Sunday, May 24, 2009

The best way to spend a Sunday afternoon

I’m sitting in a radio studio on the second floor of the CBC building on a Sunday afternoon. As the clock above turns to 4:04:40, a 20-second countdown begins to flash in red.
3, 2, 1…

“I’m Rex Murphy, and you’re listening to Cross-Country Check Up.”

Cue epic music. And my skwinkling.

I’ve been listening to CCCU for as long as I can remember. My dad, a huge Rex Murphy fan, had me tuned to the show before my young, sponge-like brain knew what it was absorbing. I remember many afternoons in dad’s art studio, wrapped in an old plaid workshirt and painting many a watercolour while my father worked away beside me at his easel with his acrylics. I was his de facto audience when he needed to rant on the week’s topic. And, while most of it likely went in one ear and out the other as I toiled away on my next unicorn masterpiece, I like to think that my young mind grasped at least a bit of Rex’s wisdom along with my dad’s lectures. Well, that and a strong affection for the music of Tom Cochrane and the Eagles.

Mere seconds after Rex gave the week’s topic, the three phones to the right of the production booth jumped to life.

“Hello, this is Cross-Country Check Up. May I ask where you’re calling from?”

The booth worked like a well-oiled machine, with the phone operators taking careful notes on yellow cards that were then handed to the producer, who would vet the callers and arrange the lineup. The cards then made their way to the senior producer, who would enter the information into the computer that would send it to Rex in the studio.

My friend Jeff, who gladly came along when I promised Rex Murphy, looked around wide eyed. “It’s like an election war room.”

The energy of a live call-in show is remarkable and very different from pre-recorded shows or even live studio shows like GO. And there’s a healthy feel of democracy to it as well, which warms my young idealistic spirit.

When I got to meet Rex after the show, I could barely keep up. The man is so sharp, it’s frightfully intimidating. But such is the price one pays for meeting one’s heroes, I suppose…

No comments:

Post a Comment