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Back Then…The Unofficial History of NJ101.5

Ah! Technology! I have seen a lot of it in our station over the years as well as a lot of technology changes. Even TV technology. There was that eight year stretch back then, (makes it sound like a prison term, doesn’t it?), when Jim Gearhart’s morning show was on Comcast Channel 8.

Joe Cutter
Matthew White, Townsquare Media

When Press Broadcasting put that deal together, the TV people quickly showed up and completely rearranged out little radio world, first in our old building and then in the new one.

They built a complete television control room in a part of the building. Suddenly, we became aware of cameras, mounted on the wall, in the main studio and the newsroom. 

Having TV in our midst every morning from 6 to 10am necessitated a lot of changes back then. We had to script our news differently. And everyone, from Jim on down, quickly became keenly aware of the fact that the camera is always there. When we would go to a break on the radio, the TV did not necessarily follow suit. So although our audio was off, the world could still see what we were doing. That included little hand gestures and stuff you can get away with on radio only. Everybody also had to be very careful about what they scratched and when. We had to really behave ourselves.

Our TV crew, including Dan Noonan, Mike Caruch, Tom Stark and Megan Bobko, were really quite a joy to work with, and after some initial unease about how to put a radio show on a cable TV channel, things went very smoothly, mainly because the TV crew went out of their way to help us. I remember that one of my problems was that I seem to bob around a lot in front of my mic. That’s okay for radio. But the camera guys had to constantly remind me to sit still so I would stay in the shot. They also liked it when we looked at the camera when we delivered the news, although we did not have any teleprompters in the studio like fancy TV news people.

We had to dress presentably. Us radio news people had been wearing shirts and ties daily back then, even before TV showed up. But a big no-no was wearing a white shirt on camera. We were told that it is just too bright. Anything but white. Blue was preferred.

And there was a TV camera mounted on the wall in the newsroom. A few times each morning they would put that camera on to catch a shot of us working at our computers, on the phones, etc. And again, we had to be careful, because for the news people, we were on even when we were off.

The TV part of the Jim Gearhart show ended in 2003 when Comcast pulled the plug.

But it was fun for those eight years, back then….

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