There are no good shifts in local television news but among the worst, I’d say that the morning shift has to be the hardest. I’ve only had to fill-in for a week of mornings here and there, and I can tell you that by Thursday and Friday, my brain is pretty much mush. Its a change in lifestyle, and it can be a big adjustment for any broadcast meteorologist making that transition. I spoke with WCAX morning meteorologist Gary Sadowsky to shed some light on waking up well before dawn, and give us a perspective on the early morning routine.
What’s your daily routine like?
Alarm goes off at 2 AM. Earlier in the winter. Eat breakfast while zipping through recording of 11 PM news from the night before to get an idea of what the weather/news has in store for the morning broadcast. Minimizes any surprises. Get to work by 4 AM (should be earlier, but I’ve got the routine down so I can do it in my sleep). Look at all the model data, NWS forecast/discussion, do forecast, make the pertinent graphics, quick make-up session, and on the air at 5 AM sharp. 4 half-hour shows in a row (morning viewers are fluid – different people watch at different times, usually for about 10 minutes while they get ready for work/school). 5 weather “hits” per ½-hour show, so you never go too long without giving a forecast.
During those shows, I constantly run back to the weather center to check for updated conditions/watches/warnings, etc. and change the necessary graphics. Also check e-mail, phone messages and Facebook for viewer reports/comments and use pertinent information from viewers on the air. At 7 AM, network takes over bulk of broadcasting. We do 4-minute cut-ins at 7:25, 7:55, 8:25 and 8:55. During the off-air times between 7-9 AM, I update our website forecast, record the weather phone, Tweet, and Facebook. 9 AM – break time! I live 20 minutes away, so I go home and take a nap.