WCBS Radio Reporter Joe Connolly Telecommutes from Essex

Joe ConnollyMorning listeners of WCBS-AM would never know that the business reports were really being aired from a satellitestudio in Essex, Conn. Joe Connolly, veteran Wall Street reporter began telecommuting for the all-news radio station six years ago. "I was working part-time as a news anchor for CBS and they wanted me to start covering business news everyday," said Connolly. "I didn't want to move to Manhattan, so I said I'd take the job if I could do it from Connecticut. To my surprise they said fine, because of new technology we don't care where you are."

Connolly's office is just a few miles from his home. Connolly said the station could have set him up in his house but he preferred having a routine of going to an office in a nearby business complex. Technical engineers from Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal then outfitted Connolly's satellite studio with the equipment needed to receive news feeds, and hook-ups to broadcast back to New York. "I have as much data coming into this office as a brokerage firm would have," Connolly said, "Associated Press, Reuters, Dow Jones, and all sorts of news wires and stock quote services."

Connolly is able to broadcast remotely through ISDN lines connecting him with the New York location. "I'm coming off the same radio tower CBS is," Connolly says. "My transmission goes from Essex into West 57th Street and then it goes up the same tower (where) everything else comes out."

A typical day for Connolly begins with him arriving into the studio at 5 a.m. and reading the morning's Wall Street Journal and New York Times. "My first morning report is at 5:55, my last one is 10:30." Somewhere in between that time Connolly will tape his small business feature story, which will air later in the day. "Then I'll come into the office a couple of times during the day, and then I'll come back again from 5:30 to 7:30 in the evening and prepare the next morning's news."

Since September 11th, CBS moved their downtown offices that were located in the World Trade Center area to a campus location in Princeton, New Jersey. One of their reporters who commuted from Westport to those offices now commutes to Essex instead. "I now have a colleague who works in the office with me," Connolly said. "She does reports for CBS like I do, but she does them for different cities around the country."

Connolly said that CBS is going to keep the business news division in Princeton when they move their operations back downtown at some point. "Until 9-11, I would go into Manhattan for 2 days every two weeks. I really miss not going in as often as I used to," Connolly said. "I really looked forward to going in because it helped me keep my edge."