Being a television news anchor is a demanding job. When she’s not on the air twice a day, CTV Saskatoon’s Chantel Huber rolls up her sleeves and gets right in the trenches with her coworkers – culling stories from the newswire, the internet, CTV affiliates and the previous night’s newscast and rewriting the content into her own style of broadcast copy. She edits and finds factoids and warm, fuzzy features to offset the regular days news. Throughout the course of the afternoon, she is among the throng of CTV news staff sorting out story facts and other developing stories they’ll need full packages of for the news.
Battlefords and area residents have been tuning in to CTV Saskatoon (CFQC) for decades. It is the TV station that covers our stories more than any other. Huber, the petite and pretty green-eyed blonde we have all come to know, was more than willing to give us a peak into her daily life. As it was jokingly described to us, she is the rose who sits between three thorns: Co-anchor Rob MacDonald, Sportscaster, Kevin Waugh and Weatherman, Jeff Rogstad – all legends and long-time fixtures on CTV Saskatoon.
“We have a lot of fun, on and off the air,” said Huber. “We still joke about my first live newscast here, when Kevin referred to me as ‘Charlene’ not once, not twice, but three times within 30 minutes. They still think it’s funny to call me that from time to time.”
Huber, originally a Regina girl, joined MacDonald, Waugh, and Rogstad on February 5th, 2007 after radio and television broadcast stints in Yorkton, Regina, and Edmonton. She’s spent time reporting in the field over the course of her career, but has advanced to anchoring the noon and 6 o’clock supper news. She’s passionate about health related stories, and has won various awards for features she’s crafted. She’s passionate about personal health too, counting on exercise every morning to give her the adrenaline she needs to get her mentally prepared for the day ahead.
“If you’re having a bad day, or you are not feeling well, you can’t show it and you have to shake it off,” said Huber. “I signed up knowing I would become a public figure, and I am expected to bring our viewers the news they need to know in the most professional way possible. Exercise is a great way to recharge every day whether you are feeling great or not so great.”
Huber’s been in the broadcasting industry for 15 years, starting her career when the internet was, for the most part, in its infancy and back when people depended on broadcast as the quickest way to get the daily news. Now, with a wide-open-news-filled internet to compete with, she consistently sends out tweets leading up to and during the news. As Huber and co-anchor, Rob MacDonald, discussed story order and who will read what script at 6:00, Huber queried, “How are we doing? Do I have time to tweet? I’m going to tweet.” It’s a paradigm shift that isn’t going away, and Huber and her coworkers have welcomed and worked into their daily routine.
BBM Canada’s Fall 2013 Ratings Report named CTV Saskatoon’s News at 6:00 as that city’s most watched newscast. The two hours leading up to that cast are the busiest hours of day for Huber and MacDonald, who on this particular day were in the midst of writing scripts and discussing changing details regarding their top story: the flu shot and recent flu deaths in Saskatchewan. Huber needed to sort out as much as she could for the bumpers (short clips previewing what’s coming up on the supper news). In between meeting with their coworkers to discuss the upcoming newscast, Huber and MacDonald exited in and out of the newsroom to record the bumpers, and apply makeup.
“We’d look like ghosts on TV without makeup,” said MacDonald. “We all wear it!”
They transfer their scripts to the studio teleprompter, an eye-level screen in front of the camera Huber and MacDonald scroll through and read at their own pace during the newscast.
“The papers viewers see us shuffling around are the backup scripts in case something goes wrong with the teleprompter,” explained Huber.
It is surreal to observe the news live in the large studio, which houses numerous monitors, bright lights, large TV cameras, an interview set, the CTV Morning Live set and the news set. During commercials, the anchors and technical staff chat, joke, and sometimes make changes to video and scripts to ensure a timed out and flawless cast, although Huber said things don’t always go exactly as planned.
“I’ve been caught drinking water when I wasn’t aware the camera was switching over to me. Things happen, but most of the time we’re able to compose ourselves in time.”
Huber loves her job and can’t imagine doing anything else as a career. She does her research, can creatively write anything on the drop of a dime, knows the ins and outs of whatever she’s explaining to viewers, and tries her best to keep “the boys” in line.
“I have to be quick on my toes, especially when Jeff Rogstad is around. You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth!”
It’s the human aspect that would be lost without local TV news. Anchors like Huber present the whole package of news in person, with professionalism and charm.