Infinity Is A Great Place To Start

bwnews.jpgThirteen 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.

And yes, after just two listens, I’d say it makes good on Bono’s promise to me at the premiere of “U23D” at last year’s Sundance; it bridges the intersection of past and future.

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.”

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