Humor Helps Talent on the Job
do you do when you’ve installed talent control panels and are left
with more buttons than you immediately need? You might cover them,
remove them or black out the lens cap. But if you’re Radio America
engineer Al Peterson, you use it as an opportunity to put guests at
ease with humor.
Cover button caps with humorous labels to put your guests at ease and
add a little fun to the studio.
handles studio-recording duties at the Radio America Network in
Arlington, Va. A former on-air personality himself, he understands
performance anxieties, especially in people not used to being in
front of a microphone.
the network ordered plates with extra buttons intended for future
functions, Al capped the unwired ones with legends having nothing to
do with anything.
tells us, “People not normally used to sitting in front of
microphones can be intimidated by even the simplest of controls: On,
Off, Cough, Volume, etc. So, imagine looking down at the buttons and
seeing one labeled ‘Free Beer.’ It will distract you and loosen
you up a little.”
the button does not do anything, much less dispense beer (though he’s
seen people press it multiple times anyway, feigning disappointment).
Neither does the button in Studio A that promises to fire off a Death
Ray do as it claims. Al says, “When G. Gordon Liddy used to do his
show from here, the button read ‘Ejector Seat,’ in keeping with
his image as an agent of intrigue.”
complete control panel is shown in Fig. 3.
* * *
Roberta Barmore is with
Indianapolis Channel 13, WTHR(TV).
With regard to the
construction project in the July 17 issue in which we helped you
convert a scrap satellite dish to a parabolic mic, Roberta commented
that a piece of thick-wall rubber tubing, with 1/4-inch inside
diameter, can be used to hold the microphone. Find such tubing at
auto supply and hardware stores.
It turns out that this
tubing will pass a 1/4-20 bolt. When the tubing is compressed by
washers under the head of the bolt and a nut is affixed to the far
end, the compressed rubber will grip the inside of a standard
male-thread mic stand coupler. The rubber also offers some vibration
isolation. This technique can be used on a long piece of 1/4-inch-20
all thread, bent to shape; or used to couple to a pipe.
A neat alternative.
With regard to that same
project, Peter Wankerman reminds us of the importance of ensuring
that the microphone is in the dish’s focal zone. Hence the step,
stressed by contributor Frank Hertel, that the mic be tightened down
so the focal point aligns with the microphone pickup.
* * *
Some time ago Tim Sawyer,
an engineering consultant with Mullaney Engineering, sent in a tip
about how inexpensive spot infrared thermometers had gotten. These
devices are ideal for identifying loose, heat-producing connections
in AM antenna tuning units, phasors and electrical circuit breaker
boxes. Taking periodic thermal measurements should help the engineer
spot potential heat-related problems before they occur.
reports that Fluke has developed an updated tool that combines the
spot laser temperature measurement with a camera image of what you
are measuring. A bit pricey at $895, but if it does the job and
prevents catastrophes, it’s worth the cost. For group stations or
contract engineers, the outlay can be shared among stations.
The product is the Fluke VT02 Visual IR Thermometer. Find links to
information at radioworld.com/links.
VT02 takes thousands of measurements per second and overlays the
measurements with a camera image of what you are measuring. The
point-and-shoot, focus-free design makes operation simple, and
there’s no more guessing of what you are seeing. Also included is
Smartview software, which records images on a micro SD card. The
images can then be downloaded into reports. Contract engineers can
now show their clients what’s wrong, and how the problem was
resolved with before and after photos.
budget time, so consider the insurance that the Fluke VT02 can
to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers and qualify for
SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax to (603) 472-4944.
John Bisset has spent 44 years in the broadcasting industry and is
still learning. He handles West Coast sales for the Telos Alliance.
He is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator
of the Year Award.