The next time your alarm clock goes off and you dread getting out of bed, consider this: There are probably people in this world who have to get up even earlier than you do. And they probably work in morning television.
Probably the most frequent question I've received since I started working here back in June is, â€œSo what time do you get up?â€ The answer, which shocks just about everyone who hears it, is about 1:30 a.m. That's right. Well before last call at most local bars, I'm waking up and pouring a bowl of cereal, watching the previous night's 11 p.m. newscasts on my DVR. As I like to say, I get up so early, it's late. When I head to work around 2:20 a.m., I know the lights that are on in neighboring apartments belong to people that have not gone to bed yet.
The funny thing about getting up so early is that most people don't understand why if our show starts at 5 a.m. For some reason, people think that we roll out of bed around 4 and walk straight on the set at 5 and just start reading. Well, it doesn't work that way. Marcy, Jerry, Meghan, our morning photographer/editor Tim and I all get to work between 2:30 and 3 a.m. to start our day. Members of our production crew start arriving shortly after that. And that's nothing compared to our producer Geoff who comes in around 11 p.m.
So what do we do in the middle of the night? Well, Geoff has to figure out what stories will fill our two hours and in what order. When Marcy and I get in, we then have to read through all of our scripts, including writing and rewriting some of them. Jerry has to work on his forecast and make all the graphics he needs. Meghan has to edit the story she'll report during the shows while Tim, with Geoff's help, is responsible for editing all the other stories in the show. And our production crew needs to make graphics, set up cameras and get other stuff done in time for the show.
Yes, it is a tough life in some ways. But we do have much of the day free to run errands and do other things. Of course, some of us often use those daylight hours to catch up on sleep. I know I do. And that can cause a vicious cycle of bad sleeping habits that's tough to break.
To be honest, though, adjusting to this schedule hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. Now, that's not to say it's easy, but once I did it for a while, I found it was not much different from getting up at any other time. In other words, I was just as grumpy about getting out of bed whether the alarm was going off at 1:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. Of course, I've worked about every other shift in my TV career, so why not this one. Personally, I think the toughest was when I was at FoxSportsNet in Atlanta, working 5:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. every day. Now that's a weird shift.
Overall, I'd have to say the most difficult part of the schedule we work to bring you Good Morning Carolina is the impact it has on your social life. For the most part, we are not going out to dinner, movies or bars during the week, unless it's in the middle of the day. And while that does help the wallet a bit, it also makes it tough to meet new people or just have some fun, especially when you're new to town like me. Fortunately, I've made some great friends who I hang out with on the weekends -- when I can stay awake. I've even been fortunate enough recently to meet a fantastic woman to whom I've grown quite close. Now she's seeing first-hand what a strange life my colleagues and I lead. Lemme tell you: There's nothing like trying to nurture a budding relationship when one of you should be going to bed at 6 or 7 each night. In fact, I had to ask newlywed Marcy how she and her husband have managed. One solution: Sleeping in shifts. A couple hours of napping in the afternoon can translate to a couple more hours with your significant other between the time they get home from work and the time you need to get to sleep to be functional the next day. Hey, relationships are all about compromise, right?
But in the end, we love what we do and have a lot of fun bringing you Good Morning Carolina each day, which I hope shows through on-air. If we didn't enjoy it, we wouldn't do it, even if it means less time during waking hours with a new girlfriend or husband.
Now you have some insight into life on a morning show. So please don't forget that to help you get up early each day, we have to get up even earlier.