Democratic National Convention
Inside the Fleet Center
A behind-the-scenes peek at this historic event

These pictures provided by Rick Zach, Chief Engineer at WCVB-TV Channel 5. Click on any picture for full-size version. Click here to return to the main page for this article.

For four days, the Fleet Center presented the most hostile RF interference environment on the planet. Most local broadcasters had other obligations so the DNC enlisted the help of experienced local ham radio operators, many of whom were electrical engineers. Coordination was handled by Louis Libin of Broad-Comm.

Peter Simpson, KA1AXY (left) worked for the DNC RF frequency coordination and interference enforcement team. Three days prior to the start of the DNC, each piece of RF-generating equipment needed to pass RF-purity testing. Peter insured that each piece of RF equipment entering the area possessed an "RF tested-OK" sticker. No sticker, no entry.

Inside the WCVB-TV trailer containing prep facilities for producers, editors, technicians and on-air "talent".

Yes, the WCVB trailer was cosy but not as "intimate" as the Fleet floor position. To the far right was Senior Producer Rosemary Lapin who's complete heart and soul went into this multi-month project.

Editor #1 Ray Smith.

Editor #2 Gretchen Soehner and ENG producer Matt Wilder.

Fleet Center access and security policies changed on a daily basis. Evening Crew Chief Ted Phillips briefed early morning Crew Chief Bob Colford on the intricacies of dealing with security issues at 3:00 AM.

Outside the WCVB trailer which was located next to the ABC facilities. Kevin Yarr (right) was a very welcome late addition to the crew. Note the ubiquitous helicopter overhead.

Ted Phillips aptly pointed out that the ABC-TV commissary tent was conveniently located adjacent to the biohazard decontamination facility.

Sam Donaldson and Ted Koppel chow down together.

WCVB-TV home base in Needham, MA

Studio B.

WCVB-TV control room in Needham with monitors showing all incoming feeds. Directors sat in the front row. Producers sat in the second row.

ABC-TV created a disaster recovery facility in the third row of the control room. If the ABC facilities at the Fleet Center could no longer function, ABC was capable of taking any WCVB feed for national distribution. The plasma screen displayed 12-live feeds which were simultaneously monitored at ABC in New York. Three times while on the air, Peter Jennings thanked WCVB for their help as the "host station". Ironic... ABC greatly helped us too!

Fade to black...

Friday morning, July 30, 2004 Framingham, MA

Picture taken on the then-closed Massachusetts Turnpike, looking east

Back on the road again.

Their next stop was a Wendy's near Albany so that John and Elizabeth Edwards could celebrate their July 30th anniversary as they always do.

Just imagine the drive up window response to "May I take your order please?"

The End

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Posted: January 12 2005
Bob Lamm, SMPTE/New England Newsletter/Web Page Editor