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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Magic

As I was in my hotel room during the blizzard a couple of weeks ago, unable to sleep because I didn't have a radio, my mind wandered.

Are there live overnight local DJ's anywhere in America?  I know there has to be some, somewhere.  Even the major markets have gone to voice tracking overnights.

There are several all night talk shows that are live, but not local.  It doesn't mean they can't be entertaining.  Larry King did a good show before he started mailing it in.  Ben Maller on FOX Sports Radio is my current favorite.

My mind wandered a little more...

Ed Bradley of CBS News came to Wilkes-Barre for a lecture at the Kirby Center.  It was the late 80's or early 90's.  Bradley talked about the magic of being in a radio station for the first time-- the lights, the dials, the meters, the buttons, the microphones.  I get that.

There used to be a lot of media magic.

I remember my first time in the old channel 22, in the basement of Scranton Prep.  Big lights, big cameras. Film cans all over the place. Wow!

It's not just broadcasting.  I made a few visits to the old Scranton Tribune newsroom on North Washington Avenue back in the day.  I can still smell it-- a mix of cigars, cigarettes, newsprint, and ink.  Typewriters clicking away, the teletype machines...  If you ever saw it, you know what I mean.

And then, there's the roar of the press.  If you ever get the chance, watch a newspaper being printed, before they all go away.  Those old presses were an amazing sight.  I'm sure those in the business took it for granted.  To the rest of us, it was simply amazing.  A giant machine, made up of several parts, working in harmony to get the latest news on the street.  That's magic.

Today's radio stations are little more than computers and microphones.  I get that.  Times have changed.  Do more with less.  The same goes for TV.  We have some amazing technology now.  We don't need those big trucks to "go live" any more.  New equipment is about the size of a cell phone.  It takes seconds to get video on the air, rather than hours.

Things are better in so many ways.  Except magic.