Alone on the American Airwaves

E. Taylor

On July 13, 2017, I was the featured guest on a West coast syndicated radio show. I thought I was there to talk about my book with the host, but a technical problem would create an unforgettable moment which I really cannot remember.

I was originally scheduled to be on this show on May 4th, but due to unforeseen circumstances for the hosts, we had to reschedule. I had prepared notes for the show at that time, including some amusing Star Wars Day themed quips. but it was not to be.

I did little to prepare for the show the second time around, thinking that it would only increase my nervousness about  being on a nationally syndicated radio program. All the show notes, made back in May, lay in a pile on my desk. I told myself it would all come back to me once I settled into the conversation with the host.

Just prior to the show, the co-host called to do a sound check and to clue me in as to how the show would unfold. The producer would call a few minutes before the show was scheduled to begin. There would be a preamble from the host, my intro, and then the interview with a break at the bottom of the hour. Her accent was intoxicating, causing me to pay more attention to how she sounded than what she was saying.

The butterflies began when the producer called and placed me on hold. In my head I was saying to myself: Relax, be yourself, and try not to sound like a moron.

The show began pretty much as anticipated. However, I definitely felt as though the host was most interested in the more controversial “irreverent” passages from my book. I had hoped we would be discussing the more serious underlying themes of: awareness, equality, education, parenting, behaviors etc. but this was his show, and I had to play by his rules.

We authors are sensitive and can become defensive when we perceive criticism of our hard work or character. I was glad for the break; a chance to breathe and compose myself for round two. I was counted in and awaited something from my host.

There was dead air.

The producer came on the line; hurriedly he said: “We have lost their feed, JUST KEEP TALKING.” So much for the aforementioned composure. My mouth went dry. My mind raced. I was struggling to find a coherent thought when I realized my mouth was already speaking words.

I think I opened with: “Hello America”, then said something about the technical problem, something about my book, and something flattering about the host.

I have NO IDEA what I said.

My brain had turned to mush and my mouth was on auto-pilot. I was just able to perceive that noises were emanating from my mouth. I hoped they were intelligible, and not just grunts, squeals, and moans. This state lasted until the feed to the host station was restored and I again heard the host’s voice. It seemed like forever, but it was probably just a few minutes that I was left alone on the American airwaves.

Next time, I will read my show notes.

The edited show for rebroadcast & YouTube does not tell this story in its entirety, but you will get some sense of it when you listen.

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