Dead Air

Right now, I have 26 minutes and 46 seconds of dead air planned for this week's edition of "Need to Know." You don't have to be in broadcasting to know this plan is not a particularly good plan.

A few hours ago, I had a very solid show lined up. In fact, it was one that took me weeks to line up. I dropped my best suit off at the cleaner's this morning in preparation. It was that kind of show. However, an unexpected development means my guests are now unable to be here as scheduled.

It's not really cause for panic (I save that for when I misplace one of my children.) It does affect quite a few people though.

Every "Need to Know" program involves a director, a producer, an assistant director, an audio engineer, three camera operators, a floor manager, a teleprompter operator, an outside captioning company, a studio facilities manager, an operations manager, a traffic manager, a radio operations manager, a television programmer in Buffalo, a receptionist, an administrative assistant, and assorted others in publicity or new media. There's a good chance I've even left someone off this list.

Making a last minute change in a television production is like going on date with your extended family along for the ride. I am far from alone and few, if any, decisions I make are unilateral.

That said, the dead air is all mine to fill right now.

I've made some calls, and I'm sitting here waiting for the phone to ring. I don't have a date lined up yet, but I know the family is getting ready to go out.