Ready to be home

It’s a friday afternoon and i’m stuck here at borderfest.  Just 3 and a half more hours and i get to be home with my wife.  I guess it’s not to bad.  just sitting at the broadcast table, better than being outside.  And it’s a break from being in the office.  Yesterday had to spend the entire day out with Ken driving to the transmitters.  All i needed was a lader and it wouldn’t fit in my car so i had to ride along with him.  The morning wasn’t to bad but then he gets on his rants and i just want end up tuneing him out.  can’t complain to much. he bought lunch.  didn’t close his mouth while he ate but he bought lunch at least.

tonight patti and i get to sit on the couch and watch Wednesay’s lost.  Saturday going back out to church to work on cleaning out my office again.  making slow progress, but progress none the less.  Also want to work on some cabling while i’m out there.

I need a vacation, i wonder what the weather is like out in new england this time of year.

A stay of execution

It looks like the calm wasn’t the end of it, but mearly time to make everyone wait it out. I’m really not worried.  Not that i think i’m imune from the hacket illness going around, or that i’m indespensible, I’m sure Ken could figure out how do do what i do around here.  It’s more a sense of reasurance.  No mater what goes down, we’re going to be able to get through it.  There’s no doubt about that.  January 20th looks like the current date set according to the news:

Wednesday, January 14th 2009

High anxiety around Clear Channel

January 20 Calendar Yep – January 20 sounds like the date Clear Channel’s planning to “do it.”

Yes, that is also Inauguration Day, and I’m again saying that it appears to be the day Clear Channel managers are instructed to take whatever personnel actions they’re going to. That’s what they were told at last week’s managers meetings in Dallas. Now – could that change, with an audible from San Antonio? Sure. But I’m increasingly confident that those personalized jump drives the market managers were handed contain the road map for what they’re supposed to do on January 20. That presumably would mean the RIFs would be taking place while most of the nation is watching the new president get sworn into office. How big are the rumored cuts? Are they really going to affect sales as much as or more than programming? Is there going to be more centralized “national programming” with the new 2009 budgets, and less local talent? I’ve heard and told you all those things, and we’ll just have to wait until next Tuesday, January 20 to start finding out. One former Clear Channel exec tells me “it’s a little sad that it’s dragging on so long there.” It must feel like purgatory.

So..  now it’s just wait and see.  Let’s try and get through this week.  Monday night was rehersal with the worship leader from Lakeland in florida, yesterday was the first service.  started at 7, by 9 they were starting the actual message.  and we have 6 days of this.  It’s going to be a long week.  And they are doing morning services too.  talk about burn out for my team.  after all of this, i’m thinking of postponing the sleep-over, work night.  This WILL be the last performance the mackie see’s in this building.  I’ll be putting in a 24 channel VLZ in it’s place until the Venue get’s here.  I’ve already preconfigured the system on my laptop.  when it does get here, after the physical instlation, all that will be left to do is transfer the config file on a usb drive and we’ll be in bussiness.

Lunch Today

I haven’t had lunch with the group in a while.  Today a bunch of us decided to go out together.  Some of which i’ve never eaten with before.  The topic of discussion was pretty much the uncerentiy of tommrow.

From radio-info..

At Clear Channel – Scared GMs, scared staff.

Are 1,000 people going to be cut? That was one story circulating last night. It sounds like a huge number, and it certainly is a helluva lot of warm bodies. But if you think about the sheer scale of Clear Channel, which has hundreds and hundreds of stations, that’s an average of 1 or 2 per station – though some stations are at skeleton-level now. The two-day managers meeting in Dallas began Tuesday with each GM being handed a thumb drive that presumably held the market-specific data – budgets and cuts? – they’d need going forward. There’s also a story (which I can’t verify) that Tuesday night’s traded-out dinner was pretty skimpy – leading some to go back to their hotel room and hit up room service. As T-R-I said earlier – I don’t know which is worse – to be the manager under the gun in a tough economy and with new owners. Or to be the staff back home, biting their lips and waiting to hear about the fate of their stations and colleagues. More to come.

Our GM returns tommrow.  Everyone around here is just waiting.  One of the ladies was talking about this with her family yesterday.  The kids were asking what they were going to do.  She responded, “When one door closes another opens” The oldest sister responded “then why is [our brother’s] door locked”  Poor guy, we’re always picking on him.

Ghost of Christmas Past?

So.. Patti got her new job. After talking to her today you could hear the smile in her voice.  I love her so much.  And she deserves it.. a good job that is.  I willingly give her my love.  that’s nothing that she’s earned.

Things in my office are not quite as glee.

From radio-info

Clear Channel managers go into today’s Dallas meeting knowing…very little.

“They’ve been told nothing”, is the refrain I hear from several folks, and it’s hard to decide whether it’s better to be a GM in that position – knowing you’ll be handed lists grading your own people drawn up by outsiders – or to be a station employee, anxiously waiting back home. We know at least one Clear Channel GM who won’t be attending John Hogan’s not-so-merry gathering – Providence GM Jim Corwin. He’s now (as the famous phrase goes) “no longer with the company.” Corwin’s been overseeing the cluster that includes classic hits “B101” WWBB and rocker WHJY (94.1) for five years.

So.. the meetings out.. and we haven’t’ heard anything official yet.  Rumors are talking about 20% workforce reduction, other rumors are even larger.  I’m not to worried about it right now.  I mean, what’s the point.  I was able to see the miraculous ways God took care of Patti, and i know he’ll take care of me.  Whether it’s where i am now, or somewhere else.

Order# 8331376

That’s the order number for the new DigiDesgin Venue console.  Got the approval yesterday and put the order in today.  I’ve made several large electronic purchases in my days but it’s always surreal when you sign the dotted line to an order that cost more than i make in a year.  (for now at least) Now it’s just a mater of waiting.  It’s all showing up via freight line since it’s to big to use Fedex or UPS.  I can use the time in-between to load the software on my computer and start learning the in’s and out’s of it. This thing is amazing.

The Eric Ryan Corporation

ERC as we have come to know them around here hired company wide to audit our utilities and find ways to save us (the company) some money. Well. All that they were able to find that they could save us on was an old cell phone that was no longer be used but still be charged to us. came up to about $75 buck a month.
Well now they are charging us $25 each month and appear to want to continue billing us for the next three years!

At least with the cell phone charge i was actually getting something for it.

going on…

What’s been going on the life of john? Last week just before i was heading out for the thanksgiving break, quite literally, i saw a package up front. It was the Audemat FMB80. I had been waiting for several years to get one of these and it finally arrived. And of course, i just had to go install it right then and their. So off i went to the KBFM transmitter and plugged this puppy in. it does so much more than the old inovonics 711 we had in their. If you have an RDS on your fm reciever, you can tune in KBFM and see the difference.
I also began working on a problem here at work. Well.. i don’t know about a problem, but a new project. I have a screen here where i can watch the call logs coming in and out of the station. I started monitoring the logs to trace traffic. what was being used, where, and how often. Mostly to help me size up the system and help me find what to get rid of and what to keep. Well after all those cost saving things have been implemented now i just watch to make sure no errors come up or any strange calls.
Well. After all this time i can look at them at a glance and i can recognize normal activity and ab-normal activity. This was strange.. 20 minute calls into one of the stations request lines. Which meant the person who called, called on the toll-free number.. meaning we were picking up the tab on that. and not just one call but several long calls. So began my quest for setting up a routing table to test the caller-id information and treat the call based on that. I think i got that problem nipped in the bud. I’ve taken it a step further and wanted to setup some pre-recorded announcements. But i wanted them to sound like the official “if you want to make a call.. please hang up and dial again” (why else would i have picked up the phone?) So i started looking around for some recordings and found this one i think i may have to employ during april fools on one of the station numbers.
[audio:25cents.mp3]

The past weeks

not the way i would have liked to have spent them.  It all started with a small leak.  Amanda called me in and told me about this.  I could tell from the start that it was a small leak but needed immediate attention.  It could easily get bad.  I called several companies to get estimates from.  They never came by.  Finally i got one to come over and they qouted like.. 4 thousand to get it done.  of course they didn’t want to pay that much.  So we found some shade-tree guy who would do it for 1500.  Great.  Yeah.. you get what you pay for.  It rains again.. and i get a call from Hitman, it’s leaking again.  I get to the studio and sure enough.. there are new leaks in new places. after a “new roof” was put on.  He had covered up all the equiptment with tarps.. and put buckets up.  Some of the buckets were on top of equiptment racks and filling up quick.  I had to come up with a way to keep the buckets from willing up.  The guy comes back.. and does some more work. And it rains again.  This time though they don’t put the tarps up.  I get there and as we walk down the hall to the studio you can smell the mildew.  Stuff’s beeping, lights are flashing, speakers are crackling.. i was going to start unpluging things but when i looked at the outlet boxes they were in a puddle of water themselves.  I just went for the breaker after that.  So.. Again with the tarps and buckets.  Did our best to clean up what we could but it was a mess.   They made another movie.. they guy came back and redid his redo of his work.  The morning show took over Billy’s oldies studio.  not without billy totally fliping out about it first though.  We cleaned up most of it today.  It’s starting to resemble some normalicy.

We lost two flat panel monitors, a shortcut 360, a getner t216, um.. a IIN-60 board on the console.  about 15 roof tiles and the carpet.  All of which could have been spared if they had gone with the reputable roofer in the first place.

And while i’m on the subject of reputiable vendors, we had this guy sell us this copy machine.  Actually had had already sold us a copy machine.  after about 5 years of service it was starting to quit.  He blamed it on the fact that it wasn’t on a dedicated 20amp breaker.  Ok.. fine.. whatever.. after 5 years it starts acting up because of that but what-ever.  So we install the circut.. he installs a new copy, fax, print, scan(er).  Ok.. done deal.  It copies, but in order to make it scan you have to purchase extra licences for it to make it do that.  Ok.. fine.. we install the licence and it scans.  really fast too.  i’m happy.  until i try and print to it.  It’s not printing.  i spend about two days pulling all my tricks on it.  it won’t work. the vendor is clueless.  he doesn’t know why or makes up reasons why which make no sense.  i call canon, the manufacture.  “i’m sorry, that’s a vendor services piece of equiptment, he can help you” i try and explain, no he can’t.  they just say hire another vendor.  argh.  so i call him back, he sends a computer guy he hires sometimes to fix his problems and he can’t figure it out.  ARGH.  so frustrating.  so today he calls and im’ already upset because of everything else that’ sbeen going on.  He makes up an excuse, uh.. the scan print licence is only a trial one. you’ll need to purchase the full licence.  (Ok, so if w’ere just using a trial version, then i should be atleast about to TRY it) he doesn’t have a clue of course.

The bright side of all this, i can get two (maybe 4) new flat panels for the studio.  the old phone systems in the studios are not even made anymore so we can replace them with some decent equiptment.  i was hoping to replace the console to with a router compatible system but no such luck there.  *sigh*

ketchup

it’s been a few days since i’ve said anything on here so here’s the latest.  I really don’t like BBVA aka, Compass Bank.

I’m sure they are not mean people or anything, and i’m sure that their banking practices work… but Patti put it best, People in the valley are backwards.  They do not work like the rest of the world.  When it comes to customer service, people in the valley are really spoiled.  (not including the customer service (or lack of) from Time Warner Cable, but that’s mostly do to the fact that their is not other cable provider willing to come down here.. but that’s another post)  I enjoy the benefits of a community bank.  I like being able to walk into my local branch, know the ladies in the lobby and have them address me as i walk in by my name.  I like being able to call a local customer service number and talk to someone who probably live near by where i live and speaks a language that i speak and fluently.  I don’t want to have to pay for extras like Internet Banking.  I like knowing that if i deposit cash, that i can withdraw that same cash the same day.  I don’t like being charged for each direct deposit i get.  just to name a few.  yeah, i guess the valley has grown on me and i’ve gotten spoiled too.  I spent a few weeks shopping around for new banks.  Frost had two neat features, 1 was a online-only bank account.  I heard about these when i was working for a bank a few years ago.  No brick and mortar banks.  everything is done electronically.  They even gave you interest on your checking account.  They also had another account that would reimburse your atm fees from other banks.  I looked at several other banks but in the end, the one we chose to move all of our accounts to was First National Bank.  It’s a pain having to change all the direct deposits and auto debits but consolidating everything has been something i’ve been wanting to do for a while anyway. 

What else has gone on… Patti, Tori and Randall are all sick.  The Flu is what they are calling it.  Needless to say, it hasn’t been to fun at home.  Hopefully they will start feeing better soon. 

Hurricane IKE doesn’t seam to be heading our way anymore.  Grant it, i love the fun of being in the middle of it all.  Putting my skills to the test.  Being away from home really stinks.  During Gustav, i got to enjoy it from the comfort of my bed, getting our Louisiana stations on their backup systems.  Our Corpus stations may encounter some trouble.  I’ll be in my pajama’s ready if they need. 

During all the research i was doing looking for banks, i saw that a few of them had some openings.  I threw my resume out there to see if i could find something closer to home.  After almost 6 years this drive is getting old.  Also not seeing any sort of raise in 6 years is also pretty despairing.  And corporate is telling us to cut even more during this last quarter.  So.. looking forward to things changing around here doesn’t seam to promising.