Devoted NPR listeners on the West Coast may have noticed a sudden minute-long drop-off of audio during this morning’s broadcast of Morning Edition. The reason: Today is Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and some rascal was messing around with the control board.
This afternoon, Gawker was forwarded an email that had been sent from an NPR engineer to a listserv of fellow employees, describing a son or daughter who managed an impressive act of sabotage during a studio tour this morning.
“One of our junior journalists was some how able to press the exact sequence, and perfectly timed live insert panel to insert studio 42 into the stream 1. I kid you not” the email read. “Feel free to giggle at will.”
According to the email, thanks to the “junior journalist,” the signal went dead on certain NPR stations at 11:04 today and stayed that way for one minute and 13 seconds. Isabel Lara, NPR’s director of media relations, confirmed the outage to Gawker, declining to say how many stations were affected. “During a bring your kids to work day tour today, some of our junior visitors pressed some buttons that affected a portion of the 11 AM ET newscast that can be heard on a limited number of West Coast stations Not all stations were affected,” she wrote in an email. “It was an educational day for us as well as our kids.”
We feel your pain, NPR. We had an office full of kids at Gawker today, too, and it is only by the grace of the blog gods that the place didn’t come tumbling to the ground. Mostly, we just talked sports and politics with them, and pretended to roll over dead when they pointed their Nerf guns at us.
The email to workers, with names and email addresses redacted, reads in full:
From: a****@l****.npr.org On Behalf Of dsheet
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2016 12:34 PM
Subject: audio engineering discrepancy report
On Air: Yes
Location: Studio 42
Show: Morning Edition
Classification: Talent Error
What Happened On the Air: Dead Air
Action Taken by Drive Tech: Input/Output Assignment
This error was caused by the head of Engineering Department.
As part of Take our Daughters to work day studio 42 demonstration. One of our junior journalists was some how able to press the exact sequence, and perfectly timed live insert panel to insert studio 42 into the stream 1. I kid you not. Although labor laws prevent me from actually hiring the kid (cause he does have a future-but I gave him my card) This resulted in studio 42 being inserted into the stream, causing a lengthy impairment.
This outage is totally and completely my fault. Besides the justifiable public shaming I rightly deserve for the next decade-my lack of oversite caused the outage. Feel free to giggle at will. Thank you to the MOPS crew for getting us back on track, and triggering rapid notification
Gene Demby, who writes about race and culture for NPR’s Code Switch blog, may have been in the room when it happened.
a room full of grade schoolers meets a room full of buttons to push.— Gene Demby (@GeeDee215) April 28, 2016
No joke: I think they turned off the newscast and there was dead air. https://t.co/aBFjMDqrHV— Gene Demby (@GeeDee215) April 28, 2016
Which of the young scalawags do you think was responsible? My money’s on the girl with the red bow.