A Day In The Life
I still believe some people honestly think I work six minutes a day. After all, the average length of my TV weather segments is two minutes, and I am on ABC 33/40 News three times a day, at 5, 6, and 10:00. Kind of like your pastor working one hour a week. It doesn't exactly work that way.
Here is a normal weekday schedule for me...
4:52 a.m. The alarm sounds. A little early for me, considering the fact I work the TV night shift. And, now that Daylight Saving Time is here, my body knows it is really 3:52 a.m. No human should be awake at this hour of the day.
5:00 a.m. After firing up the coffee pot, I enter the home "war room", better known as the studio/office. Work begins on gathering maps and graphics for the Weather Xtreme video, which I record around 5:20. Of course, digging through all of those maps gives me a pretty good weather briefing for the day as well. I record the Weather Xtreme video and edit it in Final Cut, and as the video renders I write the morning discussion that is posted to the blog. Quite frankly, these products have become "mission critical" each day due to the very large web audience we have built over the years. And, of course, with the video production I do my best to clean out the overnight email that rolls in... usually 25 or more show up between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
6:09 a.m. By now the blog discussion and Weather Xtreme video has been posted, and I have started recording the afternoon radio weather feed for the two dozen radio stations I handle around the nation. At this actual moment I begin my first live radio chat with WYEA in Sylacauga (1290 AM).
6:15 a.m. I swing by our 13 year old's room to be sure he is awake, and work on the afternoon radio feed again. It is about this time that I post a daily weather update to Facebook and Twitter.
6:38 a.m. Another live radio chat with the "morning buzz" crew on WGMZ in Gadsden (Z93.1)
6:45 a.m. Yet another live radio visit with the guys at Thunder 92-7 in Anniston (WTDR, 92.9 FM).
7:05 a.m. Hopefully by now I have finished the afternoon radio feed, and come downstairs to say so long to the 13 year old before he heads down to the bus stop. And, I spend some time with my wonderful wife, who has been a weather widow for 30 years this summer.
8:00 a.m. It is about this time I play the game... do I get in the shower? Or wait for Rick and Bubba to call? I am usually on the Rick and Bubba radio show during the 8:00 hour, and Speedy does a good job of giving me a heads up, but sometimes that call comes when I am in the shower, prompting a wild dash to the war room. Yes, I do put on some clothes since the Skype delivery to R and B now features video.
8:30-9:00 a.m. It is usually in this time frame I leave for a school. I do science programs in schools every day this time of the year, unless there is another function on the schedule I can't miss, like a board meeting at Trinity Medical Center (where I am the board chair). I really do mean every day... the school program schedule is jam packed; I probably turn down over 100 every year simply because I run out of time.
Some schools are two hours away, some might be minutes away. I mostly speak to elementary school groups, but I have been known to visit high schools and colleges as well. Long time readers know this is where I have picked up a pretty good working knowledge of the geography of the State of Alabama by taking the roads less traveled to these school visits. It is one of my favorite parts of the long day.
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. This is when I usually show up at ABC 33/40. When I get in, immediately I will begin work on catching up with emails (I get over 100 on most days, and most of them require some kind of answer), and review social media channels (Facebook and Twitter). I then produce the afternoon blog discussion and Weather Xtreme video, edit the KIDCAM, and begin working on the morning forecast package for the next day.
I am blessed in that I don't write the afternoon/evening forecast... that is done by my long time mentor J.B. Elliott, who retired from the Birmingham NWS office in the late 80s. We have been working together for about 20 years now.
5:00 - 6:30 p.m. TV time. I handle the weather segments on ABC 33/40 News, and in between I begin working on the morning radio feed for the following day. Recording the audio for all 24 stations takes time; I have them all the way from Phoenix, Arizona to Norfolk, Virginia, and all points in between.
6:30 p.m. I do my best to take the dinner break and head home to see my family. But, this is baseball season and often I am off to a ball park to watch practice or a game. I should mention this is the first year I have not coached a team in many years, but when you are playing past the age of 12, it becomes a little more serious, and my son doesn't need some dad like me coaching his team (who really doesn't know that much about baseball coaching). Sometimes I will actually speak to a church group or at other functions if the event is not too far from the station.
8:30 p.m. I should mention that on Monday nights we record WeatherBrains, the weekly Internet show all about the weather, and I host this from ABC 33/40. Most weeks we run it right to 10:00, so I am multi tasking, producing and hosting the show while writing the morning forecast package and feeding radio files.
9:00 p.m. I am back at ABC 33/40, sending all those radio files via FTP to a web server, and finishing the morning forecast package for the following day that I post around 11:00.
10:00 p.m. Back on TV News... I handle the weather segment on ABC 33/40 News (the late edition). I must admit by Thursday and Friday I am so tired I can't really remember what I say since this is clearly past my bedtime.
10:45 p.m. If the day went well, I am wrapped up and make the drive home.
11:15 p.m. I arrive at the house, and set up everything for the morning Internet/Radio shift I do in the war room. I do my best to spend a little time in the Word, pray a little, and think back on the day just finished.
12:00 midnight Bed time. I am the kind of guy who has a hard time turning off the spinning wheels in my brain, so it is often 1:00 or so before I really fall asleep. I will usually check RSS feeds and cruise some web data in the bed on the trusty iPad while trying to fall asleep. Sometimes I will work on the message I will be delivering on Sunday during Children's Worship at Double Oak Community Church.
4:52 a.m. The whole thing starts again.
Please understand I am not sharing this because I want sympathy; I love my job and have no complaints about the long hours whatsoever. I just wanted to let you know we actually do work some pretty long hours.
The truth is that I am living the dream... husband, dad, children's minister, TV weather guy, etc. I have never applied for a job in my life, and all of the jobs I have held have been nothing but a ton of fun. Very few can say that. Here's hoping the dream stays alive for a while. I am having too much fun.