Electronic death

Good audio clip below of the WIYY’s (Rock 98, Baltimore) console melting down during the morning show.  These things happen from time to time. I often found, when it happened at one the stations I was working for, nobody would know anything about it. Nope. Just stopped working. What? No, I don’t know anything about the coffee dripping out of the bottom of the console.

Rock 98, (WIYY) Baltimore, coffee spilled into console courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.

If that link doesn’t work, try this one (7MB .mp3 file).

Pictures and stuff at their facebook page.

Off the air for twenty minutes during morning drive.  I wonder what kind of console it was?  From the pictures on facebook, it looks like Wheatstone stuff.  Ouch! That’s going to leave a mark.

I tried to enforce a no eating no drinking in the studio rule.  Most of the time I was successful, however, there were various incidents over the years.  The worst was the morning show spilling “distilled water” in the console, but not saying anything about it.  Months later, the air monitor stopped muting when the main mic was turned on. Nearly caused the guy who did the spilling to loose his hearing.  Karma.

At another station, someone spilled soda on all the remote mic on/off/cough switches for the guest positions.  That prompted an early morning phone call, which the morning show producer yelled at me and told me I must be at the station in five minutes (I lived about 25 minutes away at the time).  Ha!  I took my sweet time getting there.  The soda cooked all the +5VDC regulators on the guest microphone modules, thus, for the next several days, all the morning show DJ’s had to share one microphone.

Old time radio guys will tell you, do not mess with the engineer.

11 thoughts on “Electronic death”

  1. Yes, many worse things have happened, radio stations have burned down on several occasions.

  2. Thanks for the link, Mike. I notice at the end, Kelly says “…and there will never be food or drink in this room again.”

  3. The console is a Wheatstone A-6000, vintage 1995 or so. There was extensive damage to the motherboards (coffee with sugar in it is very conductive). Our support guys rose to the challenge, and we had the necessary parts in stock.

    While the board was down, the show was run from three different studios, all routed through their backup-to-air console, which is an Audioarts D-75 that was also born in this building here in New Bern, NC. 🙂

  4. I know of a working Wheatstone A-6000 that has been pulled out of service recently that can be had for cheap, FOB East Central Florida… FWIW. I didn’t want to spare the room to store it. I also have one, in service… and was tempted to grab it.

    Ron Gitschier
    Palm Coast, FL

  5. Thanks, Ron. I don’t know if WIYY needs it, but I may take up on on the offer for use in a community radio station around here. I’ll email you off line.

  6. I missed this the first time, but I love the line “Old time radio guys will tell you, do not mess with the engineer.” That is the truth and a half. I know of a young hot shot DJ, who shall remain nameless, who was ticked off because a radio station local to him, had their HD transmitter spurring. He left a whole bunch of explatives on a voicemail to the chief engineer, with the words “intentional jamming” and “incompetent” left on it. Did I mention this station is owned by Clear Channel. More on that in a second. Anyways, being the only one in the market with an HD radio, the chief contacted me to check and see if there was in fact an issue. (which there was, the chief did have an HD radio, that was stolen out of his truck at the studios.) He immediately powered down the faulty HD rig. Needless to say that young man, tried to get a gig at a much bigger station, in an adjacent market, owned by, you guessed it Clear Channel. After being rejected for the job, he learned one very valuable lesson. Never, ever, insult the engineer. We are a very very small, and very tight knit community. And (for the most part) we’re all friends, and we DO talk, especially about people who call others incompetent and the such. Never insult the engineer, as one day, he may be the one on the other side of the glass, saving your ass.

  7. Indeed, never raise the ire of the engineer. Can come back to haunt you. And please tell the truth when coffee or other liquids get spilled down the console. Power it down. Switch to the other control room if available. Better chance of saving it. If this happened on my watch, the GM would be giving those very WIYY jocks a rather protracted discussion.

  8. Not just broadcast. I recall a Bell tech telling me of the 4-person answering service cordboard [Yes, it was a LONG time ago] that got the coffee+cream+sugar treatment….

    Me, I drink Diet Coke, and it helps clean the contacts….

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