A good day #2

I got out of bed at the second alarm this morning, had hummus on a bagel for breakfast, and left for the KBOO studios at 9:30.

It was the kind of morning I moved to Portland in part to experience again: cool but not cold, overcast but not wet. Those were always my favorite days growing up.

On the 15 going into East Portland, I saw one of my sister’s friends and talked with him for a minute.

I got to the studios at 10, and started to produce the 5:00 newscast. I had been an assistant producer several times, but today was my first time running the show. As producer, my job is to scan the wire and other sources for news stories, select which ones should run and in what order, edit the copy, vet the stories reporters submit, make sure the engineer knows to air all of the obligatory segments at their proper times, and make last-minute adjustments if the show is running short or long.

To make the situation more interesting for a rookie producer, two of the usual four-person team who create the broadcast were not there — KBOO had a news director and a producer, but not an assistant producer or an audio editor. Also, we didn’t have any reporters filing stories, and the Oregon News Service took the day off as well. Fortunately, the news director, Julie Sabatier, is an excellent multi-tasker and trainer (even when she’s under the weather!), and we got the work done.

Julie also knows how to recommend restaurants. When I work at KBOO, I usually eat at Michael’s at 11th and Sandy, which is a great Italian sub place (try the au jus). Julie recommended Three Friends, at 12th and Ash. I had the soup of the day (black bean) and half of a ham & swiss sandwich — both were excellent. And I don’t normally like black bean soup.

At 5:00, I had to walk over to the air room and sign my name as the person responsible to the FCC for what would be on the air during the next hour. That was a little nerve-wracking.

It all went well, though. The newsreaders were experienced, and did a great job hitting their time cues (and saving me from an error in my last-minute adjustments).

I left KBOO at 6:00 a very happy man. I walked down 7th to the post office to check my box, then back to 7th and Belmont to catch the bus home.

It had just stopped raining when I left the post office, and the sky to the west was a brilliant bright blue with a rainbow visible. From the bus stop, I could see the back of an old-time skyscraper — a 12-story brick building at the corner of Grand and Morrison, several dozen feet taller than the buildings around it. The back of the building lacks the decorative façade that the street sides have, and so what I saw was flat brick flat-painted in an institutional greenish-gray. The dark monotony contrasted against the brilliance of the sky was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen recently.

Got home, checked my e-mail, and found out that my high school senior homecoming date and her husband just had their first baby, and that everyone is happy and healthy.

I love Portland. It’s nice to be back on the West Coast.

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