… and … The Station Is … Dark.
So here is how it went.
Holly shows up at the station to do her shift.
It was exceeeeedingly hot. And humid. And miserable. And … did I mention how hot it was? So I was feeling less than my usual chipper self when I showed up at the station for my evening shift.
My fondest wish was to get in … do the shift … get out … and treat myself to a giant cone on the way home.
Except it was so hot and humid and stuffy that I had already gotten a Root Beer Float … known as a Black Cow … on the way up to the station. But this was definitely a double-treat kind of day.
Little did I know.
Holly walks in to a bit of chaos as there are still a few people there.
Turns out there was to be a one to two-hour orientation for six possible new volunteers. Well, that would be nice. I remember when …
The station manager runs by … clearly in distress … looking for another chair for the front studio.
Allow me to describe the setup of the radio station. The whole of the first floor of the building, except for an adult student office, is filled with the NPR Radio and PBS TV studios and offices. Three TV studios and one Radio studio are full plate-glass windows onto the large atrium in the center of the building.
So picture the large plate-glass window into the Radio Studio … that’s where the orientation was to be. It is set up to do seated interviews and whatnot.
Then picture the back of that studio with another full plate-glass window into the second Radio Studio. That’s where I stand to do my thing.
So on a normal day you can stand out in the atrium, look through Studio One (dark) right into Studio Two (light … with me facing out) and see my smiling, headphone wearing self speaking into the microphone while simultaneously sliding sliders and pushing buttons and whatnot.
I tell myself nobody is really listening out there anyway.
Holly walks into the front Studio to look out into the atrium.
Out in the atrium are six bewildered looking people staring back in at the Studio. Two of them smile and wave. I wave back.
The man who does the shift before me points out various weather alerts for the seriously bad weather which is bearing down on us and needs to be announced at every chance possible.
Oh, and he is doing the orientation. With the frazzled station manager watching and recording it.
This ought to be good.
Holly starts her shift.
I started with my first break at six minutes after and informed the listening world that bad weather was on its way. Really bad weather. I gave this news as the small group was introduced to the head-head honcho in the lobby / atrium.
The group of six newbies were ushered into the office area as I opened the door to my studio. “And this is Holly in there” she continued. Somehow I felt a little like a zoo display or something.
I waved. They waved back.
Nobody threw peanuts.
Holly notices the Weather Alarm is not sounding.
The weather alarm, as I have mentioned before, is pretty obnoxious. But they are pretty adamant about it being on at all times to alert people instantly to any weather related emergencies.
We had had six since I checked in. With no alarms.
The man about to do his part in the orientation flipped a few switches, clicked a few clicks … and the alarm started going off … and off … and off.
So glad I said something.
Holly is challenged as she sets up the next break.
In the studio there are two screens. One has the mega list of things you can play on-air … and a place to drag those things in order to be played. The other is the log. The log has the evening broken into 15 second sections. And has what to say or do in each.
It’s important. And it displays in both studios.
I remembered it from when they did our orientation, and then again last night they said something like “I don’t want to mess up Holly’s screen by touching anything here” … to which I replied “Mess away, I have another two and a half minutes before the next break.”
But he didn’t.
Then in the midst of the of the next time between breaks … he was sitting on the counter where the mouse to the log was sitting … wildly gesturing with his hands making some point or another … and inadvertently pushed the log into next Tuesday.
After a few seconds the scrolling stopped and I went back to figuring out where to insert the latest Weather Alert.
And then …
And then all the power in the building went out. Black. Totally.
Except for the two displays in front of me, one spotlight above me pointing partly into the front studio, and the buttons on the panel in front of me.
But the station was still on-air.
So I continued to do what needed to be done. And said what needed to be said.
While the folks in the studio in front of me had their nosed pressed up against the window … and the man running it all was behind them with his “I don’t know what’s happening” shrug firmly in place.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse …
The lights came on and went out several times.
Then after the 7:30 international news, there was nothing … as in over 15-20 seconds of nothing. Lights on, but nobody was home.
I was checking the SD02 to see if there was some other feed (there was) just in case The World didn’t come back soon … and just as I was about to make the switch, it popped back on mid-sentence.
The six who were there for the orientation left … a bit worse for wear. Only one was smiling.
I waved. He waved back.
And then it was over.
I asked a friend who does airchecks (recordings of the show) what it sounded like. He sent me an mp3 of it all.
Funny. You can hardly tell what was really going on. Other than the lack of a feed from The World for a while.
After the whole shift was over I came outside to a nice, non-humid, not-stifling-hot, nicely breezy kind of evening.
Everything is wet, but the weather is not weathery. The fronts have passed. And all is calm. The ice cream was great.
Good thing I like all this radio stuff.