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Apr. 04 2012

Why I’m not an engineer…

By Mark Malinowski | Posted in Host Blogs | 6 Comments

Broadcasters and engineers somehow manage to survive alongside each other, although they come from two different worlds.  I remember when I was still in the Navy, while assigned to USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62) we had the latest Self-contained Closed-Circuit TV system in the fleet–the “Super-SITE.”  I had a wonderful engineer, a Chief Petty Officer named Dan Wynne.  Well, one day, just for a lark, I ordered a set of  “tweakers” from supply and told each of my journalists to wear one in his shirt pocket.  A “tweaker” is one of those little screwdrivers with a pen clip on it.  It drove Dan crazy.  He couldn’t understand why Journalists and Broadcasters needed “tweakers.”  I would tell him “just in case” and walk away.  Such fun.  Since I was senior to Dan, I got away with it.  Abuse of power?  Maybe, but still fun.

Here at WBJC, we have a fabulous engineer, Bob Lenio.  I think he is the best radio engineer I have worked with in my many years in the field.  He’s a great guy, as well.  But he is an engineer, which means that we are from two different worlds.

Recently, Bob put a new piece of equipment in the studio.  A hand-held device with a lot of buttons on it and a display screen (LCD type).  It’s the new and improved device for conducting EAS (Emergency Alert System) tests.  You know, when we say, “the following is a test…” and a series of irritating sounds come over the air.  FCC requirement.  There are two types of tests, the Weekly and the Monthly.  Bob told us that he was putting together an instruction sheet for the this device, and assured us it would be very easy.  I thought, this will be easy, since there is a big button marked “Weekly Test” on the device.

Well, I’m looking at the instructions, and nowhere does it say “Press the ‘Weekly Test’ Button.”  Nope.  Step one, press the button under the word “week” on the display.  This button is marked “Options.”  It goes on from there.  At no time during the process of conducting a weekly test, does one press the “Weekly Test” button.  I don’t understand it, but I am sure that in some engineering way it all makes perfect sense.  To me, it is like designing a new car, putting a steering wheel in it, but using the shift lever to steer.

I think that somehow, Dan Wynne is involved in this, and it’s all some sinister plot to exact revenge on me for the “Tweaker” incident.  How cruel.  Not fun.

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Mark is WBJC's morning host. His full bio can be read here.

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