Live on Thirteen: A Backstage View

December 3rd, 2008

Inside Thirteen Blogger: Eva Glaser, Education Department

When membership drive time rolls around every few months, those of us who are directly involved experience a range of emotions. There’s the sense of impending long days and nights, the anxiety of making sure everything goes smoothly, but there’s also the excitement which I have come to learn is synonymous with live television.

the Billys and Rafael

Last night was a particular treat. The three young “Billys” who rotate in the starring role of Broadway’s Billy Elliot: The Musical were here, as well as the very talented jazz musician Chris Botti and his band. I can vouch for all three of the young, exceptionally talented Billys being just as cute (or cuter!) in the flesh as they appeared on the TV screen. I wanted to be 12 again (where were the gifted, mature, young male ballet dancers when I was in the 6th grade?). It’s easy to forget young Broadway stars are still just regular kids, but as they walked through the halls and into the green room, it was clear by their playful jabs and tousling of each others’ hair, that they are indeed just that. Seeing them in person, made it even more surreal as I watched, with everyone else, all three speak eloquently about their experience as emerging Broadway stars during their on-air interviews with Rafael Pi Roman.

There is another aspect that the viewers at home don’t get to see. And for me, it’s the most inspiring. My primary job during membership drives is working as part of the team that takes care of the volunteers who answer the phones. Last night, it was a faithful and fun group, volunteers from The New York Stock Exchange, one of our corporate donors. They are a dedicated crew (most have gone through more membership drives than I have) who come after their long days at work to put in a little time for Thirteen. They love it. This lively group gets just as excited about receiving that $1000 pledge as we do, and genuinely enjoys being in the studio in close proximity with the talent. The rush of being near stars in a live studio doesn’t seem to lose its appeal.

But for me, witnessing the generosity and commitment of these volunteers who believe in our station and programming enough to give up an evening (and surely a few hours of sleep!), is inspiring. Thirteen certainly brings in big stars and incredible talent, but it also brings in our community and above all, that’s what makes me feel privileged to come to work each day… just remind me tonight at midnight when I’m leaving the office!

stalwart NYSE phone volunteers