I’ve never kept itÂ a secret that I work in the media. But for the more visible members of that community (or in my case, more audible), there’s a minor (and in my case, very, very, very, very, very, veryÂ minor) celebrity factor that goes with it.Â People recognize you or your voice in publicÂ because you’re part of their lives in a kind of intimate way.Â In radio, you’re a voice that people become accustomed to. They get to know your on-air persona and there’s a bond that is created between a host and the listener (or viewer, if it’s TV).Â It’s and odd bond because it’s mediated by a lot of impersonal technology that physically isolates hosts from the people they are talking to. But it’s a necessary thing because how else are 1 to 3 people going to communicate with hundreds of thousands of people at one time using their voice?Â But because media outlets like radio bring music and information to large groups of people,Â folks depend on you and expect you to be at your post doing what you do.Â The audience tunes in and out when they want, but they expect you to be there when you’re on the air.
So, all this is to say that this morning, there was the proverbial sand in the Vaseline as I arrived at work.Â In the lobby, Jeff was there with a cup o’ Joe in his hand tell me that the elevators weren’t working and the doors to each floor in the stairwell were locked (he had tried them all).Â Michael and Carolyn arrived shortly after that, and after a few phone calls, our program director made a 20 minute trip in about 15 minutes to the station with a key to unlock the door to the stairs.Â We hoofed it up five flights of stairs and got on the air about an hour late.Â Of course, the phones were ringing when we came in (though, I think most folks had given up calling ’cause there were only a couple of calls that came in).Â
One word:Â embarassing. That’s how I felt as I went on the air and tried to make light of our late arrival.Â Ah well, it seems people were pretty forgiving, and it just demonstrated that real life encroaches on the semi-polished veneer the media likes to create.
What was so amazing was the responseÂ by the OTIS corporation when Jeff called the emergency number (you know, theÂ number you use to report broken elevators?).Â They basically said they couldn’t authorize “overtime” to fix the elevator because the building managerÂ had toÂ make the requestÂ — yeah, the same building manager whose phone went right to voice mail when we tried to call.
So…um…thanks OTIS!Â Really…thanks! You folks are the best.