... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer
Engineering Follies - Brain Dead DJs
(Got a story - please share it with us!)
No matter how hard the engineer works to make things clear and easy to operate, somehow communicating with the DJs can end up with them getting it all wrong. How wrong? Let us see:
Some people got high school summer jobs
in the local McDonalds. My high school job was on the air, spinning
records at the local AM daytimer during the long summer days.
Contributed by Lou Schneider
Twice a year, stations have to deal with sun outages on their satellite systems. This is caused by the receiving satellite dish, the satellite in question and the sun being in perfect alignment for a (reasonably) short period of time.
The satellite providers have developed web applications that allow a station to determine the beginning and ending of the sun outage. Satellite providers usually send out, in advance of the event, a reminder to users so that alternate arrangements can be made.
After getting the annual message from our satellite provider, I sent it on to the programming department. An hour or so later I was caught in the hall by the PD of a station that would be affected by the sun outage. He asked why this was happening at this date/time.
I explained to the PD what caused this
event and that there was nothing we could do about it.
Contributed by Michael Golchert
I once worked for a TV group and got called by our transmitter tech in Houston that we were off-the-air there.
I asked him to read the meters on the transmitter and he said "okay - as soon as I can could find a flashlight."
I then asked him why he needed a flashlight and he told me "all the lights were off because of the power failure."
This has to be a true story - you could not make this up!
Contributed by Dana Puopolo
A long time ago at a station cluster, far, far, away I received a call, from the operations manager/morning "personality" around 7:30 AM, informing me that one of the FM's was off the air.
Right before I arrived at the very remote site I saw the power poles laying on the ground for about half a mile due to a storm that had gone through earlier that morning.
With no genset on site, I went back to the studios, called the power company and reported the outage. They told me it had been reported right before 5AM and they were working that way. They expected to have power back that afternoon.
With nothing else that could be done, I went on with my day. For some reason I decided to check the logs.
Sure enough, I had normal readings for that transmitter at 6A and 8A that morning, log signed by ... wait for it ... The Operations Manager / Morning "Personality"!
Contributed by Rod Zeigler
We had a morning man (he was about 80 at the time) on the oldies station I where I worked who was a legend in the market for almost 40 years, and was at the time one of the highest rated morning shows in town.
The transmitter went off the air one morning. The first thing out of his mouth is of course "what happened."
The board op explained to him that they were off the air and the engineers had been called about it via the remote control system. Danny grilled the board op asking why he had not put a CD in - and to do something.
A couple of minutes later, he proceeded
to get on the microphone and announce in his normal 1960s
broadcast voice, "Friends, we are having some technical problems. We
have called the engineers and they are working on it. Please stay with
us and we will have things fixed soon!"
Contributed by Patrick Roberts
A DJ at one station thought he was the
greatest but really
I called the station and our production
director answered instead of the DJ. He verified that the tower lights
were indeed out and the transmitter log indicated that they had been
checked and were on at a time after my friend called. I called my PD, we
He didn't get the job.
I think he became an insurance
When I first started in this business, Jim Wagner @ WPFB told me
trust DJs' logging.
One very snowy morning when I was CE up in Massachusetts, I turned on
the radio around 9:30AM, and while there was a signal, it was
"stuttering." I called the DJ and asked if anything unusual was going
I've turned in a number of logs to the CE with
note asking "when did he print the pre-filled logs with the AM readings
already filled in?"
It was a typical small market station
in 1976, and I had just left full time employment there to work at a
nearby TV station. I remained with the radio station as their contract
engineer so it was not a big surprise when I got a call from the evening
announcer. "I think we might be off the air... but I'm not sure."
Contributed by John Collinson
Rest assured: there will be more!
(and another invitation to share your stories. Just click on "Contact" below.)