You’ve got to wake up pretty early in the morning to be a TV studio floor director.
Tim Niccum, the morning floor director for the past four years — his second tour of duty at Fox 9 — has turned in his headset. “I didn’t want to keep waking up early in the morning. Didn’t want to put my wife [Shayna Anderson] through that. As much as I liked the job itself, it’s been more hectic with ‘The Jason Show’ and ‘The Buzz.’ I feel like I contributed a lot. There was always room for advancement, but I just didn’t want to continue getting up at 3:30 a.m.”
With robotic cameras taking over the camera work (Niccum is a former camera operator), the floor director is the only person in the studio besides the anchors and guests. “My job was basically controlling the studio,” he said, “making sure everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen; making sure when there are guests it is set up the way its supposed to be, they are miked up and sat where they are supposed to be, asking guests if they have any questions.”
Ah, the mikes. During this video interview, he didn’t put the mike on correctly and I playfully pounced. The sound problems you’ll hear in the online video are not Niccum’s fault. My mike died, and I had to use ambient sound.
Q: Are you sweating because it’s hot outside or because you’re on that side of the camera?
A: A little bit of both. There were some things I did on camera. Keith [Marler, meteorologist] and I did some segments in the field. I would see movies and do reviews with Keith. It’s not for me.
Q: What is your advice for the new floor director?
A: Always look ahead. If I wasn’t prepared for something that was 25-30 minutes from where we were in the show, it was already too late. There’s a lot of juggling and once you get into that “Jason Show,” things happen fast. There are a lot of big movements; moving tables, moving huge set pieces, Jason. It’s hard to handle.
Q: What will you miss most (and do not say the people)?
A: [Laugh] The different experiences I went through, meeting all kinds; last week I got to hang out in the green room with Louie Anderson. He’s somebody I’ve known off and on for a couple years. It’s always nice to see people you wouldn’t normally interact with and especially in my job where I had to go in and talk to them and prepare them. I really enjoyed meeting Chris Hadfield, the astronaut. He was the one who sang that David Bowie cover. Not too many huge celebrities come through the Twin Cities and stop at a TV station. Jason Segel — “How I Met Your Mother,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” — was really interesting; really down-to-earth guy.
Q: Your job requires a lot of catering to personalities. Do you have no more patience by the time you get home to your wife?
A: No. I have a lot of patience. News personalities are not bad at all. Everybody has their quirks. Any workplace is going to be that way. Everybody [at Fox 9] respects each other. They knew I was doing what I had to do to make sure their show went well. The personalities were never too much of an issue. When I get home, my wife’s personality is never too much of an issue.
Q: Oh, there was one personality that was an issue. Did you keep a copy of the vile e-mail you received from a former contributor?
A: It was actually a Facebook message. But that person has blocked me and I have blocked that person. I learned that people aren’t always who you think they are.
Q: Your new job sounds less aerobic?
A: I was getting 12,000 to 15,000 steps a day. I had my step counter on my phone. My first two days on my new job I’ve gotten about 3,000 steps. I’m working for a Web development firm in St. Paul. BlueEarth Innovation. I’m doing quality assurance, testing and some development. It’s been really nice so far. I have my own desk.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “The Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.