The good people over at the Neil Rogers Show Facebook Group reminded me I was running board the night Stan Major chatted with Cynthia Geary back in 1992 when Geary was a smoking hot commodity in the land of Hollywood. I had mentioned it before nearly three years ago in this blog, but this might be a good time to revise and extend my remarks, as they often say up on Capitol Hill.
The best nights you can have as a board operator, especially when you’re board operating a show all by yourself, is when you don’t have to worry about callers, either in quantity or quality. You always have to keep an ear to the show while doing everything that needs to be done, because you never know whether or not you have to hit that “dump” button in case someone says one of those seven dirty words you can’t say on the radio.
A brief explanation if you don’t know what a dump button is: it basically puts the show up on a seven-second delay that builds from zero once you activate it in the normal gaps there are while speaking on a talk show. If someone says one of those words that makes the FCC cry (George Carlin did a famous monologue as to what those words are, and there are seven of them), you hit the dump button, and it jumps seven seconds ahead to the live portion of the show, and builds up the seven seconds again. The key to the whole thing is to remove the caller immediately (by “potting down” the caller on a series of sliders, or in the old days, small circular pots) so that he or she can’t use any more dirty words, because once you hit the dump button, the delay needs a few moments to a few minutes to build back up.
After Stan makes contact with the Northern Exposure people, we get this call from Jim in Anchorage, Alaska. Let’s just say it’s the most memorable call I’ve ever had running the board, kind of like Neil Rogers and his famous “Bridge Tender” call or Bob Lassiter and his “Mr. Airstream” call.
I’m listening to this call and I type into the computer to our old TRS-80 computer to Stan that this guy sounds like Mr. Rogers, and Stan runs with the idea. Every single solitary word Jim says is cracking Stan up, and I’m the control room I’m nearly rolling on the floor laughing.
While Jim calls, the 813 hotline rings and I hear this sweet, youthful voice. Cynthia Geary, I presume, and I presumed correctly. I’m usually suspicious when we get celebrity callers because on an overnight talk show it’s easy to get people claiming to be something they are not. Considering Stan had just given out the hotline, logic prevailed.
Having a lot of calls makes for a busy night. Having a lot of calls and some quality ones to boot make for a GREAT night.
Amazing that Netflix, considering they have a lot of CBS shows from the past in their lineup, hasn’t put up Northern Exposure yet. Probably something that will happen in due time.