Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Live with Ramona Holloway and Colleen Odegaard

On Jan. 7, I experienced being on live TV for the first time when I was fortunate enough to be a guest on WCNC-TV's "Charlotte Today." I was there to talk about my Best of Swirl 2012 that's in the January issue of SouthPark magazine. (Along with the Scene & Heard social columns I do for the paper and online, I also put together the Swirl social column for SouthPark magazine, which is published by the Observer.)

I've always thought the show is really well done, so although I don't get to watch it when it airs at 11 a.m. weekdays, I do make it a habit to check in on the www.wcnc.com site, click on Charlotte Today, and watch video segments online that feature people or topics that interest me.

I was especially excited to be there on Jan. 7 because it was the first day radio personality Ramona Holloway (of the Matt & Ramona show) was joining Colleen Odegaard as co-host.

The process was fascinating to me. The show's producer, Allison Andrews, narrowed my top ten list down to those she thought would interest viewers the most.  She sent me an outline of how the segment would flow. After some initial banter, they would ask about five event I had written about - less if we ran out of time since the show is very fast paced and they have to keep it moving; each guest segment is 3 to 5 minutes. She asked me to come up with 30-second explanations for each event.

Here's the result:

There were so many highlights for me. Just going to the WCNC studios was neat. It's very modern and sleek, with Emmys everywhere and photos of all their on-air talent that are such valuable parts of our community.

Hanging out with the other guests was an experience in itself. I was thrilled to be waiting with two of the legendary Lennon sisters, who were in town performing at a big convention. They kept me so entertained with cute stories about Andy Williams, being on the Lawrence Welk Show and sweet things their fans say to them. They are a part of American musical history - and they look fabulous - so that was a real treat.

When my time slot was near, I was taken into the studio and told to sit quietly because everything was being filmed live. I spotted Larry Sprinkle, the beloved WCNC weather dude who I see all the time because he's so generous about emceeing fundraisers. It was great seeing him in his work environment, but all I could do was wave since I was trying to be quiet.

I felt like a TV celebrity when a super nice man came over to put a mic pack down the back of my outfit just like you see on reality TV shows.

The "Charlotte Today" set is absolutely gorgeous. There's a kitchen area where all the cooking segments take place, a living room space decorated by Blacklion that's beautifully done where the more in-depth interviews are held, and an area with high bar stool type chairs that work best for my segment because the camera has to be up close so Ramona and Colleen could see the photos from events as we were talking about them.

I put a lot of thought into what I was going to wear, preparing my 30-second "sound bites" and praying that I wouldn't mess up horribly. When the cameraman started counting down the seconds, I took a deep breath. Colleen and Ramona are experts at putting people at ease and going with the flow. And I was amazed how the technical staff kept the photos timed to what we were talking about. Everyone involved with the show is so quick and smart.

The next time I see Ramona and Colleen - except when I watch their show on my computer - will be when they emcee the Art With Heart auction on Feb. 2 at Founders Hall. I know they will add just as much energy and excitement to that important fundraiser as they do to "Charlotte Today."

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson