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Stupid Client Quote #4431

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Mediamaven | posted 05-11-2006 | Number of Votes: 119  |  Current Rating: 3.72   

This was back in the analog days of TV.... going back to the late 70's

I used to run Master Control for a TV network affiliate in a mid-sized market. One very stormy summer evening, we took what must have been a direct lightning hit. We were knocked off the air.

While we were running around trying to reset and restart
everything, including the transmitter, the direct line to the control room rang.

The new Operations Manager was on the other end, calling from home, NICELY demanding to know what happened.

The guy was bean-counter-type, never been in a TV station before this gig, and had apparently recently taken some sort of
'warm & fuzzy' personnel management classes.

What follows is a rough re-creation of our telephone conversation:

Him: Do you know we are off the air?

Me: Yes... We're working on it.

Him: Good effort! (Rah team!!!) But in the meantime, I think our viewers would like to know what the trouble is. Can't you put on something that says "Please Stand Bye"?

Me: Ah... no sir. We are off the air.

Him: As a typical viewer, I want to see something on my TV set besides snow.... you can't help me with that?

Me: No... we are off the air. That means that until we get the transmitter back up, you aren't gonna see anything on your TV set on our channel except snow.

Him: (I can hear him flipping thru the channels) I can see channel 6... and 11.... and 17....

Me: I guess that means they haven't been hit by lightning.... they're not off the air. We got nailed so WE ARE off the air!

Him: But I should be able to see a picture from us!

Me: NO sir... we are OFF THE AIR!!!

Him: Ok then I understand, but in the mean time can't you put up a slide that says 'Please Stand By'?

Me: Sure, I'll do that right now! (sarcastically)

Him: And can you play some one of those "trouble" tapes...?

Me: Sure, I can do that. But you know that I'll be the only person in the world, aside of the shift engineer, who will see that slide and hear that tape... the transmitter is down, we are OFF THE AIR!

Him: It doesn't matter, as long as you keep trying to improve this situation. Good effort... I'm impressed!

Just keep playing the tape and showing the trouble slide until you can get the transmitter back up..

Me: Thank you for your guidance in this situation sir.

Him: I hope you learned something here tonight. And thank you for the good effort!

PS He moved on to manage a group of TV/Radio stations in a major market even tho he had no clue what a transmitter does. Go figure.

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