Off Air

Well, that didn’t last long.

Due to circumstances beyond my, or even AnMiTh’s, control (the hosting company he was using for GameScribe closed its doors, giving him virtually no notice before shutting his servers down), On The Grid is now off the air.  It’s not likely to resume, as, in the wake of this disaster, AnMiTh has refocused on his new project, which is more closely tied to EVE Online, and doesn’t even involve a radio station anymore.  Can’t say as I blame him.

In truth, it turned out to be a lot of work to (a) do the show, (b) do it well, and (c) keep doing it on a regular basis.  It’s given me a new appreciation for those radio talk show hosts that do this week-in, week-out…or even do it five days a week.  Of course, they have armies of staffers, writers, and so forth to help things run smoothly, while I had basically me, myself, and I.  Let me explain what went into the program to show you what I mean.

The process would begin on Fridays (the day after the previous show went out), when I’d start looking for both news links and something to put into my second “feature segment.” (I started out trying to do three segments total, the news and two features, but Selena saw that it was basically too much and forced me to cut it back to just one.) Each show would get its own “notes” document on Google Documents where I’d record this information.  As it got closer to Thursday, I’d spend some time writing the segments themselves; I’d hold off writing the “news” segment till Wednesday night, to give me the maximum amount of time to find “fresh” news, but I’d write the “feature” segment as well as the “intro segment” before then.

Thursday morning, at work, I’d print out the completed “notes” page for that evening’s show and bring it home, where I’d spend some time that evening in SAM laying out the musical selections, as I would for a regular DJ set.  Of course, I’d lay it out in a strict format, using the appropriate “fill” and “title” tracks where required, as well as “silence” tracks to mark the points where I’d pause the playback so I could speak my pieces.  (The title music for On The Grid was supplied by Shi; it was an excerpt from her track “Escaping.”)  If you listened closely, you’d note that, amongst my eclectic choice of tracks, I always included three things:

  • A selection by Nightwish.
  • A selection by Marillion.
  • A selection by Shi (other than “Escaping,” that is).

Then I’d bring up all the programs I needed for the broadcast, across two different computers:

  • My regular broadcast rig (SAM, Frostwire, and an Explorer window to drag tracks from Frostwire into SAM when necessary).
  • The SL client, so I could get IMs with requests. (At first, I put myself at “home” in-world; later, I stationed myself at GameScribe’s building on Lexxotica.)
  • Firefox, with which I’d post the “Links” post to the show blog before airtime.
  • An IRC client, which tied into GameScribe’s Web chat system, so I could get requests that way.
  • TweetDeck, for additional connectivity and feedback.
  • Google Talk, which I used to communicate directly with AnMiTh and synchronize handoffs between his “jukebox” system and my broadcaster.

After that, it was just a matter of waiting for 8 PM my time, grabbing control of the GameScribe Radio server at the right time, then playing the music and speaking my pieces at the right times.  After giving control back to the jukebox and closing down things, though, I still wasn’t done.  I then took the “board tape” of the show (recorded as an MP3 file automatically, via an option on the encoder in SAM) and loaded it into Audacity, to transform it into the RePodCast of the program.  (“RePodCast” is a term I came up with, a portmanteau of “rebroadcast” and “podcast.”) The finished track had to be uploaded to the GameScribe server via FTP; regular browser-based uploads choke on files that size.  Then I’d do the “RePodCast” post on the blog, reprising the links as well as including the link to the file.  And then it would be time to…think about doing it all again next week.

And all this while I was doing my real job during the day, as well as putting in my usual time helping run Just After Sunset and doing the regular housekeeping.  Is it any wonder I started feeling like I was about to blow a fuse?

I’m not sorry I did it, though; it was a valuable experience.  But I don’t know if I’d want to put myself through that again.  And I hope at least some of you listened and enjoyed it.



Filed under On The Grid

6 responses to “Off Air

  1. I did enjoy it. Hopefully you will have another chance to get in that medium down the road since you took to it well.

    We will need to limit you to a play list as I covered in my blog entry, but that is really an industry standard and not an indication your selection of tunes was anything like a shotgun.

    Even if you do not go back, you’ve gotten a good life experience.

  2. Adric, I wish I’d seen your blog post about the show earlier, ‘cos I just fell over laughing. 🙂

    Why did I play so many songs juxtaposed like that? Well, I like to mix it up a bit, and OTG shows had no defined “musical theme,” so I just threw in what I thought was good, spreading it all over the map. Yes, I do listen to the songs on my iPod (iPhone now, actually) by doing a “Shuffle” on the entire music contents of the device. 🙂

    And I only give myself the “DJ” prefix when I’m DJ’ing an event in Second Life, in which case I’m “DJ CoolJ.” 🙂

  3. Oh, and as for “What the hell are they doing to Journey?”, I think you were hearing the Northern Kings’ cover of “Don’t Stop Believin'”.

    The Northern Kings are a Finnish metal supergroup consisting of four top musicians (including Marco Hietala of Nightwish and Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica) who have thusfar released two albums of 80’s hits covered and redone as Finnish symphonic power metal. I guess it’s an acquired taste. 🙂

  4. I am glad to hear there is a Finnish influence there as I had suspected much worse (Sweden).

    I was in the truck and that song came on, “I Want It That Way” and it just pulls you in and before I knew it I was all like “la la la I want that waaay” and the guy in a car over is laughing, I am eying the S&W in the glove box or bat in the back, but that damn light turned green.

    Turns out (as I suspected) it’s not the Backstreet Boys that draws you in (unless you are a fat 14 year old girl), that song and a lot of other catchy pop hits are the work of Swedish composers who somehow know how to get into American heads.

    Beware the swede…

    • Heh…if I’d heard “I Want It That Way” come on the radio, I’d be singing the lyrics to Weird Al’s parody of that song, “eBay.” But that’s just me, as Selena could tell you. (That sometimes gets on her nerves when I do it in the car.)

      • Yeah I would give you a dead glare or just roll my eyes when you done that or just reach over and lovingly pop you in the back of the head.

        You are crazy but I love you anyways lmao. I sometimes just for the hell of it with some songs just throw in certain words with certain songs.

        He does dj every friday night in our club on SL called Just After Sunset. :).

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