Archive for January, 2012
Of all the things I’ve been able to do through my career in television, today might have been the coolest.
That statement is likely to change while Jim Nabors sings at this year’s Indianapolis 500, but for right now, Super Bowl Media Day might be the highlight of my broadcast career. Thing is, even with a man in a large fur hat, another in a cape and superhero mask and a Spanish-speaking female reporter encouraging players to Salsa dance in a sombrero, it seemed tame compared to the Super Bowl Media Days I’ve seen video of in the past.
But still, for a sports fan and career journalist, it was beyond cool to “people watch” as personalities from ESPN, NFL network, broadcast networks, top-flight newspapers and everywhere in between zipped by, making their way from station to station, player to player was almost dizzying.
Even better, my role at Media Day was almost like a fly on the wall. I was there to get pictures, tweet some pictures and observations, then come home and write about it. I can’t imagine the effort our team of photographers and reporters (not to mention hundreds of others) put forth, pushing through the crowd to get their questions asked and answered, all with a mind toward putting the story on the air for the news.
And speaking of asking and answering, the directions the players were pulled in the 60-minute sessions was fascinating. In each team’s session, the head coach (Bill Belichick even smiled! Twice, I think!) and a couple of stars were mobbed by cameras and microphones, while about a dozen others fielded a steady stream of questions from passing reporters and a couple more from each team were set up in the stands, talking to a smaller group of reporters, and mostly only ones with a specific interest in their story.
With any credentialed media member available to ask questions, the inquiries were widely varied. One minute, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was answering questions in Spanish, the next in English. Student reporters would ask a player “what is it like to be an NFL player?” and a moment later, the same player would be asked to break down the opponent’s defense. A caped reporter from Nickelodeon asked players about their favorite superhero, while another reporter convinced Giants safety Antrel Rolle to belt out a chorus of Madonna’s “Material Girl.”
He declined a verse of “Like A Virgin,” for personal reasons, he explained.
Among the crowd were stand-up comedians Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange, the latter formerly of “The Howard Stern Show,” who now host a talk show on satellite radio. Lange was the one that got the stoic Belichick to crack, posing a question from an alleged Twitter user about the intricacies of basketball’s zone defense.
“I’m not a basketball guy. I’m a football guy,” Belichick replied, smiling before turning to more pressing questions.
In the past year alone, I’ve attended the Kentucky Derby, Indianapolis 500 and Game 6 of the World Series, but today’s experience ranked up there with all of them. If what everyone has been saying is true, I can’t wait for Indianapolis to host the Super Bowl again…or even just the Media Day.
Media Day often has a “wild” reputation. It’s because the frenzy of reporters, photographers, media types of all kinds is at fever pitch. And also because it often attracts some unusual characters (a reporter dressed as Batman’s sidekick for one).
Since I’ve never covered a Super Bowl Media Day, how could I resist?
I found the process of getting in to Lucas Oil Stadium almost as interesting as the event itself.
Yes, I am a credential-holding member of the media. But that doesn’t afford cart-blanche access.
We’re talking about two powerhouse Super Bowl teams–inside the Super Bowl stadium–which for the remainder of this week is the “property” of the NFL. You better believe there’s security! Even for–maybe even “especially” for –the media.
WTHR photographer Greg Wilkerson and I were directed down an alley just west of the stadium into a large white tent. For me, the security process was pretty easy. A pat down, pockets emptied, through a metal detector, then a scan of my credential (much like they scan tickets to a concert) and I’m good.
For Greg, however, not so fast. He’s carrying the gear–a t-v grade camera, and wireless microphone. Once past the metal detector, he’s directed to a corner of the room, along with a dozen or so other videographers, to watch as a bomb-sniffing dog checks out their gear.
He moves on to another part of the room–where he’s assigned a radio frequency for his wireless mike. Then to yet another station where that frequency is checked.
It’s a process that takes about 15 minutes. And will have to be repeated each time we enter Lucas Oil Stadium this week.
I’m not complaining. The security staff was extremely friendly and helpful. And it keeps us all feeling protected. I find the whole process fascinating.
By the time we made it inside, the interviews had already started. The Patriots first–the key players and the head coach each on their own “stage” (think lemonade stand on a grander scale) about 10 yards apart. The bigger the name, the bigger the crowd of media surrounding them. QB Tom Brady attracted the biggest crowd, as you might guess. (Eli Manning held his own for the Giants too!)
Fans were seated in the lower level on one side of the stadium. Each provided with headsets to listen to the interviews. Media–or those credentialed to be there–were the only ones allowed on the field where the interviews were taking place.
As I said, I was expecting “wild”–so was a little surprised at how quiet it was inside that stadium. Except for the occasional eruption of applause or cheers by the fans, I felt talking too far above a whisper might draw unwanted attention.
And I really didn’t see as many “characters” as I expected. (Although I did see Batman’s sidekick–a “reporter” from Nickelodeon; and someone dressed in a pirate hat. I’m sure there were others.)
Still, I found myself in a perfect place to “people watch”. Occasionally I would hear a reporter from another country–speaking in his native language. Watching as photographers position themselves for that perfect shot.
I ran into some old friends who I worked with years ago; and tried to spy those whose work I’ve admired and aspired to.
And yes, I managed to see a football player or two.
All in all a fantastic experience. While not one I would describe as “wild”–I felt priveledged to have a front-row seat.
Does this forecast sound too good to be true? Highs today will soar into the low 60s across Central Indiana!
Our normal high this time of year is 37 degrees… but today we’ll be tracking warmth into the 60s! Our strong winds will continue with gusts this afternoon up to 35mph. Clouds will increase as we head into the afternoon and by this evening spotty showers are possible.
By 6pm tonight, spotty showers are possible. We’re just looking at light rain into the morning with less than .15″ of rain falling by the time the system exits by 10am Wednesday.
While we start Wednesday morning with rain, the afternoon looks partly cloudy as highs continue to hit the 50s!
Friday night into Saturday morning we could see a rain/snow mix… with spotty showers Saturday.
As for your Superbowl forecast, we start the day in the low 30s and by the afternoon hit the low 40s. Sprinkles or flurries are possible. We’ll keep you updated!
It is safe to say Indianapolis is making its own “sports history” as it hosts what’s considered the premiere sporting event, the Super Bowl.
And who doesn’t want to capture the moment? All over the city are “photo ops”…great places to get that perfect picture to remember this week for years to come.
WTHR (your Super Bowl station) is happy to offer our own as well.
Wnen you enter the NFL Experience from Capitol Avenue –just past the giant headless football mannequins—and you’re first entrance on the left—look to the back and you’ll see the giant 13 logo.
That’s where you can get your picture taken with the Lombardi Trophy! Ok, it’s a backdrop, not the real thing—but who’s going to know in a photo? (And it beats waiting for hours to get your picture taken with the “real” thing) Plus, its FREE!
We have a photographer shoot the photo which you can download from our WTHR Facebook page. (wouldn’t it make a great Christmas card?) Or you can take a pic with your own camera.
While you’re there you can meet some of the WTHR anchors and reporters—get an autograph—or better yet, another photo! (Your Super Bowl photo album is filling up fast!) You can even watch one of our news broadcasts.
Starting tonight, and every night this week, we’ll bring our show to the NFL Experience, and Georgia Street right in the heart of Super Bowl Village (there’s another photo op for you!). Not to mention live reports from various other locations.
We’ll also bring you our Super Special starting at 7:30 this week. And Super Sunrise from 6a-Noon Sunday.
But I digress…
Back to the NFL Experience….make sure you get your free “lip balm” in a cute little Channel 13 holder (a must-have during these windy days).
On a personal note, I want to thank all those who visited with me Sunday at NFLX. Great to see you all and now I have some special moments to remember–soon to fill the pages of my Super Bowl scrapbook.
Ready for a warm up? We’ve got it for you as we head into this super week of celebrations across Central Indiana!
Highs will reach the low 50s today with a mix of sun and clouds and wind gusts out of the south up to 30mph.
If you’re heading down to the Super Bowl Village tonight, temps drop to the low 40s by 10pm. Skies will become mostly clear and winds could gust out of the southwest up to 25mph. By Tuesday morning, we’ll eventually drop to the mid to upper 30s.
Clouds will build throughout the day Tuesday as highs soar into the upper 50s! It will still be windy, but our average temp is in the mid 30s, so this will be a nice mild day.
Rain moves in late Tuesday night and moves out by midday Wednesday.
As we head into the weekend, snow is possible Friday night into Saturday. This is a developing system, and we’ll keep you posted as changes move in!
Ready for a return to the 50s? Mild temps are just around the corner in the forecast, but today, flurries and light snow showers are possible.
Highs will reach the mid to upper 30s today with wind gusts up to 35mph. With the wind, it will feel more like the 20s. Flurries and snow showers are possible during the morning hours. A light dusting of snow is possible northeast of Indy. Mostly cloudy skies are on tap today.
Tonight, skies become partly cloudy and temps drop to the mid 20s. Winds die down to come out of the south up to 10mph.
Monday, the winds pick up again with gusts up to 35mph. Highs will push close to the 50 degree mark with a mix of sun and clouds for the afternoon.
Tuesday, we’re cooking! The average high for this time of year is in the mid 30s, by Tuesday we could be 20 degrees above that! Breezy conditions will remain, and late Tuesday afternoon light rain is expected to move in.
There are small chances for rain throughout the week as a number of disturbances move through.
Temps cool by Saturday, and a rain/snow mix is possible. We’re watching this developing system closely as we get closer to Superbowl Sunday!
Snow accumulations of less than an inch have been reported across Central Indiana this morning. It’s not a lot of winter precip, but just enough to make roads slick with temps around the freezing mark.
The snow exits the state by 10am, and sunshine will work into Indiana by the late morning and early afternoon. Highs will reach the mid to upper 30s today with wind chills in the 20s due to wind gusts out of the west up to 30mph.
Tonight, partly cloudy skies are expected with temps in the mid 20s.
Flurries are possible Sunday, it’s also the coldest day in the 7 day forecast! Highs only reach the mid 30s with wind gusts up to 30mph.
Monday, the wind sticks around, but look at the warm up into the 40s!
The 50s return Tuesday, but a chance of rain begins then too. The rest of the 7 day forecast is below. As of right now, Super Bowl Sunday looks mostly cloudy with temps in the 30s. It goes with saying, we’ll keep you posted on any changes!
A year ago, WTHR began its quest to bring our viewers one Super Bowl story per week. Now that we’re a week away from the big game, it’s dominating our newscasts. We’re broadcasting live from the NFL Experience and Super Bowl Village for the next week and a half, and we’re glad to be part of a national event that puts the spotlight on Indianapolis.
As digital content manager, I expected things to be busy…and they are! But one thing I didn’t count on were all the questions.
On WTHR’s Facebook wall, we take a lot of viewer questions. Some we treat as rhetorical (‘Why did the price of gas jump 40 cents a gallon this afternoon?’ Um…I don’t know. I’m not an economist!) while others demand a more specific response. If I can answer, I will. If I know how to get an answer for someone and I know it will take me less than a few minutes to research, I’ll do it – because I see WTHR’s role as a valuable public service. There’s a lot of misinformation and rumor that floats around on social media. If I have the opportunity to set the record straight with the facts, then I will share those confirmed facts.
But what about when WTHR’s Facebook wall gets flooded with questions about Super Bowl events? We were getting so many questions that we assigned a brave intern to tackle them today. We came up with a list of questions and answers that you can review here. Not comprehensive by any means, but it’s a start.
If you have a question, I would start with the Super Bowl Host Committee’s site. The layout is straightforward and it’s relatively easy to find basic information on parking, event schedules and attractions.
If you don’t have any luck there…you can try us on our Facebook wall!