Random is as random does

I’m feeling random tonight…

(1) I don’t know if this is a “first”, but for the first time in my relatively short radio career, I engineered a live event using AOL Instant Messenger to work with the live crew. Here’s why… as you may know, I do board ops for basketball games for VCU on 107.3 BBT and U of Richmond on 93.1 the Wolf. They’re two entirely different types of broadcasts — for VCU, we’re the flagship station, so we produce the entire broadcast ourselves (make the live connection to the arena, get the game on the air, put in all of the non-game elements like commercials and pre- and post-game opening segments, etc.)… for Richmond, we’re a secondary affiliate, so we get the game pre-produced from ESPN Radio 950 and just add our own “local” commercials. Usually. And that’s how it was supposed to happen tonight… until the NFL stepped in and screwed it all up… ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Sunday, they “flexed” their schedule for today and moved several games… one of them was the Redskins game, which moved from 1pm to 4pm. That move kicked off the dominos… because ESPN950 now had two live events (Redskins at 4pm, Richmond at 5:30pm) and one radio station. Of course, since ESPN950 is owned by the Redskins’ Daniel Snyder, it was obvious which game they’d carry. Which meant that something had to be done with the Richmond game. What was decided — over Christmas weekend — was that 93.1 the Wolf would step in and produce the game. There are three things, in addition to the feed from the game, that we needed to make it work — the non-game elements, a way to feed the U of R website’s streaming audio, and a way to communicate with play-by-play broadcaster Bob Black at the Robins Center.

I guess two out of three isn’t bad… ESPN950 sent everything over on a CD (and even pre-produced each break so we just had to play a track from the CD for each break, which they didn’t have to do)… the website took the feed over the phone… and then… ugh. Because this happened so late, we had no time to wire up a connection from the WLFV studios to the ISDN line we used for the game — we’ve never needed one before, so the ISDN line was one-way. We can get audio, but not send any. After talking about having us call courtside each break, or just going with a stopwatch at courtside and hoping for the best… we wound up agreeing that we’d use AIM to time out the breaks… basically, I sent timechecks to Bob Black during the breaks over AIM… which, surprising all of us, worked really well.

I doubt we’re the first station to do this… but I guess it shows how far technology has come, eh?

(2) It’s a small world, after all… I added a new MySpace friend this weekend (she’s a newish co-worker at the day job). In reading her blog, I noticed a comment from a name that seemed familiar. Clicking on the link showed that it was… while I’d never met him, I worked with both his brother and his girlfriend (or is she his fiancee by now?) at That Place On Staples Mill That Shall Not Be Named a couple years ago. This is one of those inadvertent one-degree-of-separation oddities that’s becoming less odd as our world gets smaller and smaller… weird.

(3) Speaking of small worlds… for a long time, it was my policy that I generally wouldn’t add friends here that I didn’t already know offline (BOCTAOE*). OK, I added a couple of fan sites and such… but for the most part, I didn’t look for new online friends. That changed back on my birthday in September… when someone I didn’t know — but is a good friend of one of my friends — left me a birthday message on the Pyzam refrigerator magnet toy I was using on my profile. So I added her as a friend. What makes it a real small world moment was that she was engaged to (and has since married) one of the most prominent managers in the wrestling business — who I also haven’t met despite working in wrestling off and on for 8 years. So I’ve never met her, don’t know her husband at all, but she’s sent more comments on my profile than just about anyone. This is a good thing… but also something that simply could not have happened before our world started shrinking… I guess my policy now is that I’ll add people I know, or people with one degree of separation… for now… (BOCTAOE*)…

So I think I’ve rambled enough for one night. I may put up a blog tomorrow at midnight, but if I don’t… Happy New Year to one and all, and I hope that 2008 turns out to be your best year yet.

*BOCTAOE – Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams’ standard acronym for “But of course, there are obvious exceptions”. I like it so much, I stole it. Go buy his book. ๐Ÿ™‚


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