Rock’em Sock’em Radio (M/m)

Contest starts 21st June
Contest ends 19th July
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Rock’em Sock’em Radio (M/m)

Post by bigsmile21 »

“What’s your name, kid?”

“Thomas, I’m here to apply for the internship!”

“Got some spunk in you, huh? Great, always prefer a guy with volume over someone who doesn’t know how to speak up.”

“You guys are my favorite radio station. Awesome music choices. Even the ads you play are catchy.”

“It’s a lot of work manning the mic, but we appreciate the feedback. The job pays in exposure and meals, and you’d be working the night shift during the week. No weekends. All good so far?”

“Um, I guess. Was actually hoping to save up for a new drum set.”

“That’s the business, kid. Hate to be blunt but it’s a seller’s market for jobs. If you’re on board, you’d start helping by setting up the booth for each night shift, maintain the equipment, make sure the radio personalities don’t have to get up from their seats, and break down for the morning shift. Internship lasts for 8 weeks and might lead into full time after the summer if we like you.”

“Could I ever run the controls?”

“We’ll see, kid. Takes a lot of training to keep things running smoothly. And the kid last summer got us in trouble with cursing on-air on his day at work. Bosses got real mad.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t ever do that!”

“I don’t think you would. Tell you what, show up here Thursday at 8PM and we’ll kick things off. Drop by the receptionist on the way out today so she can get your details to run a background check.”

“Thank you!”

Thomas was ecstatic. He’d practiced interview questions in the mirror for an hour that day but it turned out all he needed to bring was a plucky attitude. And a willingness to work for free. Well, “esposure”.

The receptionist was nice. Short woman with short dark hair and small glasses. Said she’d been working at the station since it started, and was happy to a new face. Thomas gave her his basic contact info, as well as some details needed for the background check. “Just to make sure you’re as squeeky clean as you look, son,” she’d said.

The rest of the week flew by and now it was Thursday. Normally a Thursday during Summer break meant parties, but this job could lead to a full time gig. Thomas’s enthusiam earlier wasn’t a sham; he really liked listening to this station, and getting the chance to work on the inside would be amazing. He walked into the studio and greeted the receptionist at her desk.

“Great to see you,” she said. “Please take a seat in the office to the right and we’ll get you started soon.”

“Thanks!” Thomas replied. “Just curious. Was there anything wrong with background check?”

“You’re all set.”

Thomas moved into the office. It had a desk with two chairs on opposite sides and several band posters hanging on the walls. A minute later someone ducked their head in.

“You must be Thomas,” they said. “My name is Grant and I will be your day-to-day supervisor for the summer.”

“Great to meet you, Grant!” Thomas replied.

“Grab anything you have and follow me. I’ll give you the tour.”

Grant led Thomas from room to room. There were several office rooms like the one they were just in, two bathrooms, a break room, and two recording rooms, each with their own control room. The first recording room was occupied, indicated by a large sign sign above it lit up in red letters that said “ON-AIR”.

“Anytime you see this, it means the mic is hot in that room. Anything said or any noise made whether that’s a laugh or a fart will get picked up and sent out across the local radio waves for our station’s frequency.” Thomas giggled a bit at the word “fart”, then covered his mouth with his hands. “It’s okay, we like to keep things light-hearted hear, especially during the night shifts.”

“Speaking of which, that’s where I come in to help, right?”

“You got it. Follow me to the next recording room.”

Grant led the way again and this time they stopped further down the hall at the last door. The “ON-AIR” indicator was not on, and Grant openned the door. Inside, the walls were lined with black foam padding, cut into triangles and wedges pointing in different directions. There was a desk with a mic, a phone, a big comfy rolling chair, a laptop, and a dashboard of knobs and switches, all illuminated by one overhead light. As soon as Grant closed the door behind them, the sound inside the room changed. Ambient noise from outside the room cut off. There was a second of complete silence before Grant spoke.

“This room has sound-absorbtion panels, so our radio personaities will have a clean sound. Virtually no background noise from people walking outside the room. Even the sound of the AC pumped into the room gets disperesed.”

“It’s a little unsettling,” Thomas said.

“Part of where you come in. Aside from setting up the room each night, we need you to help keep our radio personalities sane. The night shift has fewer callers, and being in this room alone with limited human interaction can cause some unneccesary anxiety. You’ll spend time in the control room which has a camera feed available of this room 24/7, as well as a computer connected to our messaging system. Workers can use the laptop in this room to message you if they need anything.”

“What do they typically ask for?”

“Usual requests are coffee, but they may also ask for a food run. They’ll have their food in the break room’s fridge and may ask you to microwave it for them during commercial breaks. They may also need you to research something on this computer in order to help with trivia or questions from callers. The laptop in this room has limited internet functions, mostly just good for music selection, so that they don’t get distracted during while on-air.”

“Got it, can do!”

“We’ve got some time before your radio partner comes in, so why don’t I show you how to set up the booth.” Grant spent the next thirty minutes going methodocally going over how to prepare the room for each night. The laptop needed charging, the mic needed careful cleaning and power connections, and the chair needed wiping down. He also got a broom to sweep up any stray paper balls thrown around the room.

“Think you can manage all of this going forward?” Grant asked.

“Yes. Will you be available if I have questions, though?”

“Yes and no.” Grant said. “It’ll be a skeleton crew during the nights, mainly just you, me, and whatever radio host we have during the week, usually Rebecca or Peter. But while you’ll be seing to them I’ll be seeing to the day’s finances. If you need me I’ll be down the hall crunching numbers. Now, let’s see if you were paying attention. Would you close your eyes for a minute?”

Thomas did so and heard Grant moving around the room, though the sound was muffled due to the padding on the walls. After a few minutes, Grant told him to open his eyes.

“I’ve undone the set up we walked through. Take a shot at getting this room turned over and I’ll be back to check on you.” And with that, Grant left and closed the door behind him. For the first few minutes, Thomas kept his mind to the tasks at hand. But as he progressed, the lack of usual sound began to expand a feeling of unease in his stomach. He tried to focus but kept getting more anxious, trying to move through the clean up and wire setups like Grant had shown him but found himself moving faster and faster in order to just get out.

After all the cords were hooked up properly and the floor was spotless, he decided to sit in the chair and wait. And wait. And wait. And Grant still wasn’t back. Thomas only pondered waiting for a little longer before the sense of dread drove him to speed-walk to the door. It was locked! He tried it again but no use. He knocked, and knocked, then rapped, then pounded at the door. Was it padded on the other side, too? He tried speaking up but even within room his voice hardly carried to his ears. This was insane, he had to get out and get out now! He turned and looked around the room again. He heard a change in the room tone as the door behind him openned.

“Whoa, sorry to give you a scare.” Grant said. “Got sidetracked with you HR forms and forgot to swing back to let you out.”

“Oh, that’s okay,” Thomas said, trying to keep down his nerves. “You had the door locked and I got a little claustrphobic I guess.”

“No worries. We keep the door locked to ensure no one enters while we’re recording. You can unlock it from the control room, hence why it’s important for you to be attentive to the camera and computer in there. Rebecca is running a little later but reminded me we need to make some new laughtracks for our audio banks. Mind if we get your help? They’re useful for responding to bad answers from callers during trivias and having them recorded in-house helps them sound more sincere.”

“What do you need from me?”

“Can you laugh on demand?”

“Not with it sounding corny, sorry.”

“No problem,” Grant replied. “Have a seat in that chair and I’ll get you strapped in.”

“Uh, strapped in? That’s a figure of speech right?”

“In most cases yes but here not so much.” Grant gestured to the chair with his right hand. Thomas sat down and heard a roll of duct tape being pulled. A wide silver stip went around his chest before he felt the chair start to spin. Grant spun the chair and wrapped the duct tape bands around Thomas.

“To get your laugh tracks right we need you in place.” Grant was now wrapping strips around Thomas’s wrists, pinning then to the armrests of the chair. “We can make your voice sound like 100 if we get enough clean audio, provided we cut out the ‘No!’s and the ‘I didn’t sign up this!’s.” Grant finished by wrapping Thomas’s feet to the sides of the chair, separated and off the floor. “Here we go. Light, camera, and action!”

Without missing a beat, Grant began tickling Thomas on the sides with all his fingers. Thomas could hardly move his torso, and with his feet taped as they were he could not get the chair to budge. He let out a burst of laughter; he hadn’t laughed like that since he was much smaller and his grandparents would tickle him at family events. Each time he tried to hold it in Grant would shift spots and dig deeper, leading to a richer laugh from Thomas. It went on for what felt like five minutes.

“Oh, darn.” Grant said. “Forgot to switch on the mic.”

“Hold up,” Thomas said through winded breath. “Can we take a break?”

“Sure thing, quick break. You’ve got volume, so I know we can get plenty of good audio from you throughout the summer.” Grant held up five fingers on one hand and began counting them down to a closed fist. “Break’s over, back to work, kid. Now, let’s get these shoes off and kick it into high gear. We’ll stop as soon as Rebecca shows up.”

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Post by NeedControl »

Are we gonna get to find out more about this plucky kid's new adventures? 😀

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