If you watch Chicago Tonight, you may have noticed that Carol, Eddie, Elizabeth and I wear earpieces on the air. These earpieces are small, inconspicuous (we hope) and are wired to the control room. The control room is next to the studio. In the control room are the hidden puppeteers who make the show work, including the show’s director (who literally calls the shots) and the producers who can whisper in the ear of the host.
And what do they whisper? Well, the other night I had a guest on the air whose first name was “Kerry” but I kept calling her “Kelly.” The host whisperer quickly corrected me. But beyond correcting minor slip-ups, these producers also have worked with the host on the substance of the segment–what issues are most important, how to phrase questions, pitfalls to avoid, etc. Many are the times when a producer will say something like, “Remember, she said the exact opposite the last time she ran” or, “Get to the abortion question” when we’re running out of time.
These producers help keep the hosts on track, help us stay aware of the time and are the unseen journalists who help elevate the segment. You might think about them the next time you notice that little piece of plastic in my ear!