Chaos in Print: The Further Adventures of the Scarecrow – Excellent Adventures Edition Part II

Greetings, y’all! For those of you who missed the last issue, this is our story thus far….

Our esteemed editor and I were headed into the city for a day of fun and adventure at The A Channel and the Bear. All throughout our adventure at the A Channel, I confided to our editor that I felt like I had come across as Gomer from the sticks, just wandering around clicking pictures with an awe-struck look on my face. I came across as though I had never seen this level of technology and was just that quiet guy with the blank expression. For more details, see last issue. Our editor had convinced me that things would be different at the Bear, so we climbed aboard Amy (my name for our editor’s car) and we headed off to the Bear with renewed hope that I would no longer be a Gomer.

(Imagine that computer voice from Star Trek saying this next line) And now, the conclusion.

A quick trip across town, and we were at the lobby of the Bear. We had to wait a few minutes for our tour guide to show up, so we struck up a conversation with the rock group Random Dolmans. They seem like a cool group, and they gave our editor a copy of their CD. (I’ll have to borrow it for my show) Shortly after that, Matt Mauler, Assistant Program Manager and our tour guide showed up, we found out that he would be interviewing the group, and we would get to sit in. That was definitely a delightful bonus. They were in the recording booth, we were in the control room. Man, the sound quality was way better than in our own little CLCR. I mean, if we had at least half the technology to run our station that they have, we would probably have the same number of listeners, but we would have better sound quality.

With the interview done with, Matt now took us around the station. The most amazing thing I saw was their CD room. I mean, if we think that CLCR has a lot of CDs, then the Bear doesn’t have very many. Yes, the Bear’s CD vault was surprisingly small. When asked why, Matt responded that all the old stuff that no one listens to anymore gets boxed up and shoved in the basement. Makes organizing things a lot easier, too (not that I’m implying that the Bear’s CD room was organized). Oh, and they probably do have more when you consider that they have seven of those CD jukeboxes, each filled to capacity, and that’s what goes out on the air.

Yup, seven of those CD jukeboxes. In their programming room, they had those seven hooked up to a computer, and that’s where the program director programs what goes on the air. He even indicated which jukebox was currently playing the on-air CD, and I had to resist the temptation to shake the hell out of that jukebox. I also discovered that the DJs have no say in what gets air play. It is all up to the program director. And, if that weren’t enough, he also has to meet the CRTC CanCon regulations. Each day has to have at least 25% Canadian music, and the week has to have a total of 30%. If not, they can get charged. Since it’s all computerized records, they get frequently audited. It was here that our little old CLCR started to seem a lot better. The DJs are the bosses of their shows. We are so small that we do not have to worry about Canadian Content. We can do about whatever the hell we want and get away with it. The reality of real radio stations is it is so structured, organized, and regulated that there is little room for individuality or creativity. But, I again digress.

From here, it was into the DJ booth, where we got to see the on-air personalities work their magic. As we were completely silent, I got to take pictures of the DJ and the news guy reading out what song is up next, and the latest traffic report. It wasn’t as de-mystifying as visiting The A Channel. It appeared mostly like the set-up at CLCR, only more techonlogically simplified. So, no offence to the Bear staff, but it was nothing special. The only thing that was special is, when I was backing up to take a picture, I almost knocked over this entire shelf of CDs, and once again feeling totally out of place.

Well, the tour was ended, and back to Matt’s office. We asked our last few questions as we just basically killed time. I had no questions, so you’ll have to read our editor’s article for the truly informative stuff. If there is one thing I did learn from just being the fly on the wall that I was, it is that the real world of radio is a real cutthroat world, and you have to be tough and determined to get anywhere in it. If you just want to do it for fun, then you are way better off with CLCR.

As we returned to Amy, our editor leaned over to me and said “Now you seemed like Gomer from the sticks.” So I almost knocked over a shelf of CDs. And a mike stand. And I stumbled around a few times. OK, when we entered the Bear, I turned into Serenia from Sailor Moon and was tripping over everything. But I persevered. I realized, as our editor broke into Amy to liberate his locked-in keys, that everyone has their bad moments. The doors unlocked, and the keys liberated, we boarded our transport and drove off into the night. Our excellent adventure had come to a close, and I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the entertainment industry, the industry I wish to be a part of. I was also relieved that Gomer’s day in the city had come to an end.

Don’t forget. If you didn’t like this column, then you probably won’t like my show, Chaos in a Box with the Scarecrow, Wednesdays at 9 on CLCR. And check out my new website:

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