My Thoughts on Live Television

By David G. Firestone

Just gonna do a quick one this week. I saw this in the NASCAR Awards Banquet, and I’d like to discuss this for a minute. I love watching live television. As you may or may not know, my background is in television production, I did a lot of shoots in high school and college. Live TV is fun to watch, as opposed to pre produced television.

When you have a pre produced TV show, such as The Big Bang Theory, or NCIS, the show broadcast is refined, perfected, and is smooth. No major errors, no mistakes, and the show is perfect. Live television is so much more fun because if something goes wrong, you can’t edit it out. When you watch live sports, there is a 5 second time delay, but that really isn’t enough time to fix something that goes wrong. A great example is when Jimmie Johnson’s engine blew, and the TV broadcast tuned into his radio in perfect time to hear Chad Knaus shout “You have got to be f–king kidding me!” Another example is the power outrage during Super Bowl XLVII. I love moments like that, because it’s always fun watching on air talent scramble to explain what’s going on.

I’ve also watched Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live! I did this, not just because I love watching live television, but in addition to working behind the camera, I’ve acted on stage. So having worked on both sides of the camera, I understand some of the pressure behind it. So I watched the production and the one thing that stuck out to me about Peter Pan Live is that the on-air talent did not seem as comfortable as they should have doing it. There were minor issues with the broadcast but it went over well.

Live news can be feast or famine. 95% of live news shows go over smoothly, but the other 5% are amazing to watch. I saw this on 9/11 and again with the Ferguson riots, where so much is going on, and it’s so hard to cover all of the news in the area, that professionalism goes right out the door. In both these events, the havoc going on around the reporters and camera crews made a professional broadcast a pipe dream.

Television has bonded us as a country, and live broadcasts are always fun to watch, whether it’s sports, news or a musical.


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