If there’s one New Year’s wish that Stephanie Edwards has for the Rose Parade broadcast hosts who will take over for her and Bob Eubanks in 2017, it’s more time: more time to present what’s under the floats as well as what’s on top, more time to show the bands, more time for viewers to see these marvelous creations. After more than 30 years sitting together in the KTLA booth high above Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, the pair is turning the show over to Leeza Gibbons and Mark Steines for the 128th Rose Parade.
Tournament of Roses Examiner got an unexpected opportunity to talk with Edwards one-on-one at Monday’s tribute to designer Raul R. Rodriguez. With her usual grace and aplomb, she shared her hopes for future coverage of the parade and thoughts on the transition of the broadcast when the two retire after the 2016 parade.
“Bob and I both came together at the same time in this decision at the end of January,” she said. “Bob called to say, ‘It’s time to hang it up.’” She added that for viewers, “I think the transition will be seamless.”
Edwards noted something that people involved with creating floats or watching them under construction know, but most viewers do not, and that’s what holds up all those flowers and seeds. She would like the broadcasters to have the time to share more about the development of the carriage—the chassis, welding, sculpting, and preparation—that takes months of work before the first dry materials go on.
“I would like the coverage to be three hours,” she said. “I don’t say it’s easy to do.” She wants to tell viewers what they don’t already know. “They all know the clown nose is red carnations, but they don’t know about the driver, the chassis, the engine…. This may be the first inkling they have.”
As well as the rapport and repartee between Edwards and Eubanks, one of the strengths of the KTLA Rose Parade broadcasts has been the knowledge each has beyond the floats. They get binders filled with facts about the flowering of the floats and the riders and sponsors, but it is the personal knowledge and experience that Edwards has with bands and Eubanks with horses that add color to their commentary.
Playing on the theme “Find Your Adventure,” she said that it’s an adventure for every person in every band just to get to Pasadena for the parade. “Tears and tenacity,” she observed, noting that each unit must raise its own funds to make the trip and pay for accommodations.
“That’s why the bands are chosen two years in advance. Directors from the 2017 bands will be here to watch the 2016 parade.” She tries to point out the unique aspects of each unit, but her biggest frustration is that she wants to be quiet and listen. “But if I’m quiet, the parents complain!” There’s always more information about each group than there is time to share it, but, she says, “I must give credit. The producers do try to give them love.”
In fact, KTLA has a special bandcam on Orange Grove which focuses on the units exclusively. The videos are posted online after the parade.There is no doubt that Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards will be missed by Rose Parade fans, not only for their words, but for their passion for the Rose Parade and their graciousness to the people who admire them.
The theme of the 127th Rose Parade and 102nd Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2016 is “Find Your Adventure.” If you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade or email email@example.com.