Thursday, May 28, 2009

Live Radio

My career in Radio started at a tiny college station in Houston, then situated in the basement of the Student Union building at Rice University. (The station was tiny, not the school!) 

I was a wet-behind-the-ears Radio wanna-be, filling in during the summer on KTRU-FM. I would listen to a network Radio news feed, re-write the stories in my own style, and "read the news" once an hour between creative sets of some pretty avant garde music, even by my tastes. But it was all live-Radio.

I later worked for a station in Houston where I ran their music automation system, and brother was it primitive, and would stop the play back sequence to break in and read the news live.  We would record voice tracks to a tape cartridge, which would be triggered to play between the music sets. Because the tape cartridge was a
 continuous-loop, you had to tape the announce-tracks "live to tape..." if you made a mistake, you had to start all over again. That was actually harder work than just hanging around to crack the mic open to say a few lines a couple of times each hour. It was the direction Radio was heading, however.

Years later, I would voice track an entire Sunday morning jazz show so I could be in church with my family. It was an oddly satisfying experience to drive to services, listening to myself prattle on about some hot, new Jazz artist.

The shows that I produce these days are 100% live. 
They air, warts and all, as they occur.

This morning, just before a commercial set ended, the wireless computer mouse decided to give up the ghost, and left my studio computer screen frozen on a website, unable to reach a piece of commercial copy I needed to

The good news is there are two wireless mice in the studio.
The bad news is the other one was just out of my reach.

So I did what you do in live Radio...explained why and what I was doing, as I stretched away from the microphone to reach for the other mouse...remove its batteries...and replace the
 expended ones in the mouse for my monitor. Live as it happened on the air.

I may have made a few people giggle at the interruption.
I tried to not let the problem get the better of me.
After all, the most entertaining snippets of airtime frequently occur when extraordinary people to ordinary things...or ordinary people perform extraordinary feats.
Not that this was either of those.
It just happened.
Live, on the air.

See you in the morning on the Radio!

1 comment:

Jack said...

Now cousin, you brought back memories of the late nights I would come up to KODA as you wound up your night shift. I do remember the night that I was there when you were in the 'box' doing the news and we were outside trying to rattle your brain! You never missed a beat. Then after all that fun, we would do our part to create the next gas crisis and run around the loop with our CBs. What fun that was!

Texas Snowbird is 10-9 and out a here!