Before a TV news program is broadcast, a producer creates segments and a director decides how those segments are shown. There’s also a technical director, who makes sure the video and audio elements reach the airwaves.
“It’s like driving a car. The director is your navigation system, telling you where to go and what the path is. A technical director is driving the car,” said Leisel Kober, an NBC technical director. “Wherever you turn is where the show is going.”
Kober talked with NBCU Academy about her work and how she decided on her career. Watch the video above or read her remarks below.
What do you do during a TV program?
Kober: I’m making sure it’s a clean show, cutting between cameras and the shots that we need — reaction shots or shots in the field. Whatever comes from my finger is going out to the public. Being a tech director is all about confidence. You have to be a leader, making sure everyone in that control room knows the show is in good hands.
You can kind of get lost in the stress and chaos of it all, but slow down. The one time you mess up or make a little mistake, it’s not the be-all and end-all. We’ll put on another show tomorrow. You’re in control, you’re good at your job, you’re there for a reason.
What was your career path to being a technical director?
Kober: I always wanted to go into television to be a broadcast journalist, a reporter. I went to Kent State University in Ohio. They had a great television program. I began to do technical activities. Sitting in the control room and watching directors and technical directors, I thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t even know careers like this existed.’
I switched to digital media production, focusing more on behind the scenes and technical directing. I got an internship at NY1 in New York, started out in master control [monitoring the broadcast], then audio and eventually was the technical director there. Then NBC reached out to me, and I started technical directing for MSNBC and eventually moved on to other shows like ‘TODAY’ Show and Seth Meyers.
Women in technical roles across television is definitely growing. It needs to continue to grow. If you are in high school, look for a school that has a good campus TV station. Without my campus TV station, I wouldn’t be where I am today.