No Biz Like Show Biz

I arrived at the downtown Vancouver CBC building 40 minutes early – budgeting extra time for a morning rush hour that I’ve obviously had no experience with. The two security guards sent me downstairs to ‘Master Control’, which turned out to be a large room full of gear and one lone technician. He was not expecting me, but directed me to a small, dark room with a chair, a mic, a set of headphones and a beige metal box with only one functional knob – the incoming volume.

“They’ll come on soon.” He promised.

Five minutes before show time, my headphones were still eerily silent. As casually as I could manage, I made a quick second visit to master control.

“They were calling the wrong number,” he said smiling “I gave them the right one”.

I returned to my room and was shuffling through my notes when the Toronto producer said “hello”. He promised that the voice of Jian Gomeshi would soon join us and we went over some technical issues while we waited.

My friend Howard Mandshein, the outrageous and charismatic Winnipeg showbiz icon, had warned me that his week on the National Playlist had been challenging. Sitting alone in my tiny triangular studio I was about to enter into a debate, on national radio, with three people I could not see and did not know, all of whom were gathered in another downtown studio 4000 kilometers away. I reached for my volume knob and cranked it up loud.

What ensued was fun from the start. Jian Gomeshi, Tara Thorne and Dalton Higgins were enthusiastic and entertaining debate-mates and the show, guided by Jian’s innate professionalism, rolled out smoothly and confidently.

My headphones became my lifeline – the focus of my complete attention. My temporal Vancouver reality shrank to the space between my face and the black mic in front of me.

During a break the headphones went quiet again.

Moments later, they crackled, and a new voice broke the silence.

“Hello, Ra?”

“Hey” I answered, confused.

“This is Joe, I’m your engineer here in Toronto. I just wanted to say … thanks for the music”.

I’m smiling as I recall this. I enjoyed meeting and talking to Joe - across the country, through the CBC’s phone lines. He told me he was going to blog about it. And he did.

There’s no business like show business.

Click here to visit Joe Mahoney’s Blog and read about our conversation.