It was the royal assignment of a lifetime with a visit by Prince Harry to Connecticut. Bosses named me to field anchor our coverage of the event Greenwich. The Prince was coming to play in a polo match for his charity Sentebale. It was 2013 but I remember it like it was yesterday. Here is what I envisioned – getting to perhaps interview my favorite prince, and maybe, just maybe, a photo with him lol!
We arrived at the Greenwich polo grounds early in the morning to go through security, along with lots of media including our neighbors in the row against the fence where we claimed our turf (2-3 feet of space). To our right the BBC royal correspondents who looked really sharp. Men in skinny jeans before it was a thing for men (or was it?).
I pre-arranged an exclusive interview with a woman with the charity weeks in advance and was whisked to an empty, beautiful outdoor lounge area with a red carpet, bar, and luxurious seating on the perfect grass with it’s own set of Royal Flush (yes) port-o-potties. Step one – scooping the competition – done.
With our 11 a.m. live shot in less than 30 minutes it was time to write my script, let my photographer know which shots to put where in the video in order to match my 45 second script, and call in my “roll cues” (words I say when I want studio to roll my video) and get on my microphone and IFB (earpiece that allows me to hear them tossing to me in studio and the show producer). Yes things tend to happen in the final minutes when the pressure is on. Sometimes you just can’t get around it. I always described it as feeling like a circus ringmaster inside the live truck with myself, my photographer/editor and live truck operator all scrambling to accomplish our own tasks on top of one another.
It was right about then that all of the satellite truck operators learned they had to move their vehicles and face another direction to hit the satellite with their signals. Not far, but it is a process. Wrench number one. Our talented truck operator John Senecal to the occasion like it happens ever day and got us ready to go. (He had already set up the only table inside the media tent with power for laptops that network crews asked to join. What a talent!.).
Truck in place, live ready, we are now back on track. And then, five seconds before going live, the skies opened up, and I mean a downpour. Goodbye good hair, hello live shot in a downpour. I recall some technical difficulties with my earpiece connection. Oh, and my pre-arranged live guest wanted to bring a guest with him on live. In the midst of it all the prince arrived and walked into a building, which I missed seeing in person, but we got on video thank goodness!
When our coverage was over the event kicked into high gear and were ready to flop. We were absolutely exhausted and surprisingly not interested in watching the polo match, but instead heading back to the station to prepare for the evening newscasts. A parade of Bentley’s were rolling in as we rolled out. Three hours of work just felt like 12. One of the unexpected days in television news that to this day we look back at in amazement. Sometimes in life if you don’t laugh you’d, well never mind. On the way back our crew shared many laughs about basically everything that could go wrong going wrong. The torrential rain was the only issue visible on the broadcast. We named it the event The Royal Cluster.