As someone who wants to work in both radio and television, and who has done so from a very young age, being based in New York City is pretty surreal. You just have to wander a few blocks from Times Square and you’re surrounded by countless television studios, taping theatres and queues of eager fans who, just like me, are itching to be a part of it.
Good Morning America
Labor Day: a public holiday which honours the American labour movement and, consequently, gives many Americans an opportunity to have a well-deserved lay-in on a Monday morning. Meanwhile, for us, Labor Day provided a day off from classes and allowed us to attend the filming of Good Morning America in their Broadway studio! The show featured an in-studio interview with Penn Badgley, most famous for his role in ‘Gossip Girl’, and a live performance from Anne-Marie (my first encounter with someone else from Essex here in NYC!). The studio itself looks out onto the dazzling billboards of Times Square and I enjoyed peering out to see the city waking a little later than usual.
The TODAY Show
You’ll often be told about how studying abroad changes or shapes you as a person, and after just over a month I can already vouch for that. Back home in London it was far from unusual to have my flatmates knocking on my bedroom door, loudly saying ‘Bevan?’ to check that I was awake despite having set about seven alarms on my phone (and having an additional alarm clock on my desk). I am proud to announce that I woke up at 4am, without the assistance of my roommate and with only one alarm, so that I could attend the taping of a concert. I believe that I am a changed woman.
Located just across from the famous Rockefeller Centre, The TODAY Show had set up an outdoor stage for one of the final shows of their summer concert series. We were lucky enough to see Alessia Cara, winner of the 2018 Grammy for ‘Best New Artist’, perform a few songs as the sun rose above New York City’s skyline. A pretty cool thing to do before attending a 9am lecture!
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Watching Jack Black, movie star in films such as ‘School of Rock’ and ‘Kung Fu Panda’, play the Sax-A-Boom whilst dancing with Jimmy Fallon sounds like the content of a very bizarre late-night-cheese-induced dream (or a family friendly scenario from Cards Against Humanity) and yet I can confirm that it happened right in front of me. Despite being told multiple times that tickets to Jimmy Fallon’s tapings are notoriously difficult to obtain, with people queuing up for hours on end for the chance of a standby ticket, luck appeared to be on my side as my first application was successful!
We were seated in the front row (!) for the taping and sat directly opposite Jimmy’s desk and the stars of the show; Jack Black, Angela Bassett and Josh Groban. It was so much fun to witness the filming, particularly watching Fallon improvise and decide which jokes to cut or add (we were fortunate that they wanted to re-film one of the skits and so we got to see it twice), as well as having him kindly answer questions from the audience for 15 minutes and getting a high five as the credits rolled!
If you’re studying abroad, make sure to look out for opportunities like these in your chosen destination. I would’ve missed the chance to attend these tapings if it weren’t for a bit of research online, and the experience has left me more determined than ever to pursue a career in broadcasting!