The Show Must Go On

This starts with the theme 'you have no idea!'

Yes, you have no idea what a technical nightmare Thursday, August 14's two-hour show was! While my night was a million times better than the New Yorkers -- and others -- stranded in the dark and sleeping on sidewalks, we had our share of chaos in the DC bureau.

The day started with a show planned about the Scott Peterson court hearing. Mid-afternoon there was a major terrorist arrest in South East Asia... so we planned a new and different show. This meant more conference calls to New York, booking decisions, producer decisions, etc.

Then "all hell broke out" about 4:10 p.m. ET. New York and other areas of U.S. lost power. Of course we had no idea why and how long and then real chaos set in for our show. Frankly, like others I wondered if this were terrorism and whether D.C. -- an obvious target -- would be next.

While I am in Washington, the most of our staff are in New York. At first I was unable to get phone communication to figure out what we were doing or even if we were doing. As the night wore on, we developed communication but it was very spotty. The phone service was over utilized in New York and it was evident.

Of course our NY bureau cranked up the generators but there was question in my mind whether it would still be working at 10 p.m. ET. And if it did not, then what? The FOX technical people are prepared for this, but I am not a technical person so I was confused.

I learned about 8 p.m. that our show would be two hours. When we finally did hit air at 10 p.m., more problems arose. While you, the viewer, could hear our many reporters on the streets of New York, I could not. Usually I can hear them via an earpiece. You can imagine what it is like asking a question and deciding the answer was finished only after seeing the reporter's lips moving. It is rather hard to ask a follow-up if you have not heard the answer.

We quickly figured a solution. Like you, I have a TV in the studio which is always on mute so that my microphone does not pick up the audio and create a strange effect for the viewer. So, as soon as I finished asking a question, I would un-mute the TV for the answer. As soon as the reporter finished the report, or answer, I would mute the TV as I talked so my mike did not pick up external noise. Bottom line, like viewers at home, I "rode" the remote throughout the show. But I felt like a juggler in the circus: riding the remote, going to different guests and asking questions and, of course, trying to make it orderly.

I am told the show looked "clean" for the viewer but it was quite chaotic for us. I am told that the control room in New York communicated with the D.C. control room via someone's cellphone in New York that still had some battery life.

From the looks of the control room staff after our two-hour show, I had the easiest job and I heard our D.C. staff had an easier job than the New York people.

And, of course, we all had it easier than the sick and elderly in NY and other parts of the country who lost power.

I dread today to hear of all the people who suffered last night.  I am sure there are painful stories.

Yes, my night was far easier than everyone else.


Watch On the Record with Greta Van Susteren weeknights at 10 p.m. ET