SYRACUSE -- The anchors look nice and relaxed on the set, but things aren't always so calm off-camera during local TV newscasts. This Wednesday, ABC affiliate NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-DT) will use its digital subchannel 9.2 to provide viewers a "backstage pass" of what's happening behind the scenes, while the station's early evening newscast airs on 9.1.
It's called "NC9 Raw," and the special broadcast begins at 4:55pm, just a few minutes before the "regular" news broadcast begins on 9.1. If you're watching on Time Warner Cable, it's channel 890, and Verizon FiOS customers can watch on channel 470.
If the idea sounds familiar -- yes, it's happened before. The station did a "Raw" special in 2007. During the 90-minute early evening newscast hosted by Tim Fox, viewers watching 9.2 had the chance to see what happens in the control room, live while the news is happening on 9.1.
The special also included pre-produced segments introducing viewers to the various staffers who all play a role in getting the newscasts ready for air each day. One particularly memorable segment showed longtime anchor Rod Wood doing his hair and makeup -- editors sped-up the video so the entire process could be seen in less than 60 seconds.
But there have been plenty of changes since then, so viewers who saw the 2007 special won't see the exact same things. Most obviously, the station now broadcasts its local newscasts in high-definition. In order to pull off the transition to HD, the station had to build a new control room, packed with lots of new digital toys. The 12-year-old orange and blue news set was also replaced, with one designed specifically to compliment the widescreen aspect ratio of HD.
According to 9WSYR.com, this second incarnation of "NC9 Raw" will be interactive -- by allowing viewers to participate in live trivia during the show, and to submit questions which could be answered on-air.