Thirteen years at MTV News, and finally I get my close up!
Ok, so it was a two-shot, but still.
I knew today was special from the moment I forced myself from my warm sheets: my pre-order of U2’s “No Line On The Horizon” was waiting on iTunes.
I spent the few minutes it took to download the album to bang out a post (“Will U2’s New Album Live Up To Bono’s Promise?”) for MTV’s Newsroom blog. Then I walked into work, relishing the band’s latest effort — their twelfth — along the cold and snowy (and fairly miserable) way.
With barely two listens under my belt, I can tell you this much: I don’t know if “No Line On The Horizon” is an album for the ages, but it hits all the marks: shimmering guitars, deep grooves, anthemic refrains.
So anyway, we recently started doing this thing we call Headlines Of The Day. It’s a no-nonsense, rapid-response, lo-fi news recap often featuring a member of the news team alongside one of our on-air correspondents. Today, someone nominated me (though it wasn’t immediately apparent who).
First, I got an email from MTV News Correspondent Tim Kash (“Do you need makeup before your standup?”). Then my assistant, Nicole, said (giggling), “They want you to make a cameo on Headlines Of The Day!”
I initially blushed at the suggestion; the last thing any teenager wants to watch is a wrinkly, bald, old middle manager talking about U2. But then I thought it might be good for the team to see that, Hey, even the old guy it pitching in. So I said yes.
Five minutes later, with just twelve minutes to spare before a remote production technologies meeting with three SVPs, I walked into the newsroom for my big moment. The teleprompter read, simple, “Ben Ad Lib.” And so I did (after asking my newsroom colleagues to strap on their headphones).
Never have I appreciated Tim’s ease on camera like this morning; ad libbing ain’t easy. My first take ran long: too much detail. I flubbed my second. And, excepting a few stutters, my third was just right. (Or, right enough.)
So, Mom and Dad, take a look. And then you can stop asking, “When are you going to be on-air?” Because the answer, I think, is “Never again.”