The Long Day’s Night

Saturday I worked from midnight until six a.m. then had to double back by 10 p.m. to work until six a.m. on Sunday. It didn’t end there. I had to return to work as scheduled on Sunday by six p.m. and work until midnight.

By this time I really needed to find the energizer bunny, but she…he …it was no place to be found.

Sunday nights I generally spend my time researching and vetting news items for the Morning Show on Monday. This entails writing, editing and finding sound bites to couple to at least six stories.

It didn’t go like that yesterday as I was lambasted by emergency alert system alarms for the first three hours of the shift. To understand how these work is a little more clinical than I could ever explain.

Simply put, the National Weather Service, State and Federal Emergency Agency or a Law Enforcement Agency sends out an emergency message to our station. These messages, as I understand it, are not broadcast to the public except through the TV ,cable and radio.

Our station is the first one to get these messages and it is our job to broadcast them. In fact, few know this, but this is the primary function any station and not the playing of music or other programs.

Last evening I was bombarded with alert messages for severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings, so I was sweating my butt off to make sure they were getting on the air. And since I had never done one in the entire year and some months I’ve been at the station, it was trial by fire.

Oh, for certain I had practiced, but one never knows how these sorts of things will go when it’s the real deal.

It got to the point that every time I heard a piece of equipment “click” or “clunk” or “clack,” I felt a wave of near-panic wash over me as I knew I was going to have to run around like a chicken with its head cut-off.  And by the time I was off-air, I was exhausted.

And instead of going home to sleep this waking nightmare off, I still had to sit down and do my regular duties involving news stories. And I didn’t hear any complaints from the boss, so I guess everything went okay.

The funny thing is, I came home early this morning and when I finally fell asleep, I dreamed all day-long about emergency alert system activations. Needless to say, I’m exhausted from working all day too.

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