Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gloating When the Opportunity Presents Itself

Among the eclectic items on my list of former occupations is disc jockey. To be clear, my activity that falls under that label had nothing to do with the image that just popped into the heads of any readers under the age of 30. I did NOT stand over a pair of turntables in a dance club...nor did I move any recorded disc, 33-and-a-third or 45, for the sole purpose of making scritchee-scritchee-scratch noises.

The chapter of my life when I was a disc jockey involved playing music on the radio, checking dials and meters on said radio station's transmitter, and ripping-and-reading news from teletype machines so that the listening public would be totally informed and prepared for life as we know it.

Contrary to how important that news dissemination aspect of my job just sounded, there were times when I would do exactly what I just described: rip news items off the Associated Press teletype, rush into the studio, and start reading a five-minute newscast that consisted of three minutes of news, one-and-a-half minutes of commercials, and 30 seconds worth of weather forecasting.

Once, that level of intense preparation (cough-cough) led to one of the few moments of embarrassment I've ever experienced.

One of the short reports I was reading involved a legal action being taken against the Bonnie Baking Company. When the phrase, "apparently, Bonnie's loaves are too long" passed my lips, I started laughing uncontrollably and was unable to continue. I tried breathing deeply, biting my lip, and thinking about dead puppies, but every time I turned my microphone back on, I only got two or three words out before my belly went tight, my voice went high, and I had to turn it back off so I could titter with utter abandon.

Now...I told you all that so I could say this...

During National Public Radio's recent coverage of the in-process tsunami (one of the results of Japan's mega-earthquake), the news anchor was interviewing an expert on such matters and stumbled her way into a reason why American broadcast journalists really ought to be educated beyond "which button do I push?" or "which camera do I look at?"

NPR's employee (courtesy of several foundations, a government grant, and viewers/listeners like you): "What sort of effect can we expect in Hawaii? We're monitoring several Web cams and it looks like right now they've got big waves, but not hugely big."

Hugely big?


And is that wave of water expected to be moistly wet?

* * * * * * *

Congress recently voted to stop giving money to public broadcasting. I'm not saying there's any connection here, but...

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