We can all expect technical glitches on live radio but this is too much.
Over the last week or so, VOCM has been plagued by technical difficulties on its telephone lines.
The audio drops out with startling regularity. It sounds like the caller has just uttered a profanity, or slandered a local business, and the seven-second delay measure was triggered, blocking the offensive statement.
But that has not been the case. It is happening to the friendliest of voices, speaking on the most mundane of topics. And it has been happening with some regularity.
This morning, more problems. At one point, the line went dead. No sound at all. Then we could hear Bill Rowe (who is filling in for Randy Simms) and the caller, but they couldnt hear each other.
Last week, it was a different, far more bizarre problem. The live feed actually went live for a painfully long stretch of time, rendering the conversation unintelligible. That is, every word spoken by the host and caller was replayed again, seven seconds later, creating the surreal experience of two Randy Simms talking at once.
This kind of thing has happened intermittently with advertising, when two ads are played at the same time, ruining both ads. But it's even stranger when you hear Simms talking over himself.
I just know that, behind the scenes, technicians must have been in a sweat, scrambling to find and fix the problem, while managers were pacing and yelling in the background.
When the telephone lines are crucial to your radio programming for so many hours of the day, youve got to have a reliable, functional system in place. (And, yes, I know that the problem is probably lurking deep within their computer system, but the phone calls are where the problem rears its head.)
The problems are not there all the time, but they occur with increasing frequency and can last for minutes at a time, which is an eternity in live radio.
VOCM has to fix this, and soon.