Thanks to Zoom, my co-anchor Peter Musñgi and I are able to work from our homes and reach the viewers and listeners of DZMM and The Filipino Channel not just nationwide, but worldwide. Some of our interviewees in the past few days included Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Bracing for the ‘new normal’
RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza (The Philippine Star) - April 27, 2020 - 12:00am

Thanks to technology, I’ve been able to co-host my DZMM Teleradyo program, Pasada 630, from home since March 30. The show airs weekdays from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. The show is currently being done remotely because two ABS-CBN employees became persons under monitoring (PUM), resulting in a management decision to make most of us work from our homes while the offices and studios were disinfected, and personnel scaled down to a minimum. Thankfully, those two employees eventually tested negative for COVID-19.

I am amazed by the Zoom app, which is a video conferencing platform that’s not really designed to produce broadcast-quality images. However, it does allow multiple parties to hold a meeting from wherever they are. Thanks to Zoom, my co-anchor Peter Musñgi and I are able to work from our homes and reach the viewers and listeners of DZMM and The Filipino Channel not just nationwide, but worldwide.

Before we go on air, we have a Viber group chat in the morning with our production staff where Peter and I suggest topics and interviewees. After our executive producer (EP) provides his inputs, a final line-up is presented.

Our researcher will then confirm the interviewees and prepare the story briefs, which are sent to our Viber thread before 2 p.m. By 3 p.m., I’ve showered, gotten dressed and been made up by my daughter Gabbie. At 3:30 p.m., the EP gives us the meeting number and password so we can do an audio-and-video check. Our pre-selected virtual background in the studio is then added.

Peter then calls me to discuss our talking points and give last-minute instructions. Our EP requires us to have a TV monitor in front of us and another cellphone handy where he can text us instructions, cue us to commercials, introduce the guests, etc.

Unlike other anchors who prefer to use their laptops, both Peter and I use our iPhones for the broadcast and the accompanying earphones for better audio quality. Even though we work from home, we are constantly reminded of two things: First, we should always wear proper broadcast attire; second, a lady like me should always be made-up while a gentleman like Peter should always be clean-shaven.

The use of inappropriate expressions and unnecessary movements is prohibited, and we are not allowed to utter foul or vulgar words during commercial gaps/breaks because these may be captured on air.

I personally have a difficult time with these remote broadcasts. You have to rely heavily on the Internet and sadly, because my house’s Internet service is intermittent, I have to switch to my cellular data to ensure I’m not cut off. Peter and I have to guess or anticipate one another’s moves and reactions since we can’t rely on hand signals or facial expressions when we want to talk or ask a question. It’s a challenge we didn’t have when we were both in the studio just a few feet from each other before the lockdown.

But more than my Teleradyo work, I miss being in the office and talking to my officemates. The lockdown has made physical interaction so limited that it’s become stifling. I’m already bracing myself for the new normal when the community lockdown is lifted. I am certain that people will come to work in masks or face shields, that physical distancing will be enforced, and that meetings will be discouraged unless they’re unavoidable.

On the other hand, working from home and video conferencing will be encouraged. Lunch gatherings will be discouraged and eating alone at one’s table will be the norm. The thought of all these makes me very sad. I enjoy my lunch breaks because that’s when I bond with friends. There’s nothing quite like eating while exchanging stories, chismis and jokes.

If there is one lesson this pandemic has taught me, it’s the value of the intangibles: Our relationships with our family and friends, our health and our faith. In the end, these are all that we need to pull us through even in the most difficult times.

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