CQS 25th Anniversary Tribute: Marie Estrada

Marie Estrada

Marie Estrada (Summer 2013)
Producer
Good Morning Idaho, KIVI/KNIN-TV (Boise)

April will be the two-year mark for my Idaho adventure, and there are two accomplishments I’m proudest of so far. One is how quickly I’ve picked up the responsibilities of a morning television producer at KIVI in Boise, Idaho. The other is how the program I produce, “Good Morning Idaho,” has flourished through the hard work of a skeletal staff.

I became a producer in August 2014. Back then, if you asked if I wanted “vo” or a “nat pack,” I’d have looked at you with a blank expression. But here I am in the newsroom at 8:45 a.m. (off the clock), and for the last 7 ½ hours, I’ve been slinging phrases like “live, you’re up in 5” and “I killed A13, throwing a breaking to the top, we’ve got a live look at a roll over.” Keep in mind, I’d never studied broadcast journalism, let alone produced a two-hour newscast by myself.

It was baptism by fire, the minute I moved to Idaho. I left California and more than 60 close family members. I had no job and no interviews lined up in Idaho. On a whim, I thought, A TV station is hiring. It might be fun to learn how to operate cameras and get into production while I keep an eye on newspaper openings. Two weeks after I crossed the Oregon-Idaho border, I was an assignment editor at KIVI.

There is no executive producer in the morning. In fact, from 12:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., I’m the only person in the newsroom. Before I determine the order in which to air the stories, I look through the planner, community calendars and regional and state wires to see what has changed overnight. Then I look through the archive for what was covered in the 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. shows – all while keeping an ear on the scanners for any overnight or breaking news that I might send our on-call reporter to. I also have to make sure that our website, Twitter and Facebook accounts and our new push notification system are updated with any new content or breaking news.

Once we’re live, from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., I’m keeping in touch with my live reporter so we know what’s new and can update the Web, and so Brandon, my morning reporter, knows when he is up next and what he will be reading. Since our website and social media folks don’t come in until at least 8 a.m., the anchors, the 7 a.m. producer Meghann and I are the words behind the Web. All I can say is, thank God for Spencer, Jillian, Meghann, Brandon, A.J., Devon, Dani and Artemisa, because no one human could do it all on her own while keeping the social media accounts active and producing a live show from the booth.

The point is, every morning at KIVI is all about teamwork, and I’m proud that I’m a part of it. “Good Morning Idaho” has always been the show people watch to smile while they stay informed. The show is a blend of national and local news that doesn’t lose its integrity when we have a guest segment that includes bowling in the studio, or acknowledge that it’s national chocolate cake day (Jan. 27!).

To know that we’ve maintained the energy and momentum while altering the show to fit new producers, new anchors and a new live reporter makes my mind spin. We’re the youngest crew in the market; not one of us is over 30. But here we are, with Nielsen ratings that show GMI at 6 a.m. is the most watched show at the station and the second most-watched in Idaho. We’ve doubled our share of viewers in the market compared to a year ago, and it’s all thanks to the 13 people who show up every day – on less than five hours of sleep.

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