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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A room with a view

Saturday night, I covered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 24th annual induction ceremony for The News-Herald.

Jealous? Well, don’t be. At least not a lot.

Sure, it was cool to say I was there as Metallica, Run-D.M.C. Jeff Beck and others were given what’s perhaps rock’s greatest honor.

Bet when I say I was “there,” you have to understand where there was.

There, for me, was not inside the main auditorium in Cleveland’s Public Hall but instead a makeshift press room – a small theater in the same building. While a small number of writers were seated at a table amidst all the honored invitees and guests, the rest of us press schlubs were relegated to the press room, where we watched the ceremony on four high-def flat-screen monitors.

I’m not too upset that I wasn’t given better access. Surely, the organizers had a finite amount of space they could devote to the media. Truth be told, I was given a pair of balcony tickets late last week, but when I arrived at Public Hall Saturday afternoon, I was told I would not be able to bounce between the pressroom and my seats in the auditorium. With writing the best story I could on deadline – something I am rarely called on to do these days – I chose the press area, where my laptop could be plugged in nearby and the wi-fi signal was strong.

My only real beef was how they ran the press room. They wanted to give us access to the inductees and the artists who inducted them so we could ask hard-hitting questions and get really thoughtful answers.

Question: How does it feel to be inducted into the Rock Hall.

Answer: Great!

So that’s all well and fine. Problem was, they brought these people to us whenever they were ready, regardless of what was happening in the auditorium. And, of course, the sound was cut in the press room so a Q & A could take place. What does that mean? Well, it meant, for example that instead of what guitar great Jimmy Page was saying about his old Yardbirds mate Beck, I was listening to reporters throw pity questions to Spooner Oldham, whom I sure is a great keyboardist but, sorry, wasn’t one of the night’s headliners. I missed everything Page and Beck said to the crowd, all of their jam together and most of the song Beck played afterward.


I was given access to the red carpet, where stars (the guys from Metallica, Joe Perry of Aerosmith), local celebrities (WKYC-TV 3 news anchor Romona Robinson, Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro and Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry) and lots of folks I couldn’t put a name to filed in over the course of an hour and a half by now. Surrounded by professional still and video photographers, I stood there taking poor photos with my iPhone. Check them out here.

It was a special night for Cleveland, to be sure. It just wasn’t all that special for me. It really was … what’s the word? Oh yeah. Work.

You can see why I was a little disappointed.

Anyway, if you missed it in Sunday’s paper, check out my story here.

- Mark Meszoros


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