Yesterday a few viewers wrote and asked for more "behind the scenes" and I agreed to provide more behind the scenes. I did so without of course knowing what would happen "behind the scenes" during last night's show. So ... here it is:
If you watched last night's show, you know that we covered the Peterson (search) trial in segments D, E and F. On the set with me in Washington were Ted Williams and Bernie Grimm.
You can't see the others - stage manager, cameramen, and those in the newsroom - but they are all in my line of sight. Just seconds before the D segment started (15 to be exact because the stage manager yelled out "15" to mean we were back on the air in 15 seconds), we heard and felt what we thought was a huge explosion.
Our studio - which is 5 floors up from the ground - shook. We all said, "What's that?" Everyone was obviously frightened.
I thought it might be a car bomb at the U.S. Capitol, which is a short distance across sweeping lawns from our bureau. I could see through the glass of the studio that everyone in the newsroom was running towards the windows. We were all terrified in the studio (Ted said afterwards that he was going to bolt but since Bernie and I sat there, so did he.)
I am almost tied to the set (microphone and earpiece wires) so I could not go to the window to check out what the noise was, plus we were less than 15 seconds from being on air. In the 15 second window before we hit air, I asked someone in the studio who was headed to the window - "was that an explosion?"
Before I could get my answer, the segment started and we were on air. I went directly to Laura Ingle in Redwood City for a report. While she was doing her report, I was hand signaling to people in the studio to find out what everyone in the newsroom was looking at (they were still staring out the window and I could see them, but not hear them.)
Bernie and Ted and I were a bit stiff wondering if we were in danger or not. The noise was loud and the shaking of the building was - to put it gently - unnerving.
As soon as the segment ended and we went to break, Ted, Bernie and I asked, "What was that?" "Is everything ok?" I had noticed during the segment that people had returned to their desks so I assumed we were not in danger. I also assumed it was not a news story since otherwise people would not have returned to their desks but would have raced outdoors for more facts.
We were told that it was a huge truck that had apparently dropped off one of those big construction dumpsters. I have not investigated further but I am a bit surprised the truck could produce that noise and shake our studio 5 floors up — unless the truck actually hit our building. I do know the noise and the floor shaking was enough to scare about 25 people.
At the end of the D segment, Bernie, Ted and I wondered how the segment was to you since we were, to put it slightly, distracted while we tried to carry on a conversation about the Peterson trial.
I also received a few e-mails last night about a basketball. Here is a sample:
E-mail No. 1:
Where did you get the bb on your desk? I think it's a women's bb. No, I don’t think you were smirking. How ridiculous.
ANSWER: Monte - you are right, there was a basketball on the set. It was sent to me by the National Women's Basketball Association (search). For promo purposes, they asked me to have my picture taken with it on the set. I agreed. We took the picture (and will soon forward the pic to them) but apparently I neglected to get the ball off the set. The pic is supposed to appear on their Web site to promote women's basketball.
Incidentally, I was on the girl's city (Appleton, Wisconsin) championship team in 1967 and still have my 8-inch trophy. We played "girls' rules" — I bet few know what those rules are!! There is obviously no longer a distinction between girls' and boys' rules but there was in 1967.
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