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59! 58! 57! 56! 55!
Written February 3, 2024

 

My college's campus radio station was located in Wilder Hall, some 2,000 feet south of the field house.

I used to broadcast Oberlin basketball.  But students could simply walk to the field house.  If snow covered the ground and they knew the home game would be on WOBC, they'd have an excuse not to attend.  Therefore, the only events we broadcast were those that took place out of town.

Our away crew for road games consisted of two announcers and an engineer.  Once we arrived at the venue, the engineer would locate the wires that the local phone company had prepared for us, hook up our amplifier, and begin talking into the microphone.  Meanwhile I would find an actual telephone somewhere in the building (this was long before cell phones).  I'd place a long-distance collect call to WOBC and confirm that they were hearing the engineer talking.  After I hung up the phone, all subsequent communication would be one-way:  from us back to the station.

For an eight o'clock game, the plan was to begin broadcasting at 7:55.  But how did we know that our watches were synchronized with the clock hanging from the ceiling of WOBC's Studio A?  Most likely they were not.



So when exactly should we start talking?  Because of the one-way communication, the board operator had no way to cue us “You're on,” so we used my watch to count down to 7:55:00.  Listening, the operator would know when to put us on the air.

Before one game early in my career, I worried that if the operator switched momentarily to “audition” to test our line but didn't happen to hear anything, he'd forget about us.

Therefore, for the final 85 seconds, I counted down every second to keep the line active.  It sounded something like this.

Audio Link

No, that would have been overkill.  I counted down only the last 60 seconds.  Nevertheless, when we returned home, the board operator told me that listening on audition made him feel like his console was about to blow up.  For future games, I omitted the second-by-second routine.

As you may have guessed, the audio to which I've linked is actually from a 1969 movie in which something does blow up.  A mediocre British film in the James Bond spy genre, it features robotic female assassins — an excuse to give the movie a titillating title and to feature Sydne Rome.

Some Girls Do aired on Pittsburgh channel 4.2 on March 6, 2010.  Surprisingly, I didn't get around to watching it until last year.  Talk about time-shifting!

You see, if I can't watch a broadcast when it airs, I record it for later viewing.  Nowadays I use the DVR built into my cable box.  In olden times I used video tapes that could be erased and reused, then DVD discs that could not. This particular disc, #226, was filed away unplayed.  One of my retirement projects is to catalog my boxes of discs, so last year I took the opportunity to view this movie for the first time.

What can I say about it?

The first victim, a senior aeronautics engineer, is sucked out of a jetliner when an evil beauty opens the emergency exit at high altitude.  (Of course, in real life that can't happen unless they're in a Boeing 737 Max 9 that has a few screws loose.)

 

I noticed a few futuristic-looking objects like Super-Sonic Transports.  Eight years before the airplane known as the Concorde entered regular service, bad guys are trying to sabotage the S.S.T.1.



And the movie's producer, dreaming of robotic women who did as they were told, had come up with the idea of a robotic maid — 34 years before the Roomba was introduced.

 

TBT

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