Thursday, March 29, 2012

Antsy Me

My hands kept jumping off the keyboard every time the fire alarm sounded! It’s a loud electronic buzz that kept blaring from the intercom speakers at seemingly random intervals. Late last night, without the din of a bustling newsroom, the alarm seemed even louder and less expected. It would sound once and then disappear for fifteen minutes, only to sound again, out of the blue.

Last night was a weird night.

Sometimes the alarm would continue buzzing every ten seconds or so and then stop. Our technical department chalked it up to “testing”.

Then came the printer problems. I could not get the printer to print-out a normal looking page. All the words would be crammed to the left side of the page in a very narrow column. I’d turn the computer off and try again, only to get one normal printing. The second item I’d print, went back to the left side of the page, narrow and illegible.

I re-booted the computer about four times. Each time, the first printing was fine and subsequent ones, messed up. I turned it off and then printed the entire newscast. Anchors don't dare head into the studio without a paper copy of the newscast in case the teleprompter goes wonky.

The two problems were making me antsy. I still had to change into my suit and tie and slap on twenty pounds of high-definition make-up (see blog of January 17, 2012).

On the air, as we came out of commercial and began the national news segment, the silent alarm began blinking in the studio. In all the time I’ve been back at the station, I’d never seen the alarm blink. It’s a bright, white strobe that immediately caught my eye. As it continued blinking, I kept reading our national and international news stories. My mind was wandering as I read, wondering whether there was a real emergency unfolding elsewhere in the building.

As soon as we reached the second commercial break, I picked up the phone and called the technical employee, asking whether there was an emergency I should know about. He knew nothing about the blinking alarm and didn’t even know where the light was located in the studio. It had been blinking for at least five minutes, but the second he showed up at the studio door to check it out, the blinking stopped.

I slipped the new Susie Arioli CD into the sound system and steered the car for the exit. I’m interviewing Susie today. Her new album, “All The Way”, was released on Tuesday. She's performing a couple of songs from the album on our show, which airs this weekend.

Music is a fine cure for antsy.

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