Wednesday, August 8, 2007

....and I bring you...FIRE!

With thanks to the Crazy World of Arthur Brown for the lyric. Go find this song and listen to it. My Dad used to scare the hell out of me with that 45.

I'll get to my main post in a minute...

But I've been given another blog award! I'll have to redesign the sidebar to make all this stuff fit. This one comes from Poetess with Humour:

I am now a Thoughtful Blogger Times Two. I'm still not sure where I'm going to put it, or who I would pass it to, as I think just about everyone on my blog roll has this award from someone. Either way, thank you Poetess! If you haven't checked out her blog, head over there. She writes some amazing poetry, and has a gift for putting almost anything into rhyme.

A little while back, Rotten Correspondent had asked for some radio stories, and I've been wracking my brain trying to think of one that might be even remotely interesting to someone not in radio. So, gather 'round, my children and I shall tell you the tale of ....

The Great Wake Up Crew Fire of 2004

A few years back, we were living in Memphis. I was sort of the all-around part-timer. I did production (commercials to the layman), I did traffic reports, sometimes a newscasts here and there, and I filled in for vacationing and sick air talent.

One of my gigs was to fill in for the female voice on our classic rock station's morning show, "The Wake Up Crew". It was fun. The guys were obnoxious, but in a sweet DJ kind of way. There were lots of boob jokes, jokes about sex, and jokes about the mayor of Memphis who was affectionately referred to as King Willie. I liked doing mornings with these guys, although I was acutely aware of my "role". My role was to read a sixty second news cast at the top of each hour for three hours, and to aurally nod and laugh at whatever anyone else said. There was no star billing here, and I was cool with that.

Our group of stations had recently moved into a new building outside of downtown. We were up on the top floor, the fourth one. One of the elevators kept getting stuck, and they'd been testing the fire alarms all that week. It was really annoying, especially because they'd beep for a second and then stop. I had just finished doing my 8 a.m. news when the damn things went off again. Now, in a studio, we don't hear the screaming of the alarm (makes for bad radio, y'know), but we do have an annoying strobe light that flashes fast enough to send any epileptic into a seizure. So it flashed. And flashed. And flashed. And it wouldn't stop.

I started to get nervous, throwing Tim these "Shouldn't we be doing something about this?" looks, checking over my shoulder. During a commercial break, I poked my head out into the hall, and the sound was deafening. No one knew what was going on, so we started talking about it on the air. "Bad Dog" (second guy on the show), took his cell phone and volunteered to find out what all the hubbub was. "Bad Dog" called back in a just a few seconds from the bottom of the stair well.

Turns out, the elevator was on fire. The elevator that kept getting stuck. The elevator I had ridden up to the fourth floor at five o'clock that morning.

"Dog" had already taken the advice of management and evacuated the building, leaving me and Tim, and Brian our producer/phone screener upstairs, on the air, with the fire alarm blaring in the background. Once it had been established that there was in fact a fire, I yanked my headphones off, told all our listeners to have a nice day, and got the hell out of there. I think I had made it to the bottom stair before Tim had managed to put on Peter Frampton "Do You Feel Like I Do?" and the station into automation.

We were eventually given the all clear, and made it back up in time before Frampton was over. I then got to be heckled by Tim and Dog for being so scared (fire and elevators are two of my biggest phobias), but I was not the object of derision for long. It turns out, one of our Traffic and Continuity people, Judy, was stuck in the elevator where the fire had happened. The fire was actually in the elevator shaft, just below where she was. It was a minor fire, just some scorched insulation and wiring, but the elevator was stuck just shy of the fourth floor. So what does Dog do? He walks down there and calls her cell phone. She wisely refused to go on the air with us. Judy wasn't a small woman, but they managed to get her up through the hatch in the roof of the elevator.

I took the stairs for the next six months.

If you want audio of this, I have it saved somewhere, and I'll be happy to e-mail it to you, since I still haven't found a reliable audio host yet. If y'all find one, let me know.


auntie barbie said...

When I was a kid your dad played that song non-stop, and to this day I still love it! Is it any wonder we are as demented as we are? I'm sure it was his influence on us as children ;)

bellevelma said...

Crud. Being caught in a fire is my worst fear. Has been since I was a kid. Probably from seeing a neighbor's house burn down. Geez I hope I don't dream about that tonight since you just awakened old memories. Urg.

Dumdad said...

Congrats on award!

Fire is a great song and was so ahead of its time.

Your story gave me a "lift." (That only works in English-English not American-English!)

Jen said...

auntie barbie , did he used to play it for you just as you were about to go to sleep, or doing something quiet? Yep. That's Dad.

bellevelma I've been through a few fires. My mom fricaseed the kitchen, my brother was playing with a lighter one day and set our bedroom on fire, I came home to a smoldering apartment a few years ago; horrid things. The thing that scared me most was that I'd been in a building on fire for over 20 minutes and no one told me!

dumdad A rimshot for my English friend, please! And I'm so glad that other people remember that song. My husband looked at me like I was insane when I told him about it.

mjd said...

Even though I was around in 1968, I do not remember this tune. You are right; it is scary. Taking the stairs sounds like a good plan after that experience. I am not wild about elevators either. When I get in an elevator and the doors close, I immediately fear that the elevator will get stuck between floors.

Congratulations, on your additional award, you are indeed a thoughtful blogger.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I'll have to hunt down the song your dad played, because if I've ever heard it I don't remember. I hate anything having to do with fire and I hate not knowing what's going on, so I completely understand your reaction. Ick.

Congrats on the new award for the mantle. You do indeed make people think.

Are you going to hold me to the Hollywood stories now????

Dad said...

Yep. That's Dad. By the way, I still call it a lift.

Flutterbot said...

Congrats on your award miss jen! Man you are an award winnin' fool! I'm jealous! ;) But then again, I see why you are extremely talented and your writting flows nicely, its easy and fun to read. Keep it up!


Jo Beaufoix said...

I know that song. It used to be on the radio soon.
It is kind of spooky when you listen to it.

I found it on Utube


I'm terrified of the idea of fire too and Miss E has developed a real fear of it, so spent time doing a fire safety escape plan and she seems to have settled down.

Congrats on the award sweetie.
You are indeed a very thoughtful blogger.

Jen said...

I don't know if I'm truly a thoughtful blogger, some days I feel very thought-less, actually. But I think I've thought of someone to pass that award along to, so come by tomorrow to see.

RC, it's funny, but I find your ER stories so interesting, I'm not sure how you could top it with a Hollywood story, but you're welcome to try...just for me? *grin*

Jo Always nice to see you around here! Thank you for the YouTube link. It's been so long since I heard the song in it's entirety. I forgot Arthur Brown used to perform that song while wearing a flaming hat.

Poetess said...

Hi Jen

Thanks for the compliment.
Your award was well deserved.


Carlo said...

Good Job! :)