Thursday, July 28, 2011

Time Changes

Posted to OGR on 03/13/2011

Here we are again, time change Sunday! Today will be spent changing all the clocks in the house and replacing the batteries in the smoke alarms. All of this while trying to stay awake because we lost an hour’s sleep last night. The rest of the week will be spent trying to figure out what time it really is. I hate the sleepiness but love the extra hour of daylight after work that daylight savings time brings. Now that the time has shifted, spring can come right on in; it is just a little over a week away.

You may not be aware of it, but most AM radio stations change power or switch antenna patters at dawn and dusk. This is required because AM signals travel farther during the night than they do during the day. It seemed that I was working either at dawn or dusk most of my career. Most DJs planned for the power change by “back timing” the songs in order to have the moment of silence that occurs when you change power happen between songs. But not me, I had fun with power change time. I would time it for “breaks” in the records, or some other unusual place in the program stream just to be different. A perfect example of this is the song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by the Four Seasons. About 45 seconds before the end of the song, there is a musical break that lasts 2 seconds, followed by a drum solo. It was a lot of fun to switch from low power to high power and blast that drum solo out at 4 times the power of the rest of the song.

A couple of years ago, my boss and I were having lunch at work and talking about the old radio days. He used to listen to the station where I worked and was interested in what went on behind the scenes back in the day. We came across the subject of power changes. He told the story of how he would set the volume on his clock radio at night and then set the alarm for 6 am. He said that one morning; he was jolted out of bed by the opening line from “Fire” by Arthur Brown. Arthur shouts “I am the god of hell-fire, and I bring you – fire!” I told him that was one of my favorite power change songs. All of a sudden it dawned on both of us that he had fallen victim to one of my power change practical jokes. We both broke up laughing out loud in the company cafeteria and everyone around looked at us as if we had lost our minds. Oh MY!

Copyright 2011 Rick Wrigley

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