After several years of searching, I finally stumbled upon one of the first pro audio jobs I ever did. Below is an aircheck tape from WCBD, 1986. I started there around ’84, and it took awhile for me to move up to the audio chair. And after I survived the “practical joke*” by the commercial switchers, I managed to hold onto the position for several years.
*The way it worked at Channel 2 (most stations, probably) is we’d have an on-air switcher in Master Control… his job was to make sure all the commercials aired according to the schedule. A few minutes before the newscast, we would ask for “control,” where the Production Dept would get audio and video control of the signal, and the little red On Air light on the console would illuminate, and I’d punch the audio on the ADM audio console, and Tim Coghill (Director) would switch the video on a Grass Valley video switcher in the booth next door. They would take back control during the commercial breaks, then throw it to us just before we went on.
I remember having meeting with the news director where he would ask “Why is the audio bad?” I didn’t know what he was talking about. Then one night in the middle of the newscast, I happened to notice that the little red light wasn’t on. I said in the intercom, “I don’t have control… why don’t I have control?” and the little red light suddenly blinked on.
What was happening was that Chuck (Mikell) and the other switcher (Earl, I think) thought it would be funny to take audio control and screw around with the volume. I was brand new, and it was all I could do to keep up with the script, so I never thought to look at the on-air light. I think Chuck got a few days off, and the mysterious complaints from the news director stopped.
Chuck was a lot less curt towards me after that, and we became good friends after I went to a reggae show downtown one night. I think I went either by myself, or maybe with Kyle Meadows… but at any rate I was practically the only white person in the place. Chuck was there, and found it hilarious ( “Oh, SHIT… skinny white sound guy diggin’ de reggae…”) he nicknamed me “Rasta” from then on.
Sadly, Big Chuck Mikell died of a heart attack when he was only 49.
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