The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Local man is an Emmy insider
As viewers tune in to the 65th Emmy Awards on Sunday, a Spotsylvania County man will be watching from the perspective of an insider.
Not only is Dan McKenrick a 42-year veteran of the television industry, he’s an Emmy winner and judge of lighting design for the award ceremony.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., McKenrick got his start in the industry in 1970 when he responded to an ad in the Sunday paper for a job at an independent TV channel in his home city.
Despite his education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison being in photography rather than television, he was hired, and so began his journey to becoming a celebrated name in lighting design.
Over his career, McKenrick has worked with some of the best.
He’s lit up musical artists, from Garth Brooks to Elton John, entertainment programs, including “In Performance at the White House,” and “Kennedy Center Presents,” and news programs, including “CBS Evening News” and “60 Minutes.”
His work has allowed him to travel to numerous countries. During a busy year, McKenrick is on the road 240 days out of 365. In fact, he’ll be heading to China in October to spend seven weeks working in China Central Television’s studios.
But no matter how far he might roam, he’s glad to call Spotsylvania his home. McKenrick and his family settled in Lee’s Hill North 25 years ago when he was working for WETA.
“My wife and I looked [for a home] everywhere within the greater D.C. area,” said McKenrick. “[Spotsylvania] was the last place we looked. We said, ‘oh, this is it!’ And we’ve loved it ever since.”
Having four airports within driving distance has made this area the ideal home base.
It’s from the comfort of this home that McKenrick spent hours reviewing the Emmy nominees for the categories he’s judging this year, including short-format nonfiction programs.
A longtime member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, McKenrick has acted as a judge of his peers in lighting design for 10 years now. Each year, he receives a DVD with the programs he has to evaluate based on the lighting quality and appropriateness to the content of the program.
This year, for the first time, some of the content was sent to the judges digitally so that they could watch it online.
“It can sometimes be extremely challenging,” McKenrick said of choosing the best of the nominees. “This year it wasn’t so hard. Some of the work was really outstanding.”
McKenrick doesn’t know whether other judges agreed with his selections.
So he’ll be watching CBS along with other viewers
Bridget Balch: 540/374-5417