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  • Writer's pictureRon Finnigan

Corncob Mike

Picture of an old microphone on a table stand, commonly referred to as a corncob mike.

Things are usually pretty quite on my late evening shift as I monitor the highly automated system that controls the broadcast of news, music and advertisements that are being broadcast to the local Moncton community. The logo of the large American chain that now owns us in the high-security lobby says it all. The day of human broadcasters is almost done. Machines have taken over. As I muse how things used to be, the main door to the control room bursts open with Andy, the security guard, entering followed by 12 burly, muscular men in black suits and ties and all wearing sun glasses. Andy is nervous, sweating profusely. And tells me these are White House security agents traveling with President George W Bush, and President Bush has asked for a tour of the new studio. I'm cool, calm and collected as I state emphatically that it's highly irregular, but I'll have to get permission. "Do it," says the head agent, and I pickup the 911 phone which rings to the CEO's phone no matter where in the world he is. I explain that George W wants to see the studio. He tells me no way, unless he agrees to an interview. Agent in charge grabs the phone from me saying "The president wants to see the studio." And then "No, only 5 minutes." Then he passes the phone back to me. The CEO tells me there is agreement for a 5-minute interview, and I'd better not blow it. He also tells me to interrupt all broadcasts with the automated emergency interrupt pre-announcement and then go live with the interview. A push of a few buttons and the lights come on in the small, rarely used broadcast booth as all outgoing broadcasts simultaneously stop and the "important announcement" music starts. The president and his entourage enter and, George, all smiles, walks into the studio and sits . As the recorded announcement booms the message "We interrupt this program to bring you important information..." I settle into the announcers chair and start. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. We are privileged to have President George W Bush visiting our city today, and he has decided to tour this humble radio station. President Bush, thank you for sparing a few minutes to speak with us." "No problem, " he responds. "I see you all have a pretty modern radio station here." I respond "We stopped using corncob mikes some time ago." At that point everything stops. The President looks perplexed while all the agents around me glare with hate. All I do is shine a big toothy smile. Suddenly he starts laughing. His agents whisper something to him, and he says, "That's pretty good, boy. Well I have to go." With that he's whisked away and I'm all alone in the studio again. I finish the broadcast by saying, "That was an interview with George W Bush, the President of the United States of America", and I punch the buttons to play "We will now return to our regular broadcast...", and the synthesized music and electronic engineers take over again. The red phone rings - it's the CEO laughing almost uncontrollable. "That was great, Mike." My name is Ron. "Corncob Mike, that was terrific. Did you get that on tape? I want you to make a million copies and make it available to every broadcast in the world." Andy comes back in saying the switchboard is going crazy. I tell the CEO this. He says he'll take care of it - just get those copies made, and he hangs up. So for once my shift is busy as the multi-duplicator spits out copy after copy of my 2-second interview. I later find out that CNN Headline News had my broadcast on the air minutes after I broadcast, and every newspaper in the world has front page headlines saying "President Interviewed by Corncob Mike". As I leave at the end of my shift, I'm mobbed by hundreds of reporters who want to know what I meant by the "corncob mike" expression. The radio station makes me change my name legally to Corncob Mike, and everyone calls me "Corncob" for short. At that point I woke up. I have no idea what any of this means.

Rondyn Musings Copyright © 2007 - all rights reserved.

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