* It’s Friday, Rob left us money for pizza and we had a lovely, slow morning on our hands. My show was going along swimmingly and then… the floor started shaking.
I thought it was a train going underneath us or maybe a jackhammer in some far corner of the NBC Tower. Executive Producer Wendy messaged me on the computer – “Did you feel that?”
I asked Director Desi if she felt it. She hadn’t. I pointed up at the light fixtures on the ceiling. They were swaying.
Within minutes, our phone blew up. Dozens of people called, wanting to get on the air and tell their stories. I fumbled around with our stupid, stupid phone system to funnel as many through as I could. A guy visiting our control room said he got a phone call from his wife in Indianapolis – she felt it, too. I spent the next several minutes punching the wrong phone buttons and making graphics and typing and trying to talk to the anchors and the control room crew.
In short, it was hell. When news breaks, a producer frequently has 40 people screaming at him. The anchors need to know the plan. The technical guys need to know what elements to show. The innocent bystanders on the phone just want to talk. The powers that be want you to slam as much on the air as you can. And your brain can only process so many tasks at once before it starts melting and dribbling out your ears.
There is no smooth way to do it. You only hope it looks smooth on the air. Zoraida and Dick (substituting for Rob) did a great job keeping cool. It’s my job to shield them from the chaos behind the scenes.
* Did you feel the earthquake? If so, leave me a comment below.
* Perhaps the earthquake was a blessing in disguise. My writing sucked today. Absolutely sucked. I’m guessing I spent all my funny in last night’s improv show. Truth be told, I wasn’t that funny last night, either.
* Hallmark is releasing Mother’s Day cards that allow you to record ten seconds of your voice. Awesome. That will spare me the hassle of having to actually call my mom and hear the disappointment in her voice.
* Some northern Illinois radio host is letting his listeners pick the name of his unborn child. In unison, they all cried, “Barabbas! Barabbas!”
* Meanwhile, in Parents Who Actually Give a Damn news, British parents-to-be spend an average of 45 hours picking out their baby names. Must be tough not to pawn off your responsibilities on people who listen to your radio show…
* Vermont Teddy Bears are rolling out bears that vaguely resemble each of the presidential candidates. Be sure to get yours now so you’ll have a keepsake to go alongside your Bob Dole beach ball and your John Kerry G.I. Joe.