Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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"Off Air" light

Don't stop the music.
  [vote for,

Even if you've never been in a radio studio, you might have an image of the big red "On Air" light which sit on the studio wall to alert the presenter to talk, be funny, and preferably not to swear her/his ass off.

It would be helpful for those working in a radio studio if there were an equally noticable "Off Air" light which came on during moments of silence. Usually when making a radio show a DJ spends very little time actually listening to what is going out on air because they are preparing scripts, editing audio and making tea.

This light would help multitasking DJs to remember when they needed to speak, and would also stop listeners thinking their radio was broken for 20 seconds.

* Pedants (not that I imagine there to be many here in the 'bakery, of course) should note that what the public imagine to be an "on air" light is usually, in fact, a "mic live" light. The simple reason is that you are "on air" throughout you broadcast, but your adoring public only hear your utterances once you put your "mic" "live".

Fishrat, Mar 16 2004

WYVERN http://audio.musicr...hereford_worcester#
Listen to see if [Fishrat] falls alseep at the microphone. [Klaatu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       If the off air light is illuminated for more than 5 seconds and the DJ doesn’t start talking, there should be a device that automatically starts broadcasting “Spanish Flea” or some other technical-difficulties type of music.
AO, Mar 16 2004

       It would amaze me if there was no current way to know if you're broadcasting. If there is a way, how would a light help? Isn't this only interesting to the person in charge of pushing buttons and flipping switches?
Worldgineer, Mar 16 2004

       a.k.a the person who's supposed to know when he/she is "off air"?
yabba do yabba dabba, Mar 16 2004

       This would be more of a “dead air light”, since you can be technically on air, but broadcasting silence (for instance if the record ended before you expected, or if a cable came unplugged). If the light received and monitored your actual transmission, rather than monitoring the signal to the transmitter, it could even detect problems with your transmitter or antenna.
AO, Mar 16 2004

       Doesn't the DJ have a live audio feed?
DrCurry, Mar 16 2004

       The DJ typically has a direct feed from the mixer he (non-gender-specific) is plugged into. He's usually quite busy during the actual music, cueing up the next song, finding albums on the shelves, putting just-played albums away, answering phones, monitoring the current song's progress, etc. Very rarely is he actually listening to the broadcast signal directly.   

       It's quite easy to get momentarily distracted long enough to miss the cue point and wind up broadcasting several seconds of dead air (which listeners find annoying). This sounds like a device which listens passively to the outgoing signal and lights up whenever it detects silence for more than a second or two.   

       With the digital equipment in use in many stations today, it should be possible to have a delayed transmission (much like the 5-second delay used during the Emmys), detect dead air, and be able to alert the DJ to feed in the proper signal real-time. The digital equipment could then adjust the playback to re-aquire the delay completely transparently.   

       (+) for reducing both the annoyance to listeners and the embarassment to DJs caused by brief periods of dead air.
Freefall, Mar 16 2004

       BBC radio stations have a sophisticated system which switches over to emergency transmitters and music if a silence longer than a certain period is detected. All of this had to be switched off receently when Radio 3 broadcast John Cage's 4' 33".
hippo, Mar 16 2004

       Sweet nothing. That's my favorite.
yabba do yabba dabba, Mar 16 2004

       [Freefall: how is "he" not gender specific? If you care about it, write s/he or they.]
DrCurry, Mar 16 2004

       //Isn't this only interesting to the person in charge of pushing buttons and flipping switches?// Sorry to spoil the illusion [world], but that's usually the poor hard working DJ her/him elf.   

       [AO] For Spanish Flea read "some song that was heavily played about a year ago and is now really annoying" and you've got it. The off/dead air light would prevent this from having to be played.   

       [Freefall] - great idea. Loads of commercial stations run in delay, so the chance to dump the delay and hence 'undo' the gap once the light comes on would be a fantastic studio tool.
Fishrat, Mar 17 2004


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