Odd Thoughts: Radio best left to the radio stars

I made a conscious decision many years ago, when I first got into this journalism thing that I’ve been doing for the past three decades and a bit.

I decided that I would stick to print, and leave television to those with prettier faces than mine.

And then there’s radio.

While some of you may question the wisdom of my choice to write words for a living, anyone who caught my short stint on CBC Radio on Friday afternoon will at least understand why I chose writing instead of speaking.

My hat goes off to folks like Stephen Quinn and his crew who did an admirable job of not letting me sound like a total moron (at least I hope that’s what they did) during our short interview at McBurney’s Coffee & Tea House in downtown Langley City.

We spoke about some of the big issues affecting the Langleys as part of the CBC’s local stop on its “In Your Neighbourhood” series.

Time was short, as there were lots of other folks more important than I to talk to – for instance a few of Langley’s fistful of prominent provincial cabinet ministers.

But short certainly suited my style – my “radio style,” that is (once again, regardless of what you may think of my “print style”).

We didn’t get much further than a few mentions of the burgeoning development that Langley has been grappling with since (and in fact, a long time before) I came to town about 35 years ago.

We (I was joined across the desk from Stephen by Monique Tominga from the Dark Side of Langley’s community news scene) noted that growing pains, while perhaps not as effectively mitigated as could be, were inevitable, considering the very scope of changes that have taken place.

For instance, I managed to dredge up from my memory the fact that the total population on the two Langleys in the late 1970s was shy of 80,000 souls.

Now there are in the neighbourhood of 130,000 people living in our neighbourhoods.

And TransLink.

We also spoke about TransLink and transportation.

Nasty, rotten, dirty, low-down TransLink and the problems it foments in the nether reaches of its domain.

Actually, a few adjectives were about all we had time for – but I think we got the point across.

And next thing you know, we were done.

Actually, the whole show was done. Temporarily.

We experienced a break that offered an insight for those present just how professional those radio guys are.

Moments after our segment was concluded, and Stephen’s mellifluous voice was segueing into the next segment… my earphones went dead.

Ahhh! I figured it was a signal that I was done and I should politely vacate my seat at the table.

But what was happening was much darker and more sinister than that.

We’d become unplugged.

It was fascinating. We’ve all heard our radio go dead at one time or another – no voices, no music, no sound. Nothing.

What those of us at McBurney’s got to witness on Friday afternoon was the sudden flurry of quiet, purposeful activity that explodes into the dead air.

It’s not the panic that you might expect – at least not visible panic. Just purposeful, logical motion.

And in moments, the air was alive again.

Another learning experience!

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