Bloopers on TV


Scott McGrewWhen I was growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, there was a TV station that would collect its on air gaffes and bloopers and show them all on the newscast on New Year’s Eve. I can remember we kids – gathered in the basement while our parents socialized upstairs – would watch and laugh uproariously.

I haven’t worked at a TV station that actually airs its mistakes (a second time, anyway), but I found these TV bloopers on Check them out, they’re pretty funny.

As documented on our station’s talent biography page on the web site, my first blooper came on my first day as a TV reporter in small town Georgia.

Often reporters are placed in front of a camera in the newsroom to deliver their reports. Why, I’m not exactly sure. I suppose its to lend some sort of immediacy to the whole thing — as if we’re working hard on our reports and are “checking for the very latest.” Frankly, the studio is usually only a few feet away, so we could just as easily join the anchor in the studio.

At any rate, I was asked to deliver one of those reports on my first day on the job. I was well trained in college to handle these sort of things, so I was not at all nervous. I did, however, want to make sure I was presentable, so I fidgeted a bit with my tie.

I waited for my turn to come up — watching a small color TV just below the camera placed there for just that purpose. The news had apparently not yet started, as Oprah was still on TV.

What I didn’t know was someone had tuned the TV away from our channel. This is a big no-no in a newsroom, as someone such as myself might not realize the monitor was not showing our air.

Which I didn’t. And so.. when I asked “is my tie straight?” I was doing so ON AIR.

“We go now live to the newsroom to check with Scott McGrew, who is monitoring the story for the very latest.”

“Is my tie straight?”

“That was Scott McGrew, live in the newsroom.”

So there’s my blooper. That very same day, I managed to misunderstand something in the breakroom that would come back and haunt me months later.

As part of my orientation, I was given a short tour by the news director who took me into the break room for a cup of coffee. He opened the latch on the small coffee vending machine and pressed a button inside to fill two cups.

Six months later, the general manager caught me filling my coffee cup the same way.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asked.

I thought that was just how you were supposed to do it — it turns out I was supposed to put a dime in the slot.

Of course, this was the same station where – a few days before I arrived – the consumer reporter was promoted to assistant news director but because of the small staff, she temporarily KEPT her job reporting on consumer issues.

No one told me she worked both jobs. Being new, I was polite and didn’t ask the consumer reporter why she kept asking to read the stories I wrote before they went on air. I thought she was trying to learn how to write or something.

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Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter


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