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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2051653
My first solo radio broadcast - or maybe broadcast isn't the right word.
Back in my freshman year of college, I volunteered for the campus radio station. I'm quite shy and this was an effort to expand my horizons, boldly stepping out of my comfort zone to become more assertive and confident. The staff of course played it safe and gave me an hour easy listening, once per week, in the middle of the afternoon, when no one was listening.

My first show was spent being shown the ropes by Tim the station manager. He showed me how to operate the ancient control console which dated from the forties or fifties (I'm not exaggerating). There were two turntables. He showed me how to queue up records. There was a reel-to-reel tape player, a cartridge player for the station jingle, which if I recall correctly was an old eight track and a cassette player.

We went over my responsibilities which included a short weather update (I had a window and a thermometer for that) and some news clippings. I got to harvest my own news from the teletype machine.

My second show didn't go quite so smoothly. Yes, Tim showed me how everything worked, but a week is a long time to remember all the details. Besides that, I was completely on my own and unbelievably nervous.

I'm sure I was shaking like a leaf and near hyperventilating, while queueing up records over top of the music already playing. Between songs, I couldn't think of anything to say half of the time so I screwed up introductions. Probably played several songs at the same time or overlapping. I expected the phone to ring with some complaint about my incompetence. Worse I knew what I was doing wrong the moment I did it. By the end of the show I think I got the hang of flipping the right switches but I still kept one eye on the clock hoping I would survive to the end.

As the last minute of my show ticked away, I relaxed in my chair and stared at the big switch at the bottom of the control console. I wondered what it was for and feeling brave flipped it (I couldn't imagine things getting any worse). A light above the console came on that said, on air. No one heard my comedy of errors or my nervousness because my show had been an hour of dead air.

I did get the hang of it and had a few memorable shows with my friend Paul through the year. Won't reveal details of that in case anyone is still looking for us over some of those moments. Hey, we were freshman. Could they have expected maturity?

That was the end of my radio career though. The following year an audition was required and no one called me back.

Word Count: 444
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