Guy Junker is one of the most well known sports anchors in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. I had the pleasure of shadowing him for this assignment over Labor Day weekend back in September and it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had to date. He reports for WTAE News 4, and ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh while also having his own Internet show called The Junker and Crow Show. Me being a huge Pittsburgh fan in every sport they have immediately thought of contacting him and the station to see if I could come for a visit. After five emails to all the sports anchors, Guy Junker was the one to respond with a very excited yes of course you can.
Upon arrival to the studio Sunday evening, I was able to meet most of the newsroom workers and the producer of the station. Along with some of the crew and other anchors just there preparing their things for the week but were not actually on the Sunday night news. When I got there Guy was already preparing for the 6:00 news. He explained that they have two sports segments on Sunday. The 6:00 news holds a three-minute segment and the 11:00 news holds a 13-minute segment recapping all the sports from the weekend including professional, college and high school level sports.
Guy writes all of his own material so when he speaks it, it sounds more natural and not like he is reading off of a script. He walked me through the editing process and how he puts basically all the graphics and transitions into the program himself. Guy said that “he would rather do it wrong himself than have someone else do it wrong and them be embarrassed.” Picking out the top stories from that weekend was a little difficult because our Pittsburgh baseball team, the Pirates, did not play until the evening and the Steelers were in the pre-season so there was no news coming from their media outlet either. He explained that this was an odd Sunday due to this factor and that they would pull from different sources to create what they thought was viewable.
Going into the 6:00 news, I was able to sit in the actual studio for the whole broadcast. Seeing how it actually runs compared to our mock versions of it in Television Production 1 was great. They had remote control cameras, different stages and green screens and different sets depending on the day and how the producer was feeling that morning. Watching all that goes into making the broadcast happen was very intriguing because it is not as chaotic as I thought it would be. However, these people have been at it for plenty of years.
After the news was done I was able to go back into the sports room and review the pros and cons from the producer with Guy. I did not know this happened either; so having her come back with feedback was something new to me. From then, we moved on to working on the 11:00 news section, which is a 13-minute long section. Since Guy was running out of things to show me, he asked if I wanted to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates game and take notes/highlights on the important plays or things happening in the game that I thought would make a good piece for the news later on. So for two hours, I sat in front of a TV watching baseball, which did not bother me at all. It is one of my favorite sports however.
About ten minutes until the start of the 11:00 news, and the game ended just in time for us to put all of the highlights into the news. As I made my way to the control room to watch the news, I was thinking how sad I was that my time was coming to an end. In the control room, it was even cooler because it ran so much smoother than in Television Production. Everything was done by a remote control and without chaos. That is until the sports section came up. They had to change the script and order last minute due to the early ending game for the Pirates. As he was getting to the sports section I realized that he was actually using my material that I wrote for the baseball game. Trying to keep cool, I was in a state of shock, because I did not know that I did it the right way. Definitely something I wish I could of recorded.
I asked Guy some questions at the end just trying to get a better feel for who is and how he got to where he was in his position. Guy studied at Penn State and eventually went to Manchester University where he was able to do an internship with BBC in London. Advise to a person going through college with the intensions I have of becoming a sports broadcaster is to never sell yourself short. If you have an opportunity to go into the field but not doing what you want right away do not fret. Your time will come you just have to take a small detour. I asked him if he could do anything differently what would he do? He responded with a simple nothing. He enjoys doing it the way he does it now and doesn’t care to change and that he chose sports for the simple reason that everyone loves sports and everyone can understand him. Highlighting his job would be getting to travel to stadiums and states he never thought possible when he was younger and reporting on our favorite city, Pittsburgh. Being that he is around athletes all the time, I asked him who his favorite athlete currently that he likes to interview and he said all of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. This is because hockey players are not “pre-Madonna” style people. They give it to you straight and enjoy you talking to them. I closed with the famous question: do you get nervous? With his response, “everyone gets nervous” that was enough to conclude my time at WATE in Pittsburgh.
Overall this is one of my favorite assignments that I have had to do ever. I wish I could spend more time there and eventually be an intern but that does not look like it’s in the cards due to technicality. Which is okay, I will find my place one day. This assignment helped one of my dreams take one step closer to reality.