No More Switchovers, PTL!

Satellite radio is great for the bottom line for station owners, but a bummer for the capable broadcasters who are replaced by it.  There is no telling just how many broadcast entities are manned by less than a handful of people and a bunch of telemetry.  You can usually tell if your choice is live or computer by the lengthy periods of silence at the top or bottom of the hour.  Sports stations are notorious for being ‘automated’.  With inaudible tones, the computer will switch from one source to another, accurately and even check the broadcast signal and print a program/engineering log.  Originally, there was required a large dish placed in an unobstructed location that fed the studio.  From that ‘giant’ to today’s pizza-sized receiver, thousands of broadcast facilities run 24-7 with a small staff.  I know of one East Texas station that has a staff of two. One sells and writes copy and the other programs the computer. Both prepare spots digitally and both work only daytime, five days-a-week.  The automation runs the whole thing.  They both live within minutes of the station and can be on site within minutes if something goes wrong.  The computer will call one or the other whenever there is a glitch. Back in my broadcast days I had a desire to own that station, myself.  KIVY is still on the air in Crockett, Texas.  Automation was  easy to work with, even though a bore, but when there was change of broadcast source it could get ‘hairy’.  That was  the “Switch-over” that the person on duty dreaded.  The most critical one was when switching from day-time power to night.  There never was a time that I didn’t hold my breath until it completed the circuit change.  Perhaps you’ve never thought about the voices you hear on your local stations and that they could be from some person hundreds of miles away, broadcast from an orbiting satellite, miles above the earth at a top power of 4 watts (about the same as a three cell flashlight).  Amazing, but true.  So, along about sunrise or set, when your program continues without interruption, you can celebrate, along with the person on duty by breathing a sigh of relief for another switch-over without a glitch.  It will bond you both in a moment of extreme importance, donchaknow. I do not miss those switch-overs, at all. I would suggest that any digital equipment that is utilized by anyone other than an engineer, be made with BIG “1”, “2”. “3” buttons, followed by “ENTER”. I am pleased that GOD gives us the opportunity and celebrates with us when we do things right! That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.   AMEN

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