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Date: Sun, 1 Dec 91 13:57 PST
From: (John Higdon)
Reply-To: John Higdon <>
Organization: Green Hills and Cows
Subject: Re: E911 System Brought to it's Knees By a Prank (Michael A. Covington) writes:

> Endless tape cartridges are fairly common, aren't they?

Yes, but they have "stop cues" and do not simply play over and over.

> Even commoner are semiautomatic turntables that have a mode in which
> they will play a record over and over.

Not for on-the-air use at radio stations. But that all misses the
point. First, the DJ announced what he was doing (so I infer from the
original message) and that the audience chose to ignore that. Second,
radio stations do not operate in a vacuum. At any given moment, there
are station employees listening to any metropolitan radio station. If
any one of them had heard something amiss, a call would have been made
on an internal number to the DJ and if there had been any problem
(including no answer), the appropriate aid would have been summoned.

As the person responsible for the transmission of several stations, I
am continually amazed at how many listeners think that radio stations
operate in the dark. Listeners complain about reception problems (both
real and imaginary) as if the station itself does not have a radio to
hear its own product. It is not necessary for one to call a station to
inform its personel that it is off the air or that one channel is
missing -- the engineer is generally painfully aware of the problem.

By the same token, it is not necessary for members of the audience to
report the perceived distress of a DJ to 911. If some wiseguy DJ said,
"Help. Please call 911. [description of some emergency]", that would
be a serious matter. But that is not the case in this instance.

People that would call 911 for a non-verified "emergency" (that is one
that is occurring in the mind of the 911 caller) belong to the same
fraternaty as those who do me no favor by reporting my modem-answered
lines to telephone repair service. I would rather be spared from these
idiots than from "offensive DJs".

        John Higdon         |   P. O. Box 7648   |   +1 408 723 1395      | San Jose, CA 95150 |       M o o !

[Moderator's Note: I had a part time job back in 1969-70 working for a
radio station here when some crazy people broke into the studio and
shut down the transmitter as part of their protest against the war in
Viet Nam. The announcer on duty convinced them to let him put the
station back on the air 'just for a minute, so he could sign off the
air in accordance with FCC regs ...' The crazy people let him go back
on, and he did in fact announce the station would leave the air at
that time and promptly turned the transmitter off again to appease
the crazy people; but in the minute or so on the air he said a secret
phrase also -- something known only to a few people, one or another of
whom would *always* be monitoring. He got the message across without
once actually saying "help", and within about two minutes, lots of
police officers were there.  PAT]

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