Apparently, most of the time, I love the limelight.
Put me in front of a microphone at a radio station and I could talk for hours about all kinds of things. A room of people, give me a few minutes and I’ll have folks laughing and will love the company I’m in. A stage? Oh yeah, give me an office chair and I’ll start singing and enjoy every minute of it.
Now, TV? Not so fast.
The shiny floors of a television studio, the lights that illuminate everything from every angle, teleprompters, wires, the huge cameras that seemingly move on their own across the floor to move from one anchor’s desk to the other, it’s all a bit intimidating.
Indiana Grown, a group that helps promote Indiana small businesses and is part of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, has been able to offer an opportunity for members to snag an early Saturday morning segment over the past year or so on WISH-TV 8 in Indianapolis.
During the 3- to 4-minute segments, the member can talk about the business, the products sold and anything else that will help promote and grow the member’s business. It’s a great partnership.
In previous years, I would notice the monthly request in Indiana Grown’s newsletter for businesses to come and talk. I wanted to do it, but the fear of being in front of a large camera and the thought of being able to meet the demand in sales, should I get lots of press, held me back.
That was before I had made it through 2020 like everyone else. It was time to just go for it.
I signed up for a segment Nov. 13 and received instructions that I was to be at the studio no later than 6 a.m. at their downtown Indy location. That meant I needed to leave my house no later than 4:45 a.m. Usually, the only time I leave that early for a farm purpose is to take chickens to Freezer Camp, and it’s a pretty somber trip.
I awoke the morning of the 13th at 3:45 a.m. and managed to have plenty of time to get a shower, get full face makeup on and arrive at the studio right at 6 a.m. There was a bit of a snag trying to get into the studio that morning as there wasn’t anyone to greet me when I arrived, but after using a little of that farm girl persistence, I managed to get ahold of someone within the building who then let me directly into the studio to sit quietly off camera until 5 minutes before the first segment started.
A sound guy handed me a microphone pack and asked if I could thread it through my clothing so they would be able to hear me loud and clear. OK, I thought, I know what this gadget is. It’s like being onstage. I think I can do this.
The anchor who interviewed me that morning, Randall Newsome, knew his craft, and within a few seconds of the camera going live, we were bantering back and forth, and of course, I had to throw out my moniker of “Mutha Clucka” just to spice things up a bit.
Before I knew it, the first segment was finished, and I had an hour to wait between the next segment. The producer offered me the chance to go to their green room, but his description of it didn’t sound as exciting as watching the news reporting happening right in front of me, so I sat quietly and watched as Randall chatted up between news reporting and commercial breaks. I was in awe of his energy at that hour of the morning. Yes, I’m a farmer, but I cheat because my work doesn’t really begin until the sun comes up.
The second segment came and went, and it was time for me to head back into the chilly morning and return home to finish the chores I had put off when leaving that morning. Surprisingly, I was home by 8:30 a.m. and fixed breakfast like I had never even left that day.
If you want a good laugh, you can look up the interview from that day on the farm’s Facebook page, Purple Shamrock Farm, or go to WISH-TV’s website. I was terrified to do it, but now that I’ve had a taste of that form of media, I hope I get the opportunity to try it again someday.
You just never know where the Mutha Clucka will appear next.
Until next time…
Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Send comments to [email protected]town.com.