Tuesday morning, 4:46am, and how are you doing?
Me too. It's rainy and windy outside and should stay that way for a couple of days. Welcome to November south of Chicago. Somehow the weather, contrasted with the warmth of this bedroom, isn't lending me to get all motivated to do four and a half hours of live radio.
But radio we shall do. Here's today's schedule:
6am - Verlie Suggs
6:45am - Michelle Quinn of the Post-Tribune
7:30am - Dr. Andy Koulterides, dentist
8am - Town of Highland with Bernie Zemen
8:30am - Town of Munster with Dave Nellans and Joe Simonetto
9am - Teamsters Union 142 with Richard Knipp and Harvey Jackson
That's a good start for a day. Yesterday, a Monday, it was mostly me filling up the Region with my bad breath. Today it'll be a whole lot more people joining me with their bad breath. Then there's the ongoing struggle with Comcast and then a lunch meeting and then, hopefully, I'll get back to the three or four of you and continue this blog. It's fun, doncha think?
What is not fun is dealing with Comcast. After more than a year of drops and reduced audio quality on the connection between our new studio and the tower site... Comcast convinced me to install what's known as a E over HFC system between the two sites. It's not Internet, technically. It's basically a line straight from the new site to the old that doesn't go on the Internet but does go on Comcast lines.
What a fiasco this has been. It's only been operational for less than a week and we've lost connection between the studios multiple times. Dead air, dead air. It's embarrassing. As a matter of fact, it's been embarrassing for the past year or so since we started using a Comcast connection to connect our two sites. Drops, bad audio, blips, that machine sound... it mostly happens when it's wet and/or windy out. We, Comcast and us, have replaced all the wire between our new site and the tower site... and still the system sucks. Comcast Jim came out yesterday and replaced a bunch of wire that I had last week paid to have replaced.
"You never know," Jim said.
Now Jim and the rest of Comcast is set to "kick it up another level." Whatever the hell that means. Comcast cannot find the problem between the two sites. Who knows? Maybe it's them. Maybe it's us... but I've done extensive testing in concert with the people at the Tieline encoding company support department... and they assure me it's Comcast and not their equipment or my wiring. This is the kind of hassle that as a local independent operator you just don't want to have to deal with. Yesterday, I spent four hours hanging out with the Comcast guy and doing testing. Productivity lost. Another Comcast casualty.
I suppose I should probably start thinking, after more than a year of dealing with this fiasco, of getting a new connection between the two sites. It's just that I can't get over that this is a multi-billion dollar company with cable, phone and internet all over the world... and they can't run a solid connection seven blocks down Indianapolis Boulevard?
It's a joke. It's been a joke for more than a year. I've become a joke in the Region - "Dead Air Dedelow." Powerless. That's how I feel. Powerless.
Here's the text I woke up to this morning from Rick Kubic, who hosts the late-night show on WJOB:
FYI - I received a few texts from random listeners claiming there was short periods of dead air 4 times during my show. Both off the tower and online... as you were
So there. This happens all the time. Looking back, I should have probably invested in an over-the-air antenna system between the two sites. I can't really use AT&T because the tower is located in an old section of Hammond and they don't have more than 256K internet there. So I'm stuck with Comcast, and as all the instruments we have agree, they're making me a big freaking joke.
Dead Air Dedelow. Powerless.