Technical difficulties


Murphy's Law of Hosting.

I hosted the english half-hour of the afternoon show today.

My CBC debut of hosting. The job I have said I want to end up doing... assuming I have some degree of control over content and chasing stories I want to do.

How did it go?

The words "crash and burn" come to mind.

Ok, maybe that's a bit harsh. I did a pretty good job, I can acknowledge that. On the actual HOSTING bit? I can say I felt comfortable.

On the TECHNICAL BIT? Not so much.

The unique thing about our afternoon show out of Rankin Inlet is that there's no tech working the show with you. The host is in charge of pushing all the buttons, lining up the show on the computer and introducing it all. All while sounding relatively calm.

Me? Well, let's just say I had no clue what buttons I was supposed to push until 3 minutes before my intro. Seriously. (The whole affair was pretty spur-of-the-moment, but this one element made it particularly tricky).

I still didn't exactly understand what I was doing until right before my first item (after I played a song I loooove - - total control over song choice = best part of hosting). So the first... um... 15 minutes went pretty smooth. And then for some reason a sting (read: radio-speak for instrumental music used in-between items/stories/weather etc.) played when the item was supposed to. But I realized what happened right away, and reflex-pushed the button to stop it, then there was DEAD AIR.

Even when I was a wee child watching Full House I knew that DEAD AIR = BAD NEWS. It might as well be the cardinal sin of radio.

So DEAD AIR for probably 15 seconds? (I'm not really sure, it was long enough for me to start freaking out and clicking rapidly on the item I WANTED to play...)

I finally fixed it, and pressed the right button as 2 of my colleagues rushed into the studio, scared looks on their faces. Mine mirrored theirs.

During the next item (man it sounds like we have the longest show going... but we don't... it's only 30 minutes...but it felt like the shortest lifetime ever... if that makes any sense), our local producer said I had a wonderful voice for hosting, and we talked about how I really wanted to get back to my current affairs roots etc. It was great. She doesn't hand out praise very liberally, so it meant a lot to me.

Somehow we ended up losing about 2 minutes (doesn't sound like much, but makes all the difference in the world)... and I forgot to press the button that activates the theme (you are supposed to press it at 16:57:22) ... so co-worker came back in all a flutter asking if I remembered to start the theme (it runs UNDER the items at zero volume until the host is done saying the good-byes) and of course I didn't and then she worked some magic... and fixed it. The last item ended, we had 45 seconds to spare...

I started the extro... the signoff....


How. Embarassing.

Again for you non-radio folks... the way the shows work is on every hour (and sometimes half-hour) there is a "wall" - it means your program is hijacked by regional or national HQ, for some sort of news. You cannot void the wall. You try to A-void the wall (ha-ha).

I did not manage to do that.

I ran head-first into it.

So between dead air, and running into the wall... and misplacing my pronouncer for one of the organizations two of the six times I had to say their name...

It wasn't exactly my finest moment in radio history.

I swear, if it wasn't for having to tech myself, I would have done much better. My reading was almost spot-on... and I enjoyed myself.

I guess it's just one of those things people will dig out of the archives to play at my humiliation when I'm rich and famous :P


Megan May 26, 2008 at 8:07 PM  

It sounds like EVERYONE's first day hosting. :)

Those A/O jobs are really hard. Reading the script's easy; teching yourself while you read and try to keep everything timed just right is the hard part.

Next time, you'll be better.

Cowvet2010 May 26, 2008 at 8:46 PM  

Something tells me you were FABULOUS and are just being a Jackie about it!! hahaha ;)

Jackie S May 27, 2008 at 10:52 AM  

Megan: Friggin eh... A/O is rough! But I re-did the show this morning... and with the exception of a couple hiccups (forgot to turn off the mic during a sting and sniffled and cleared my throat "on the air" hahaha) it went quite smoothly.

It helps when you know what the buttons mean.

Cowvet: Haha, while maybe the first 15 minutes were "fab"... the rest really was a train wreck. And it sounds like you know me... who might you be?? :D

Mom May 27, 2008 at 5:30 PM  

My guess is that COWVET2010 is Catherine Collodey who plans to graduate as a cow veteranarian in 2010


Cowvet2010 May 27, 2008 at 6:44 PM  

HAHA! You should have bet five dollars on that one, Faye! It is me, aka Catherine!