Sunday, August 31, 2014

The President's News Conference at the Century Plaza Hotel (1970)

President's News Conference at the Century Plaza Hotel
The Century Plaza Hotel in Century City
Type of Activity
  Live Press Conference
 Century Plaza Hotel Los Angeles, California
Date of Activity
 July 30 1970
 34.05556°N 118.41694°W

July 30 1970 to a Press Conference in Los Angles with President Nixon 

The president was on one of his working vacations at the Western White House, so the San Clemente CCT was sent to Los Angles to set up communications. We only had to set up the switchboard, commcenter, and USSS CP with the FM radio base stations on the roof of the hotel, because all scheduled activities were within the hotel. The speech site was to be held in the Santa Monica Room inside the hotel and was being set up by WHCA recording people from DC sent to support the president while he was in San Clemente.
The Main Entrance of the Century Plaza Hotel
The President arrived and stepped up to the Podium to begin his speech, all the viewers on TV saw was the Presidents lips move , no audio.  I was standing next to Gen. Redmond the CO of WHCA, and noticed that the color of his face turned white!  

Richard Nixon's Press Conference Remarks
It seemed like it was forever but someone swung a hand mike in the Presidents direction and the President announced. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are having trouble with the audio in the room. I hope that all of you, when you ask your questions, will ask them quite loudly. I understand, however, that our television audience has no problem because a shotgun mike will pick them up. For the benefit of your colleagues, ask your questions a little more loudly.  This press conference is one that is being held for the first time, while I have been President, outside of Washington. We want to welcome all of the members of the California press who are here. We will follow the usual format of the White House press conference, with the first two questions going to the wire services, and then we will try to cover as many others as we can”.

The President at the conclusion of his Press Conference
After about five minutes into the speech the recording guys found a blown fuse in the Hotel’s PA system and restored audio for the network audio feeds.  I don’t remember who the WHCA Trip Officer was, but we were never supposed to use third party equipment when setting up speech sites.  I have had radio failures occur, but that night I was relieved to be the provider of radio communications.

As soon as the Press Conference concluded the President t motored from the Century Plaza Hotel to the Century Plaza Hotel parking lot helipad. The Presidential party flew by helicopter from the Century Plaza helipad,  to the San Clemente helipad. We started to tear down everything pack it up and return to our El Toro shop that evening.