils would flail around in a maze until one of them accidentally stumbled across the finish line.  Very dramatic stuff.  And the viewers seemed to be expert gerbil handicappers.  I guess winning the Rodent Rodeo was a prestigious honor in this neck of the woods.  In the off hours, the three gerbils lived in an aquarium that was kept in the studio.  One day, shortly before airtime, we make a shocking discovery.  Two of the gerbils are dead!  Apparently, the rat race was simply too much.  We’d been shorthanded before due to “attrition”.  
 But this was the first time that two of the three gerbils checked out at the same time. 

  It didn’t seem like a one gerbil race would be very competitive. So, I had to make an emergency trip to the pet store to grab more gerbils.  Thanks to my fast action, Dialing for Dollars was saved.  And that was my introduction to the glamorous world of television news!

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