A visit to NPR

On Friday, after a trip to the town hall for a marriage license, Jen and I were lucky enough to redeem an invitation to the Hartford NPR studios to sit in and watch the production of the Colin McEnroe show. Sean the Shark, one of my fellow Roller Derby announcers, linked us up with Chion Wolf – a producer/NPR personality. We reached out and got hooked up for Friday’s ‘The Nose’

We got to the studio at 12:30 where we relaxed in the lobby chatting with a few of the show’s participants until we were brought upstairs to the studio proper. The acoustics were AMAZING. The sound carried beautifully, but didn’t linger. Grapefruit sized microphone foam covers hung from jointed mic booms. The room was eclectically adorned with John Dankosky coffee mugs and posters for local shows.

Jen and Mike at WNPR
(photo by Chion Wolf)

We met Chion who graciously offered us one of two awesome seating locations to observe the show: next to the guests, or in the production control room. We chose the production control room; this was the right decision.

The studio exists in a weird duality where urgency is married to a patient calm. “Come on in we have three minutes,” Chion invited, “that’s an eternity.” When things have to happen, they are executed with heightened focus and haste. Yet the spans between these moments of intensity are relaxed.

The production room was arrayed with computer screens, knobs, and buttons. All parties communicated via instant messenger for important show communiqu├ęs, while studio audio buzzed in the control room via big speakers. Chion walked us through each of her tasks from the show prep, to the careful timing of events, to the handling and managing of listener phone calls.

Our 90 minutes behind the NPR doors flew by. It was enlightening and educational. Jen and I got to see a unique side of the NPR world. An unforgettable experience!

A huge thanks to Sean the Shark, Chion Wolf, and the NPR staff for welcoming us into their studio.

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