Charlie Weierke’s Midday Show! brings the news to Farmington students in a talk show formatCharlie Weierke might not have the following that late night talk show hosts Conan O’Brein or Jay Leno do, but around Farmington High School, he’s got a pretty good fan base all the same. Host of The Midday Show! with Charlie Weierke, the senior has all the makings of a good talk show host.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Charlie Weierke might not have the following that late night talk show hosts Conan O’Brein or Jay Leno do, but around Farmington High School, he’s got a pretty good fan base all the same.
Host of The Midday Show! with Charlie Weierke, the senior has all the makings of a good talk show host. He’s got his own theme song, courtesy of the FHS jazz band. He’s got a desk and a big, cushy couch for guests. He’s got a sidekick and he’s even got a cheesy plaid suitcoat.
Actually, that last part might be unique to Weierke.
All the same, every Friday during the third trimester, Weierke winds up smiling into a camera with a pile of monologue cards in his hands. And for 15 to 20 minutes, he’s got the undivided attention of the FHS student body.
The Midday Show! is a new project for the FHS video production department. Earlier in the year, the Video 2 students produced The Tiger News every Friday, but teacher Mark Toutge didn’t have enough students sign up for Video 2 during the third trimester. Rather than having dead air, Tougte came up with an idea to continue giving students news, but in a late-night television format.
Choosing Weierke as the host was easy. Weierke had been in all of Toutge’s video production classes. He was a co-anchor on The Tiger News. He wants to pursue a career in mass communications. Plus, his personality is just right for the job.
“This show was just the culmination of everything he’s done for the three years I have had him in class,” Toutge said. “He’s got the drive and the motivation and the passion to do it. It’s not every high school kid who gets the chance to do this. I was taking a chance in doing this, and I know he’s not going to do anything stupid on the air.”
Talk show host
Weierke is having a blast as a talk show host. It’s probably the easiest grade he’ll ever earn, too.
Technically, The Midday Show! is an independent study class for Weierke. He has to do research. He writes. He’s the show’s producer, too, so he does a fair amount of editing.
He start his weeks working on his monologue, which usually runs about eight minutes. Weierke scans headlines in the Independent and the District 192 website for local content. He goes into Google and Yahoo! to find more unusual, national news. Then he takes all the little nuggets of information he’s found and puts them together. Some topics are fairly straightforward, but he takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to some topics, too.
“I kind of feed off of cheesy–funny, because that seems to appeal more to everybody,” he said. “The toughest part with that is finding jokes that are both funny and appropriate.”
His sidekick, Cody Madison, also has a dry sense of humor, which gives the monologue an extra kick. At times, Weierke admits, he and Madison get a little off track on camera -– like the day they went off on a tangent about the children’s program, Blue’s Clues.
The monologue is followed by a couple of student-produced commercials. Then Weierke moves into the guest interview part of his show. Sometimes, he has his guests come to the set. Other times, he goes to them.
When he does the off-site interviews — like when he interviewed eighth grade author Ben Heckman at Dodge Middle School or when he sat down with meteorologist Belinda Jensen at the Kare 11 studio — video production teacher Randy Matthes films the interviews, then he and Weierke go back and do the editing later. During The Midday Show!, Weierke calls up the interview clips and inserts them into the show.
Either pre-recorded or live on set, Weierke does two to three interviews during his show. Interviews are usually with other students — in one April production, he hosted cast members from The Fiddler on the Roof and Tiger Leadership Club students who talked about the FHS Talent Show -– but on occasion, he’ll bring in someone from outside the school, too. Superintendent Jay Haugen will be a special guest on Weierke’s June 1 show.
A second collection of student-produced commercials is thrown in before the close of the show, which usually includes a clip of some kind of event or performance happening around FHS.
The Midday Show! is shown live on Fridays at FHS, but then Matthes and Weierke do some editing so it can be put up on YouTube. Matthes created a tag line, 192videomagic, to help direct fans to FHS productions on YouTube.
As a producer, Weierke also watches his shows to see what he can do better next time. The problem with that, though, is that sometimes he gets to be a bit critical of himself. On the other hand, he’s also seeing things he likes.
“It’s like watching game film and studying what happened,” he said. “I have a lot of fun with it.”
He’ll do a practice run before each one of the shows. He makes sure the commercials are ready to go and that the prerecorded interviews are set to play when he cues them. He’ll also do a practice monologue.
The whole project is a lot more work than most students see during his 15- to 20 minute shows every Friday.
Even with all that work, Weierke is still interested in pursuing his career in broadcast television. His ideal job would be to be on ESPN.
“But as long as I’m doing something along this line, I’ll be happy,” Weierke said.
Looking at the success of The Midday Show! with Charlie Weierke, Toutge knows he struck gold this spring. He has even learned some new things through this venture.
“We’ve never done a show like this before. You have news, you have stories. You bring in guests and come up with questions. It was very challenging to do this new way of television that we’ve never done at the high school before,” Tougte said.
If The Midday Show! continues next year, Tougte will have to find a replacement for Weierke. That shouldn’t be a problem, because juniors are lining up to fill the spot.