Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It's only Tuesday?

It feels like it's been a week already, but today is only Tuesday! However, this week is proving the adage, "It's always something!"

Our transmitter is located out in the Apalachicola Forest. The Talquin Electric people have been moving some power lines out there, so the transmitter has apparently been running on generator. The first generator failed. The university loaned us one. That one failed as well. A third generator was rented. THAT one caught fire on Saturday morning.

(Pictures courtesy of various engineers)

Of course all this happened on the weekend. Our signal kept going off the air as generators died.

And of course we had "special programming" this weekend with a complete rerun of the National Parks series on Saturday and Sunday. The Viewer Services department had their hands full on Monday morning.

After yet another failure, it seems that bad gas is part of the problem (though I don't think it was enough to set a generator on fire). We now have FIVE generators at the ready.

Boy, are we prepared for anything!!!


You probably don't know exactly how you get whatever is on your television channels. In our case, we have several methods of delivery. Programming can come from satellite, from tape, or from server (kind of like a giant, industrial strength DVR). Then there's the stuff that runs in between programs. Promos, special event spots, underwriters and IDs. We house those on a separate, smaller server.

Today, the smaller server crashed. Which meant that we had programming, but nothing to run in between. Luckily, PBS actually has interstitial material between their program feeds, so if we HAD to, we could just go to the network for those three minutes between programs. We did that for a couple of breaks while those of us who push paper and schedule that in-between stuff ran around looking for backup tapes and wondering how it is that such things don't exist for much of our material.

While some of us were running around like headless chickens, Ray (the Chief Engineer) was trying to figure out how to fix the problem. He tried several things and the server just wouldn't reboot. Finally, Leo, another engineer mentioned that this had happened before. Ray asked what he did to fix the problem. Leo showed him. They went back in to Master and Leo whacked the side of the server.

It rebooted. (Thank goodness for those engineering-types. You gotta know just where to hit it!)

Lesson learned. Get some bloody backups made!!!!

At least the satellite didn't fall out of the sky... this time.

Seriously, the station couldn't run without Ray and Leo. They have more between their ears than the average bear. Ray is retiring soon and I don't know how the place will run without him.


Island Rider said...

I feel the same way. Surely it is at least Thursday by now. We had a lot of people in our office retire rather than get laid off. A whole corporate history gone in a flash. Now, people are wandering around asking questions that only the retirees can answer. Not good.

Pamela said...

I had a little anxiety attack (for you) just reading this.

Sandcastle Momma said...

It definitely sounds like you're running on a string of bad luck. I hope the rest of the week runs smoothly for you!

I had to laugh at the engineers hitting the side of the server. My husband's grandfather's used to say "When you've tried to fix it and it won't work - hit it with a hammer" LOL

nikki said...

Um....busy week?