The coronavirus pandemic has sent many of us back to our homes to work, including some WPR staffers. We’re trying to keep everyone safe at WPR, and I’m one of the staff people who work from home.
You can see my set-up in the photo. It's just me at my dining room table, three computers, a tie line — the technical term for how I connect to WPR airwaves — a microphone and a couple of headphone sets.
But that’s far from all that goes in to our daily program. Lots of people are involved. Here’s an example:
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Let’s say I have two guests on the show. Each person is generally calling in from their own home. Then there are producers — Jill Nadeau and Natalie Guyette — who are in separate places, answering phone calls coming in from listeners, like you. Executive producer Jane Rotonda oversees the show from another spot, trouble-shooting and offering guidance. Finally, engineer Tyler Ditter handles the electronics from our studios in Madison. So, at least seven people are involved in putting the show on the air (not counting listener callers), and none are in the same location!
Friends have been surprised to learn this fact, because they say when they listen, it all sounds "normal." It’s anything but normal, but we hope it sounds that way.
My cats, Tiger and Koko, have taken a real interest and often jump up on the dining room table during the show. Tiger sometimes likes to try scratching on the microphone stand, while Koko prefers drinking out of my water cup or wandering over the computers while I’m speaking on the air!
So, the next time you listen to the show, pay attention to what we’re talking about, but let your mind wander a bit to envision two cats watching the WPR computer screens, trying to get me to pet them. And remember all the people it takes to put on the program during this pandemic time.