22. August 2007 · Comments Off on Occasional Nightmare · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, General, Technology, World

Everyone has a reoccurring nightmare, so I have always been told. If you are very lucky they are fairly benign, sometimes to the point of making you wonder if they can really be classed as a nightmare, like dreaming that you are stark naked in your place of work. A good few years ago, there was an article published, the result of a survey that revealed that college-graduates of all majors and vintages still had finals nightmares. They dreamed they went in to take a Terribly Important Final Exam, and when they actually began taking the test, realized that they didn’t know any of the answers, or it was an essay question and their mind was a Complete Blank… or that, like my mother’s reoccurring Finals Nightmare, they skipped that class for the entire semester.

My reoccurring nightmare is a peculiar variant of the Finals Nightmare; The Radio Station Where Nothing Works. Either I am walking into a sort-of-familiar radio station control room, where the control board has been subtly reconfigured, where all the board switches which activate and control the audio levels for the mikes, the CD players, the computer (which as replaced the cart decks where the spots, inserts and IDs used to play from) have been changed around… or they have been disconnected completely. Or it’s a completely new control board.

And in a bare three minutes or so before I have to go on the air, I have to figure it all out, or fix it so it does work.

Sometimes it’s the CD players which suddenly cannot be made to work properly. Adding piquancy to this particular nightmare variant is the fact that some of the early broadcast CD-player models used in AFRTS got terribly buggy when over-heated. No matter how carefully the DJ cued up a particular cut, they would reset themselves to another selection, usually the first cut on the CD. Nothing is guaranteed to make a DJ feel more like an idiot than to cheerfully announce the next song,… and have something else entirely go out on the air. I got to the point where I would not announce the next selection on the playlist, unless I recognized the up-ramp. But total nightmare material: not being able to make the darned thing work at all.

Playlist. That’s another nightmare. Not being able to find the next thing you’re supposed to be airing, because the CD/record library is a complete shambles. Or to cue it up in time; see above as regards non-functioning CD players. At least my nightmare has progressed technologically, to the point where I’m no longer afflicted by record-players with missing tone-arms or needles. There was a new element in my most recent radio-station nightmare, though. I can barely read the tiny print on CD cases now, without my reading glasses, and I dreamed the other night of having a playlist with print too small to read.

And I didn’t have my glasses. It sucks to be getting old… but it does beat the alternative, doesn’t it?

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