CNBC quickly adjusts to new pandemic schedule
While it was almost impossible for anyone to fully prepare themselves for the oncoming effects of the pandemic, CNBC was one network whose efforts helped it adjust as quickly as possible to the new schedule for both remote productions and the crew still working in the studio, reports Michael Balderston of TV Technology.
Steve Fastook, senior vice president of technical operations at CNBC, believes in having a contingency plan for all situations from a flooded building to a power outage. This approach led the network to deploy a strategy to battle the spread of COVID-19 while still offering CNBC’s daily reporting.
With the pandemic still spreading, approximately 80 percent of the network’s staff is working from home. These include 40 on-air contributors who have received production kits for at-home production.
These kits are based around the Padcaster platform which features a front-end lens for higher quality and adapters for the use of lapel or shotgun mics. Then, when it’s time to connect, anchors can connect for a livestream either through their Wi-Fi or through hard wired Ethernet.
“There’s a little bit of variation for the setup, because these are people’s homes and they have their own different situation,” Fastook added.
As for the remaining 20 percent staff coming to the studio, CNBC has made two out of the three rooms operational with every safety precaution being taken. At the beginning and end of the day, an independent cleaner that is able to work specifically with technical equipment sterilizes the control rooms.
Additionally, show teams have been assigned specific conference rooms that only they can work in, while editors have their own individual rooms and connect through a VPN tunnel.
Fastook says the CNBC team is adjusting to their new circumstances, but many are eager to get back in the office.
“I’m really proud of our teams,” he said. “Whether you’re home or whether you’re in the control rooms, morale has been fantastic. Our folks, this is what they do, this is their mission. I’m really, really proud of my team.”