Our breakfast TV viewing habits continue to be a fertile battleground for Channels 7 & 9. But the battle is tight, and when a market looks like dipping an outside broadcast (OB) is called and hosts & crew hop on a plane and jet off somewhere to “make the happy” live.
With South East Queensland the current focus, The Today Show moved into Ipswich last week (01/07/2011) to celebrate 6 months since the floods that affected the area, to deliver 3 and a half hours of brekky TV fro Queens park. Cue acres of flannelette, beanies & uggboots. A good sized crowd turned up and enjoyed free coffee and muffins (as well as a sausage sizzle eventually) and performances from Pete Murray and to see TV be made.
They’re a slick bunch at the home of the blue dots. The show ran very smoothly to camera, including interviews by satellite with Robert Penfold stalking the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge in Canada and Tony Abbott in Canberra. On location the hosts got down off the stage every chance they got to talk with the crowd, abduct small children to get them on camera, and sign everything thrust in front of them. There’s no mucking around time-wise as everything runs to a strict schedule.
I was very lucky to get to meet Karl, Lisa, Georgie & Ben and present Karl with his well-deserved Molkie Award for “Most notable performance by a journalist”. It was great to finally meet them after so much interaction with them via Twitter and having been on 2GB with Ben a few times.
Everyone who attended had a great time. A kid dressed up in a cardboard box “T” won $500 for his efforts. It was a great study into the behaviour of humans in situations they are not comfortable with to arrive and see the crowd standing a couple of metres back from the bollards at the front of the stage. They soon overcame that. Many muffins and sausages were consumed. Children were hugged and many photos taken.
It really makes a difference, too. Those that attend get to see the “magic of TV” (and if they paid attention they would have seen how the social media side of the Today Show operates too). The personal interaction with the hosts brings a connection that Network bosses hope they hold onto when they go home and next turn on their telly. Karl, Lisa & Georgie hung around to the very last minute before leaving to catch planes home, signing things and talking with people (Ben had to leave earlier to ensure he was back in Sydney for his radio show that afternoon, but he did his share too before he left). It’s also important that they work smoothly and are well-attended. Nothing worse than an OB with 6 people in the background.
The Today Show team are working hard and doing a great job. While expensive, the benefits of such an OB are massive… so depending on how the show is rating in your area, look forward to one soon.