Thursday, January 18, 2007

Coming at you with 10 watts of SEARING mono!!!

Ahh, the cycle of life in college radio. :-) It appears my alma mater's all-student radio station has busted some late-night DJ's for drinking in the studio and propping the security doors open.

As a die-hard WTBU alum (Tech Director 1995-98) I have many fond memories of WTBU. I also, admittedly, have some fond missing memories from doubt alcohol was involved, but damned if I can remember it. :-) So while I don't condone drinking in the station, especially if you're under 21 (as nearly all TBU'ers are) and especially not while in the damn studio (no food or drink, dammit!), and, and....and....well....erhm...

Well hell, it's college. College kids drinking? To quote another Boston Radio Blog I am shocked, SHOCKED, indeed!

But I would like to point out something about the security door being propped open. I agree that's bad news, but I don't blame the students about it either because it is (was?) a poor system. I should know, I helped install it. Y'see, I was the student Tech Director when WTBU moved into that building in 1996. The layout in that building is kinda quirky, and at the time it was a major battle just to get ID card / swipe access points on the outer doors to the building; it wasn't common back then and it was unheard of that they let the students of WTBU manage the access list directly (the computer controlling it sat in WTBU's offices, no less).

Granted the alternative was managing keys for 150+ student volunteers with a 40-50% turnover rate every semester. BU didn't like to spend money on COM (back then, ID card / swipe systems were mighty pricey) but the administration wasn't insane enough to issue THAT many keys, either. :-)

Problem is, the budget just wasn't there for a security camera, intercom and door buzzer the DJ could see someone at the outer door and buzz them in. Again, in 1996, that was a fairly expensive proposition. But the lack of that meant guests & friends had to call the DJ and wait while the DJ cued up a long CD track, sprinted down the stairs, hustled back to the studio, and barely get the next song cued up in time. It was about a 5-10 minute walk through the building to that outer door!

When you've got a bad-yet-best-under-the-circumstances system like that; inevitably people will circumvent it to make their own lives easier. Case in point: DJ's were just propping the door open and hoping nobody "bad" took advantage of it.

Hopefully COM will spring for a security cam & door buzzer now. With the rise of network cams like Axis's, such systems have gotten much cheaper and easier to implement.

In retrospect, though...I don't think limiting DJ hours is entirely a bad thing. Certainly silver linings can be found in this cloud if people are so inclined. For example: in theory, it should promote competition for the remaining DJ slots...which in turn should result in better DJ's.

WTBU could also make this a "teachable moment" by implementing automation with voicetracking on the overnights. Make it so only the best, most trusted & trained DJ's are allowed to program/voicetrack the overnights. Hell, make it part of an actual COM class curriculum. I don't prefer automation to a live DJ, mind you, but many of the kids at WTBU will end up pursuing professional careers in broadcasting...where voicetracking is a valuable skill to have on your resume.

And this post's title? It's from an actual promo my old TBU friend Keith did while we were was a funny promo, except WTBU didn't even have ten watts. It was more like one-quarter of a watt. We would have KILLED to have 10 watts. sigh

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