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The Greeley Voice

UpClose with Noah: Inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NBC Television Headquarters

30 Rockefeller Plaza, an iconic skyscraper in the middle of Midtown Manhattan, stands as the headquarters of the television broadcasting company NBC, National Broadcasting Company. The 12-month paid Pages fellowship program at NBC provides participants with a look into the inner functions of a top TV studio. I was fortunate enough to take part in this program and get an exclusive look at how the TV industry functions with various personnel: on-air staff, backstage, cameramen, crewmembers…

The tour started off at the mezzanine of the building where many would gather before entering a show. A video presentation was shown which featured the beginning stages of the company, from a time when radio was still used for news broadcasting. In addition, NBC is a pioneer in breaking many barriers in the television industry: It invited the first African American solo anchor on a nightly newscast and had the first female anchor duo-anchor on a morning show. I was intrigued by the progress the company has made since its inception.

Mezzanine of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (Diversified)

I was then brought to Studio 8H, the home of Saturday Night Live (SNL). Quiet and unoccupied at the moment, the space gets chaotic when live, for many sets have to be moved and relocated within roughly 2 minutes. 700 lights fill the studio and a total of 200 people can watch this live performance. Interestingly, while the studio is the size of two whole floors, behind the home base stage is only 4 feet of space for the host to wait until they present their opening monologue.

I then visited Studio 8G, the studio for Late Night with Seth Meyers. Right underneath this studio is the home for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. To insulate sounds from the live performances at The Tonight Show, a soundproof floor was put in place.

Studio 6A; Studio of the Kelly Clarkson Show

After this, I visited Studio 6A, the studio for The Kelly Clarkson Show. As Clarkson moved to New York, this studio was completely remodeled to create the “vibe” she wanted. I then entered Studio 6B, which is used for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I was shown where The Roots plays as well as where Jimmy’s desk is. The tour guide also emphasized how important it is to take care of the audience seats as it’s made with the same leather used in Ferrari cars.

At the end of the studio tour, I was brought to see the scene in the control room, which manages what is seen and heard on people’s television. As I walked through, I noticed the different control areas such as graphic and audio space as well as the main production area. I also learned that the control room could get crazy during sets, especially during special reports when the teleprompter changes the script at the last minute to present the best coverage to the viewers.

After the tour, I put my skills to the test. Along with other guests, we recreated The Tonight Show by designing our own roles, including a host, a band, guests, camera people, and control room workers. Through this experience, we were all able to understand what each night is for all those who work in this industry.

This experience provided me with a different lens to view the TV industry and helped me understand the work behind the cameras. By learning about what goes on during shows and commercial breaks, I now know how exciting TV production is since every second of screen time matters to present the best coverage to their viewers.

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