Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Getting on the TODAY show –
Easy as hot dogs

One of my biggest goals while visiting New York City was to stand outside in the audience on NBC’s Today show and hopefully get on TV. I didn’t have very high hopes, but boy was it easy!

Arriving around 7:30 AM, my friend and I entered the gate on the south side of Rockefeller Plaza just off West 48th Street. Greeting us were two very nice people offering free hotdogs, which we declined (it was 7:30 AM after all). We were also happy to accept free “birthday” t-shirts from volunteers with the American Cancer Society. Before entering the gate, security checked my purse, searched our pockets, and read my sign to make sure it was appropriate for morning TV viewing audiences. Then, they whisked us in – it all happened in about a minute flat.

Once inside the narrow fenced area (which looks four times bigger on TV), we had a few choices. We could walk all the way around so that we would be beside the big windows – the ones you see when they broadcast from inside. However, there were already quite a few people there. It was Fleet Week and the audience was filled with handsome tall sailors all dressed in white. Being vertically challenged, I decided to hang out close to the gate where only a few people were standing. That way, we could see!

While we all watched Ann Curry interview Brad Pitt via satellite, Al Roker made his way around the audience, shaking hands and meeting with the crowd. Poised to start at any moment, Roker then exercised his voice in preparation for a weather segment, saying and screaming funny words. At 7:40 AM, Roker set up shop in front of a guy with a buffalo hat, where he gave today’s weather forecast. Since the crowd was so small in that area, I had no trouble holding up and proudly displaying my Orlando Magic sign during the whole weather segment.

Wow! We were on TV within only ten minutes! Time for coffee!

We hung out in Dean & DeLuca where we were able to sit at a window table beside the plaza and see the show from a slightly elevated position. By 8 AM, the crowd began to grow significantly as more and more people showed up, hoping to be seen on the show during the broadcast for their time zone.

My only regret – not meeting Lenny!

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