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Markymark6,974 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
I was at an OB a few years ago, where a Producer was standing in the Satellite truck - leaning against the wall. He was holding onto the a rail in front of the breakers, and did actually knock one off - taking the programme off air! Luckily, it wasn't the circuit that had the satellite coder/HPA on it, and TX was restored quite quickly. It's been a talking point since!


A colleague (very wisely) once stopped me from using the USB port on the aircon control PLC on an OB truck tailboard to charge my phone from mid broadcast. He was quite right too, given the chaos of suddenly having Windows XP and ios being shoved together !
BBC TV Centre3,110 posts since 4 Jan 2003
I was at an OB a few years ago, where a Producer was standing in the Satellite truck - leaning against the wall. He was holding onto the a rail in front of the breakers, and did actually knock one off - taking the programme off air! Luckily, it wasn't the circuit that had the satellite coder/HPA on it, and TX was restored quite quickly. It's been a talking point since!


A colleague (very wisely) once stopped me from using the USB port on the aircon control PLC on an OB truck tailboard to charge my phone from mid broadcast. He was quite right too, given the chaos of suddenly having Windows XP and ios being shoved together !

I secretly do love a breakdown as it means we can hear what filler music they have - guess there's no more 'Against the clock' by Murray Munro then (!). Sorry, that was such a TVF comment to make haha. I have not posted for a long time! Laughing

Whilst not TV related I do have my own cautionary tale involving USBs. I managed to take off the onair studio of a radio station as I unplugged someone's USB stick that they were playing music off, and crashed the playout software.

I had brought in some music on a USB stick to play off - I hadn't been in this studio for a number of years and they had upgraded the computers to ones that had USB ports quite close together. Luckily I had some CDs to play so we filled whilst a tech came and reset the computer.

The takeaway from the story...if it's plugged in, leave it the f.ck alone, if it's not plugged in don't plug it in. Wink
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JasonB5,112 posts since 20 Sep 2003
London London
I was at an OB a few years ago, where a Producer was standing in the Satellite truck - leaning against the wall. He was holding onto the a rail in front of the breakers, and did actually knock one off - taking the programme off air! Luckily, it wasn't the circuit that had the satellite coder/HPA on it, and TX was restored quite quickly. It's been a talking point since!


A colleague (very wisely) once stopped me from using the USB port on the aircon control PLC on an OB truck tailboard to charge my phone from mid broadcast. He was quite right too, given the chaos of suddenly having Windows XP and ios being shoved together !

I secretly do love a breakdown as it means we can hear what filler music they have - guess there's no more 'Against the clock' by Murray Munro then (!). Sorry, that was such a TVF comment to make haha. I have not posted for a long time! Laughing

Whilst not TV related I do have my own cautionary tale involving USBs. I managed to take off the onair studio of a radio station as I unplugged someone's USB stick that they were playing music off, and crashed the playout software.

I had brought in some music on a USB stick to play off - I hadn't been in this studio for a number of years and they had upgraded the computers to ones that had USB ports quite close together. Luckily I had some CDs to play so we filled whilst a tech came and reset the computer.

The takeaway from the story...if it's plugged in, leave it the f.ck alone, if it's not plugged in don't plug it in. Wink


It's not a breakdown as such but a radio broadcast i was involved with was taken off air due to a fire alarm. It was loud you could hear it over the presenters music bed. We switched back to automation while we stood outside for 30 minutes.
"623058 The whole thing has been a dump squirt."
Steve in Pudsey10,178 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Luckily I had some CDs to play so we filled whilst a tech came and reset the computer


My student radio days were in the era when CDs were new fangled technology, and not quite as bombproof as that Tomorrow's World piece would have you believe. I would always make a point of making sure that any piece of studio kit that I wasn't planning to use (eg turntables, tape machines) still had something cued up, which was a source of some amusement to my colleagues, but funnily enough, my shows never fell off air or had big gaps while they simultaneously padded and found some means of getting some audio on air.

It always amazes me that a similar belt and braces approach of having a CD in the machine and ready to go isn't standard practice in these days of computer playout where there always seems to be a hell of a lot of eggs in one basket.
Write that down in your copybook now.
Inspector Sands13,763 posts since 25 Aug 2004

It always amazes me that a similar belt and braces approach of having a CD in the machine and ready to go isn't standard practice in these days of computer playout where there always seems to be a hell of a lot of eggs in one basket.

There is.... it's called Coast!


If things are still the same as they were when I worked in playout, every live programme has something scheduled as a standby, usually of varying lengths and something that could replace the whole duration. So there is stuff ready to go, in the days of tape the directors would pick a few standbys to be loaded up in case*, it was just one less thing to worry about if they're needed

The thing is though that they have to be really sure it's going to be a lengthy breakdown to use the standby. No good starting a 10 minute episode of Coast if the line is fixed 30 seconds after it starts. Then again they don't want lots of very short programmes as the director is busy enough


*I remember one standby for a daily programme had been loaded up and left cued so many times that the tape had worn out at the cue point.
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 24 April 2017 9:18pm - 2 times in total
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Steve in Pudsey10,178 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I was thinking more of radio then TV. But then, Coast isn't infallible - I seem to recall a bemused sounding Delroy Haines apologising when the sound was distorted on an episode of Coast which was shown (and swiftly pulled) when Lambing Live fell off air.

I can't find the post now, but apparently at one time Radio 2's emergency tape started with "Red Light Spells Danger" (see where they did there?), and you could tell whether it was just being played as a regular track or if the emergency tape had kicked in as the latter had a load of digital artefacts and dropout from the DAT failing due the oxide falling off the tape where it had been laced up for years.
Write that down in your copybook now.
robertclark1251,409 posts since 13 Jan 2009
STV Central Reporting Scotland
I still like the old BBC Scotland Ceefax tape which lasted up till Digital switch over. I just found the network choices dull and uninspiring

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4ZWrHaQ-mU


Thank you - glad someone appreciated it. I compiled a total of 8 discs of music for our CEEFAX opt-outs, and they seemed to go down well.


They should be released as a CD - "Now that's what I call Ceefax"!
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