Columns 2000

From me to you, Earl, dead air space

(Earl Finkler, Bob Thomas and I are the announcing team for KBRW Radio’s Wednesday night softball game program.  Earl is out of town on vacation. I sent him this note to catch him up on things.)

Dear Earl,

We spoke often of you at the broadcast tonight.  Bob ended up doing it last week by himself since I was out of town too.  He said there was a lot of dead air.  Apparently no one was willing to try and fill our shoes so, as we have so often suspected in the past, our reputation as a broadcast team is either too good or too bad for anyone to try and follow our act. You can well imagine how jealous I was to hear about Bob setting records for dead air time on the radio.  Saturday Morning Discount Radio has jealously held that record for over 12 years now. It was hard for me to let go.

We did our best to make up for last week’s quiet time. Bob took the opportunity to catch me up on the latest in the city’s attempt to get their five year old scoreboard working.  As you recall, they finally managed to unfreeze the wires in the ground so that they could complete the connection to the field house/broadcast booth/equipment storage shed.

The board has all it light bulbs now. Apparently the city budget for light bulbs came in along with some of the chalk budget. We had lines on the field that had only been used once before and were actually somewhat visible. I was excited.  I could almost call the foul balls down the right field line with some accuracy; unless, of course, they got much past first base which is where the line ended.

The scoreboard control board now has an official Xeroxed paper taped across the top indicating what bump works what command. Unfortunately, after one brief moment of glory when they actually worked correctly during the test run, the lights decided they liked it better in the 70s.  So they started to strobe.  Our safety conscious city maintenance crew decided there might be a slight chance of electrocution if we used it before they figured out why the lights were strobing, so they didn’t actually turn them on. Meanwhile, city council members are still balking at the idea that they should stroll around the outfield holding up cards with the score like those ladies do for the different rounds at boxing matches.  Sometimes you have to wonder why they’re called public servants, don’t you?

The broadcast itself was not up to our usual sterling technical quality. Chuck-the-engineer was winging his way to Anaktuvuk Pass so we were on our own to troubleshoot the broadcast. For awhile it sounded like the day they accidentally left the microphone on at City Hall and we kept airing the sound of the sweeper cleaning the council chambers. Thankfully, no one lost their contact lens and no fire calls came in so there were no long breaks in the game. Which is a good thing considering how angry some people got the last time I tried to fill the dead air with my rendition of “The Raven”. Softball enthusiasts don’t seem to be much for poetry beyond “Casey at the Bat”.

So, enjoy your field of dreams vacation. We’ll all be anxiously awaiting your return.  Oh yeah, on the way back is there any chance you could possibly pick up some more chalk for the field? Apparently the rest of the city’s chalk budget has been dedicated to the sink hole in left field. Love, Elise