Inside WRAL

Funny stories from a freezing reporter

Posted January 5, 2010

WRAL morning reporter Stacy Davis says she could care less about looking fashionable. Afterall, she's freezing!

Stacy and her equally-bundled up photographer, Jamie Munden, take some serious steps to stay warm as they bring viewers breaking news and other top stories every half hour from 5 to 9 a.m.

I asked Stacy to tell us about her unique job and how she stays warm:

TV news is not glamorous

This blog should go far in helping dispel the terrible myth that TV is glamorous! That’s because the way I’m dressed right now more closely resembles Ralphie’s little brother in “The Christmas Story” bumbling down the street in his bloated snow suit than a slender, smart-looking Katie Couric in Jimmy Choo boots. Temperatures in the wee morning hours when photographer Jamie and I work tend to be some of the most frigid of the day.

'I'd rather be warm than skinny!'

We don’t dress to look fashionable, we dress to be able to still function at our jobs! Right now, Jamie is wearing boots, long underwear under his jeans AND NO LESS than 5 layers on top: a T-shirt, turtleneck, sweatshirt, hooded sweatshirt and then his lined, winter coat. Similarly, as I stand looking into my closet at midnight (because that’s what time we have to get ready for the morning shift) I close my eyes and conjure the nostalgic memories of my childhood, envisioning those snowy days when school was cancelled and I would dress for a long day of sledding! That translates into AT LEAST 2 pairs of socks, one of which is a special pair designed and marketed for hunters (I don’t hunt). I slip these fat wads of socks into ... not high-heels, but very un-hip, flannel-lined winter boots. I wear Long Johns on both the top and bottom, topped with a long-sleeve shirt, usually my WRAL fleece jacket on top of that, and then my regular coat. If the camera adds 10 lbs, the fleece adds 10 more, but I’d rather be warm than skinny!

Hats: Greta Garbo or jewel thief?

I always carry two pairs of gloves in my bag – a thin, leather pair for holding the microphone on-air (which I’m convinced actually make my fingers colder), and a warmer Thinsulate pair for wearing outside when we’re shooting or gathering information for a story. Now as for hats, I’ve experimented with some really bad ones, everything from a fedora that made me look like an awful Greta Garbo rip-off to a sleek, black skullcap which had me looking more like a jewel thief than a reporter. These days, I’ve resolved to wearing a black set of slim earmuffs that wrap around the back of my head and are barely noticeable under my hair.

Jumping in and out of the live truck

Of course, once all of these clothes are successfully cinched onto our bodies, Jamie and I spend the rest of the morning doing a seemingly endless succession of dressing and undressing out of them. You see, our morning consists of a series of live stories every half hour for 4 hours straight, so we are continually jumping in and out of the truck. Wearing all those layers helps us from burning up inside the truck and keeps us warm when we’re outside doing a live broadcast. Bottom line, we want to be warm, but more importantly, I don’t want what I’m wearing to take away from what I’m saying or reporting. Sure a hot pink polka dot scarf and matching muff might be trend-setting and cozy, but I doubt viewers will be able to get past the sight of that on TV and still be able to listen to the information we’re trying to share.

A unique way of melting ice

We should also note, the cold not only forces Jamie and me to get creative with clothes, but creative with equipment. In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out the photo of Jamie high atop our live truck in Roxboro, trying to melt the frozen ice that has accumulated on the truck’s mast. This rising tower allows us to microwave our signal back to the station, but it can’t rise if it’s frozen. Thanks to his experience acquired while working in chilly Michigan, he knew to grab the light that he usually uses to brighten me in our dark morning live reports, and instead aimed its beams at the icicles forming on our mast. Maybe we'll add a welders torch to our van tool kit until this cold snap disappears!

WRAL photographer Jamie Munden tries to melt ice off a live truck with a light.

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Thanks to Stacy for sharing her stories with us!

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Inside WRAL takes you behind the scenes of the news business and the stories we cover.