It was 1977. I was young, foolish and nearly broke.
I'm working at a lousy part-time medium-market radio job after having
dropped out of college and spending a summer working for The Worst
Consulting Engineer In The U.S. (he's out of the biz by request now, so
no worry), and my part-time hours include the Sunday Morning shift.
It's wintertime, cold and dark. There's a place a half-mile down the
road that starts turning out hot, fresh, deep-fried donuts -- and
super-cheap donut holes by the bag! -- at 0630 or earlier. They're best eaten fresh; let them cool down and they're kinda greasy lumps. Alas, the AM
was a daytimer and not due on the air for another hour or more. There's no one
to make a donut run! So I lace up a taped half-hour *paid* religious
show on the deck in the production room where we played every other
taped show on Sunday, lock the place up, speed down the road to the
donut place with the radio blaring my station, get my treat, hop back in
the car and halfway back to the station, the radio says, "...and in
thoossse daaayyyssszzzzz bloooooooop........" and falls silent. I
floor the accelerator.
Hit the door running
and see that the takeup reel had fallen off, there's tape all over the
floor, the Maggie 1022 deck had (for some reason) kept running, and it
all probably would have been okay, except the tape had started looping,
tied a knot, built up and dragged the capstan motor to a stop. Hastily I
hit Stop, pull it all clear, rip the tape (stretches into a nasty
thread, of course), grab an empty takeup reel and set it to playing
again -- all on the air.
The conversation with
the Operations Director on Monday was...epic. It did *not* include the
word "donuts." There was no way I was going to admit to having left
the building, a total no-no in 1977. Instead, I claimed to have been in
the washroom, which (conveniently!), did not have an air monitor
speaker for the FM. Somehow, I didn't get fired, and hung on long
enough for my wisdom teeth to come in (do NOT do Beautiful Music hopped
up on Anacin and Dr. Pepper, kids!) and a full-time job to open up at a
"coffeepot" AMer closer to where I was living.
But the levels were right all through that. Except when they weren't there at all. Because that's just what you do.
7 months ago