The Hollywood Reporter caught up with John Camacho, a 21-year veteran based in CNN Center Atlanta who serves as a senior engineer for the network, to discuss how things are functioning during the coronavirus pandemic.
Explaining he is working on part of a 4-person team, he said, “We are the maintenance and engineers who keep CNN on air. Some aspects of the equipment cannot be remotely controlled offsite. If a camera fails and you need to bring in another camera or repair that camera before the next show, we are there. If the database or the server itself fails, you have to physically be there to repair that system.”
Camacho is working a drastically different, busier schedule than his normal, he explains to THR. “My normal schedule is Wednesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with 30 minutes for lunch. Now I’m working Thursday through Sunday, doing four twelves.” He added, “But with this pandemic, it’s almost like everyone is on their toes to make sure every piece of equipment is running. I’ll give you an example, CNN has two control rooms but they created another backup control room just in case the second control room is contaminated. So we have to make sure that control room has all the content and all the video bugs that you see on the screen.”
Speaking of management, Camacaho said, “And [CNN has] been very good at making sure that if we’re there, we’re being fed. They are really at it when it comes to making sure the crew gets taken care of.”
A week ago, CNN president Jeff Zucker praised staffers like Camacho, effusively saying they were “the glue that keeps us on the air and all together.”