I'm a DC-based A1 for a lot of talking head events so I couldn't help but over analyze last night's technical difficulties:
Structurally I'm confident the NBC truck was outside with ISO mic feeds, and from the sound of it the problem was isolated to the house. House mixers have been an issue for numerous debates in the 2015 cycle frequently resulting in subtle feedback. This was a missed cue to drop the previous moderators mics in the house, but I have been running through scenarios in my head of why it was so difficult to do:
The 3 previous moderators had moved to a spot deeper in the house to throw to Chuck and Rachel up front, this could have achieved by passing them into another group that feeds different matrices, preventing feedback from them in the house... Perhaps it was mistakenly a pre-fader mix they put them in?
A+ for Chuck Todd having the composure to assess the situation and throw to a commercial, that was the best possible outcome at the time.
Besides that there were numerous up cuts from the NBC truck mixer while we heard debate participants' reverb through the house. I am assuming the venue was using automix on the podiums or lavs, but in my mind there is no excuse for an up cut when the director clearly knows where the question is going - the camera had the shot. At the same time there was lots of off- camera sound, presumably through the broadcast mix, I hear coughing, something like velcro or a zipper, IFB talk back...
Will be interested to see how they rebound from this tonight.