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Friday, March 4, 2011

Wait, Where's The Microphone?!?

Today I had a brand new experience.  I was on TV for a local station talking about dental care in pets.  And it didn't go exactly as I expected.

I've never been in a TV studio before, so I didn't know what was going to happen.  I brought my dog, Inara, to use as a sort of prop to demonstrate how to brush a dog's teeth, and had arranged this ahead of time with the producer.  I arrived at the appointed time, abut 15 minutes before air time, and spent some time talking to the station receptionist.  At 5:30 they called me into the studio and I quietly entered as they were starting their broadcast.  I had never actually met anyone from the station in person, so I wasn't completely sure who I was supposed to talk to.  I discovered that the person I was told to contact was one of the anchors, and she was on air as I came in.  During the breaks while they went to video and during the commercials we were able to briefly talk.  I was a little surprised when she asked me what I wanted her to ask me about, as I thought she would have done some prep work ahead of time.  And she was asking me this as they gave us the 1-minute warning before we went live!

We were sitting at an interview desk, and Inara is a 60 pound lab mix.  When she was on the floor she couldn't be seen, so they asked if she could sit on my lap.  I picked her up and she's a good enough dog that she sat there quietly even though I could tell she was a bit nervous.  I discovered that the anchor was nervous also, as she looked rather uncertain about Inara being that high and close and even asked me if she was going to jump across the desk at her.  I was quick to assure her that Inara was very sweet and most certainly wouldn't do that.

So they gave the signal and we started to talk.  I began to go into the statistics of dental disease in pets and the link between dental problems and other health concerns.  A little less than a minute into my talk the anchor said that they couldn't hear me and that my microphone must have fallen off.  Keep in mind that we were on live TV!  So right there I had to let Inara off my lap, quickly look on the floor to find the mike, and then put it back on my lapel.  All of that used up about a minute and a half of the four minute segment!  I quickly moved past that and continued my discussion of dental disease and care, using a model of a dog's mouth that I had brought.

In no time at all the interview was over and we finished up.  The anchor returned to her main desk, they thanked me, and I left.  Once I walked out I immediately began to think of all of the things I didn't say and should have said.  I covered the basics, but also unintentionally left out such important things as "be sure to see your vet for dental cleanings", "tooth brushing won't remove established tartar," and so on.  I guess hindsight is always 20-20, and whenever I've done presentations I've always had a longer period of time.  This being my first time on TV I wasn't used to the quick pace and limited time.  So now I'm kicking myself a little bit because of the things I left out.

Overall it was a good experience, and I'd like to think I handled myself well for my first TV interview and appearance.  The anchor even said that I handled the microphone issue very calmly and did well.  Hopefully I did well enough that I may get other opportunities, as I did enjoy it and really like doing public speaking.  And the next time I'll do better as I have a much clearer idea of how the process works.


  1. Sounds like it was a learning experience for everyone. I think local tv likes having dogs on the air, whatever the topic. Our local station has a dog going through a "biggest loser" type of challenge. It is a rescue dog fostered by a vet, the dog needs to lose a LOT of weight, like from 70 to 40 pounds.

    I've been reading your posts on dental health and anesthesia, and I just had my dog's teeth cleaned today. It is hard as a dog owner reading these posts to balance the dangers of anesthesia with the dangers of dental diseases. Now that my dog's teeth are polished and plaque free, how soon can I start brushing his teeth?

  2. Is your dog named after Firefly? I have to say that she was ny least favorite character...I would have named her River. although that's my SIL's dog's name. They found him at the river AND are Firefly buffs. Worked out well.

  3. sorry. that was homeless parrot talking.

  4. I did a weekly 10 minute show for almost year on pets and vets... Quite an effort to plan and get guests, animals etc... We used to email a list of questions and some pictures through ahead of the show... A huge help. One day the stand in presenter insisted on getting off topic and made us all flounder around .. So I had to ad lib frantically. Sadly, the building we filmed in was one of the ones that collapsed last week in the earthquake..CTV. The stand in presenter, Jo Giles, has died. She was a vivacious woman and I can't believe she has gone..
    good luck. I am sure u were great on tv...

  5. Could you comment on specifically your opinions about cats receiving dental work in a future blog? Do you believe poor dental hygiene in felines is caused by bartonella. Why do strays have such bad teeth?Thank you.

  6. Yes, my dog is named after Inara in Firefly. My wife an I are HUGE Browncoats. :) Looking back I think that River would have been a better name for her based on her personality, but when she was a puppy Inara seemed to fit better.

    Books, start brushing the teeth right away! Plaque starts building up very quickly, and if plaque stays long enough it begins to turn into the hard tartar.

    In my opinion the dangers of dental disease outweigh the risks of anesthesia, assuming the anesthesia is performed safely with currently recommended protocols.

  7. It's funny how some people can't read dog body language at all. The guy who cleans our x-ray processor came the other day and my 10 year old therap dog was passed out nappig on the floor. The man came to a dead stop and asked of the dog would let him pass. Really?

    Sounds like you did a great job-I would probably have been too nervous to even try!

  8. Wow, that was full of typos. Guess I better start proof-reading!


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