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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Interesting questions on the post 'Your Mike Is On'. For those of you who asked which are the other prominent incidents that come to mind, here are two, together with what usually happens behind the scenes.

For those of us who do LIVE television for a living, few things come as a surprise. After all, beyond what you the viewer see, there's a whole orchestra pulled on a tight string at work.

Right from the producers to the writers, cameramen to the video editors, studio directors to the line producers. It's a medley of sights and sounds, but there is a method to the madness, as they say.

As can only be expected things go wrong sometimes. But when the big names mess up, it certainly is big news. That's partly why two recent goof-ups by two major networks had me more than just amused. Amused not by the sheer nature of the mess, but by the explanations that followed.

A London cabbie suffered a few awkward moments of fame when the BBC mistook him for a computer expert, I think the date was May the 13th 2006 and interviewed him live on the flagship News 24 channel.

The real expert was Guy Kewney, a journalist specialising in computer issues who had been invited to comment on Apple Computer's legal battle with Apple Corps, the Beatles' music publishing company. Awaiting his moment in a green room of the BBC studios, he looked at the TV screen only to find the presenter already interviewing him.

The man who went on air as the 'expert' had actually come to pick Kewney. No sooner had he arrived at the building, an assistant had rushed him to the studio and miked him up before he could even establish his identity and in the ensuing seconds the drama unfolded.

The mistake became evident a couple of seconds later and this apology was subsequently issued:
"The wrong person was interviewed briefly on the air before we cut to our reporter, and we apologise to viewers for any confusion."

Just two days after that incident, it was again a couple of seconds that CNN took to make a false start to US President George W Bush's immigration speech.

Minutes before Mr Bush was to begin speaking from the White House, CNN television aired several seconds of the president sitting behind his desk practising his speech.

CNN quickly cut away and its anchor blamed the incident on a network pool feed which "inadvertently" went on the air while the president was polishing his lines.

For those of us who are in the business of pushing buttons, you do know what it takes for those inadvertent starts.