By John Montone, 1010 WINS
NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Eyes on the camera, Johnny. That’s it.
My first TV segment called, “Mouth-Off to Montone,” consisted of some street interviews during which the camera was trained on the person I was interviewing. But most of it was me sitting in a radio studio reading the emailed or tweeted gripes and groans of our listeners.
I would occasionally look up and smile or stare with a quizzical expression at the camera, but chances were that when I spoke, the viewer would be seeing the email, the tweet or what in TV news is known as B-roll or extra footage related to the topic being covered.
My major concern when taping Mouth was how the bags under my eyes and my swarthy complexion would appear on HDTV. My producer took care of my dermal imperfections with a touch of rouge and some powder. She did such a splendid job that when my mother saw the segment she asked me, “Johnny, are you wearing make-up?”
“I am, mom.”
“You should always wear it. You look much better.”
My current segment for CBS 2 News is called, “Montone on the Move.” And for this one I am on camera constantly. I ask someone a question, then I react to their answer by probing and prodding. Sometimes I express surprise or even incredulity or I laugh or smirk.
And there in lies the big difference between radio and television. When I’m interviewing a person for 1010 WINS, I try to keep eye contact with him. By doing this, I help him forget about the microphone I have up to his face and allow him to talk to me like he would to his buddy at a bar — before the third drink kicks in. But I can’t do the “look in the eyes” technique on TV, because as my brilliant young producer Rebecca Granet keeps reminding me, I have to look at the camera.