I have been reading some of the reviews people are giving some different shows on the CW Network today. I started thinking. How would these individuals feel about having a mental tour through the day in the life of a behind the scenes career in Broadcasting? Well, here is a taste.
I began my career in Broadcasting over at Fox / UPN in 1999 as a Traffic Assistant. You say "huh?" That is what I said. What will I be doing at a television station? It was my job to contact different advertising agencies in order to receive everyone's favorite part of television, the commercial spots. There was a second aprt to my position at Fox: I was to balance out the spots that aired with the contracts that the clients ordered. An example of a client would be a furniture store, to remain nameless. Before I started working in television I really enjoyed sitting down in the evenings or any time really and just pushing a button. My entertainment would then begin.
I then got a call from the CBS station here in town to come over and reorganize a position within that traffic department and also reinvent the tape storage system for dub reels. My duties over at CBS were mainly to enter in program wires and time out the break structure of the shows. Basically when you watch a television show there is so much time allotted for segments, builtin commercials, and just black space for insertion of local commercials.
Another area that is behind the scenes in television is the sale of airtime. This can be kept track of on a report called a skim. What the skim report tells a reader is how much time was originally available for sale in a show, how much has been sold, and how much time is remaining to be sold. This is sort of like real estate of airtime with putting it in simplified terms. Each time period has a different rate charged due to audience demand for the show. An example of this would be the show Smallville. I saw that topic quite a bit in discussions. The more people watch a show or vote for it in Nielson the more valuable the spots in it have become. During the Superbowl this can be ONE EXPENSIVE POTTY BREAK:)
I am now at CW, the former WB and UPN affiliates, with almost eight years in this business, and what I can say is it is definitely a fast paced, exciting, challenging and rewarding field to be a part of. I receive viewer calls almost daily now lobbying for their favorite show or episode to be put back on the air in the time period they want it. Sorry guys this is a Network's game. It goes beyond my desk. All I can say is keep watching television and enjoy the ride.