Did a radio show this morning from our brand spanking new studios. And as we're doing it, the Indiana Department of Transportation, just 20 feet from where I'm talking, starts putting up barricades to narrow Indianapolis Blvd. down to one lane. Evidently they're gonna fix the nasty stretch of pavement on the Boulevard that goes under 80/94. That means that for the next few months one of the busiest intersections in the Midwest, near where we're located, is gonna be backed up, sometimes for a mile or more. I'm not sure if that is good or bad for us. As you know, and can tell from the photos, we're in the WJOB snow globe now, with four walls of windows, two of which look out right into busy truck traffic. Is it better or worse for us that huge trucks and cars are stopped right outside our windows, staring us down?
I vote worse...
It's been an exhausting stretch, but in the end we have emptied our old space at the back of the Purdue Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center and we're in the sleek new digs. You put all of the equipment together and test it, but you really don't know until you go live if it's all gonna work. And today for a while, it didn't work.
We still have issues connecting our new studios to the transmitter and tower at the old site. If you follow the blog that nobody reads, then you know that we're encoding in a Tieline unit on the new studio end, and decoding with another Tieline unit at the old studio end. We've tried everything, but still, sometimes the link goes out and we have dead air for a moment. It sucks, but in the end I believe that the area around our old studio, with its really old infrastructure, just doesn't have that reliable of internet.
Or electricity or gas or water or roads or railroad gates for that matter. It's an old industrial area that nobody not even the business owners care to spruce up and that goes all the way to the old cable lines. It could be something else like a bad setting on the bit rate or the latency... but we've tried everything and the signal just drops. Dead air.
Today it happened while I was interviewing East Chicago police chief Mark Becker. We were talking about the reduction in gang violence in his city and then the phone lines lit up.. First call - "You're off the air." Yikes. So I look for the little AM radio that we have laying around the studio... and it's nowhere to be found.
Ryan, run to your car. Are we on the air?
He runs across the parking lot, opens his passenger side door, shakes his No.
So I shift into action. I close down the Tieline system... and I switch to the backup AT&T system that Angel and I developed. Yes. That works. Next thing you know Chief Becker and I are talking about the open house at the police station from 10am to 2pm tomorrow. Hope all you kids can attend.
Who else this morning on the show?
Wife Alexis joined me. Even she is impressed by the new studios. It's just hard to fathom that we could go from such a dump to, as Sheriff Buncich said yesterday, "It's like Chicago." Yes, we have Chicago-like studios. Now, can we do Chicago-like radio?
Somehow I feel that I've gotten lazy in the past couple of years and now it's time to do a better show. Maybe I'll take a class at Second City to learn how to delve into my inner Bob Newhart. Or maybe I'll start prepping with a few notes. Or maybe I'll cut up highlights from previous shows or from the internet and play them during my morning show. Maybe I'll do some new music bumpers to play while we come back from break. Or maybe I'll start using a stationary microphone instead of a sports headset for better sound. Or maybe producer Ryan and I can have a regular meeting to map out who we should invite as guests.Or maybe I'll...
Nope. Probably not any real major changes. I can feel that in my inner Rip Van Dedelow. I've been doing the same radio show since 2007 and for some reason it kinda fits me. I can do a similar show with a similar rhythm and energy every day, and if that's not good enough then oh well.
Anyways, Alexis came on the show. And Raymundo Garcia of El Taco Real fame. And sports announcer Brian Jennings came on to preview the Highland at Hammond High football game we're broadcasting tonight. And Highland officer Dan Mills came on to talk about a fundraiser for deceased office Shawn Smith. And chief Becker came on. And Purdue football coach Darrel Hazell, who shows a whole lot of enthusiasm for a team that's only won one game in the Big Ten over the past two years. After the show I stopped by Frank Mrvan III's golf outing and drove around on a cart for a while, joking with the players and tasted some of the beer from Bulldog Brewing in Whiting. That was good and probably contributed to my desire to come back home and sit on the bed and write a blog that nobody reads instead of going to WJOB to work on sales and marketing.
Which is never fun. You know that. Time for a nap. Alexis and I are celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary tomorrow and I haven't bought her a gift yet. Maybe later. Any ideas?