Fox News Radio is one of many U.S. broadcast organizations now “working from home.” It was not a sudden decision.
“We had been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and continued to enforce cautious and prudent measures across our entire business,” said Vice President John Sylvester. “We began to take additional steps to ensure programming continuity throughout our platforms late February into early March. Our planning was always for the worst-case scenario and unfortunately, we needed to implement a large portion of remote actions for each platform. Right now we have close to 80% of our staff working remotely daily.”
Depending on their job, each staff member has been given remote access to Adobe Audition, Amazon Workspace, Slack, Zoom, iNews for writing and editorial newsgathering, and VPN access to the broadcaster’s ENCO automated audio systems, plus various other tools and software applications. All audio feeds are sent to and managed by the company’s network operations center in New York and backed up in Washington, using a cloud-based platform that gives everyone access to the content in real-time.
“Our network radio reporters and anchors are spread out through the country in LA, Chicago, Miami, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and London from home locations, with a large portion designated with Comrex Access units along with headset microphones,” Sylvester said. “Also, we supplied our teams with additional Blue yeti microphones for stories to be filed and uploaded.”
Host Guy Benson is one of many employees creating remote content for the Fox News Radio Affiliate News Network, Fox News Headlines 24/7, Fox News Podcasts, Fox News Talk and associated online platforms during the pandemic. They are doing so using laptops, internet access, and BRIC-Link, Comrex Access and Tieline IP audio codecs.
“We moved to broadcasting from my house the third week of March,” Benson told Radio World. “We are mostly live, with some segments and guests pre-taped. The White House Coronavirus task force briefings often start during our final hour, so we’ve been monitoring those and sometimes taking portions of it live.”
“I’m just feeding my voice to New York, where our technical producer mixes all the elements,” said Benson. He’s doing his show using “a simple Tieline machine, a sportscaster-style headset mic, and my laptop.”
Fox News Radio’s “working from home” solution is an evolving “work in progress” for this broadcaster. “We look at best practices and procedures so we can continue producing the most reliable news products and services for our affiliated stations, listeners and partners across the country,” said Sylvester. “As we all experience this pandemic globally, we will continue giving the latest news, information, and entertainment to our audience, while providing some comfort as our country and world move forward.”
Meanwhile, broadcasting at his house is working for Guy Benson, even if his only colleague is his dog Roy.
“Doing the show from my own home is convenient and comfortable in several ways, but I miss being at Fox with my colleagues,” said Benson. “The shift isn’t impacting the quality of the content, but it certainly feels more isolating. I’m talking to myself in a room for three hours every day, which has required me to adjust in order to keep my energy and focus high.”