November 20, 2007

Holding It Together on Friday Night

by Carey Meitzler

Every time you listen to a radio broadcast of a sporting event, you may not realize that the most important job each and every

time is the board operator back at the radio station.  At WRJW 1320 AM,  we have two young people that are always holding

it together for us.

Annah Herrin and Ben Daniel are both students at PMHS.  Unlike most of their classmates, they are not always able to attend

the games because of their responsibility during the game.  Their duties as board operators entails quite a few critical tasks to

keep the broadcast going smoothly.  Without them staying on top of what's going on, the broadcasts would be chaotic.

Annah just before the "fun" begins.

First, you have to be on guard for the call "to hear a word from one of our fine sponsors" or "there's a timeout on the field,

we'll take it with them and be back in just 60 seconds" or something similar that let's the board operator know it's time for

a commercial. The trick is to put the "Crew" on hold, play a pre-recorded commercial (we call 'em spots) from a list about

10-12 designated for the broadcast. Near the end of the spot, the operator has to switch back to the "Crew".  This seems

simple, but it is not and it is common for lines to get dropped. Common at other places, but rare with Ben and Anna at the


Also, they must keep track of the game and be ready for a "timeout" while answering another line to field attempts from those

trying to guess the weekly trivia question.  This can get pretty hectic if a lot of calls come in one after another, which tends to

happen early on in a broadcast when everyone who owns a computer with an internet connection calls in to make a stab

at guessing the question correctly, or late, when the "Crew" starts giving a few hints if no one has guess the answer by the

start of the fourth quarter.

Ben concentrates as he follows the pre-game outline to stay on cue with the Crew.

Lastly, the board operator may be trying to get off air updates of other games for the "Crew". 

Now take all of this, throw in the complication of keeping the lines straight in what can quickly become a

Who's on First type atmosphere and you begin to appreciate what the board operators go through each Friday. 

Thanks Annah and Ben....