There are few incidents worse than a TV station over which you’re supposedly riding herd “going black” – i.e. something, somewhere, has stopped working, and you’re broadcasting an empty signal. In the control room, this is known as “oh shit time.”
So naturally, that’s when people who have no idea what does what in master control begin calling the master control trouble line.
Granted, I’m sure they’re trying to be helpful, but here’s the score: that phone is usually a corded phone. There’s stuff all over the control room that has to be checked. And yes, we were watching when the screen went black. We know it’s sitting in black.
My standard issue response in the event of someone calling the control room at such an inopportune moment was as follows:
“I can do something about it, or I can talk to you about it. Pick one.”
And I’d wait.
In the fun, happy-go-lucky spirit of those bygone days, here’s a ridiculously appropriate image.