Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

You da’ bomb.

bomblet

Answering the phone at lunch, especially when you see that it is your place of employment calling, can be risky business. Last week, when work called I was told not to come in. Being insecure and always living in fear that I’m not good enough my response was: “Why? Am I being fired? Is this the day that finally happens?!”  The voice on the phone chuckled nervously and said, “No, don’t come in because the entire area has been evacuated for a bomb scare.”

Psssssh.  Well, at least I’m not being FIRED.

I gave my lunch companion a quick hug goodbye and went straight to the radio station.  When I got there, a very nice officer told me I could not walk down Main Street because the suspectdevice was across the street from the radio station.

Psssssh. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and a back door.

Now, normally when you walk through the radio station building (where I still work – NOT fired!) there are a lot of folks busy at work.  In the back room, there is typically a handful of people chatting and working on KHTS graphics, the station website (www.hometownstation.com) and upcoming events involving the community.  Leaving that room, you’d continue on, making your way down the kitchen area stairs into a large room with super-high ceilings and a long row of double-desks where the news crew (a mix of interns and staff), works. To the right of them is our audio/video team editing content for our podcasts and YouTube Channel.  Further down the hall we always have more people popping up and down from desks and in and out of production rooms before entering the completely glass broadcast room that faces Main Street.  Normally, the KHTS AM 1220 building is always abuzz.  But, that was not the building I walked through on an outrageously abnormal day of a bomb scare in the neighborhood.

The entire radio station building was silent, except for the soft voice of the Station Owner calmly coming the broadcast booth where he was relaying information about a possible bomb threat. The only other sound was coming from our News Director, tapping back and forth between a laptop and his cellphone –receiving moment-by-moment information from law enforcement.  My immediate supervisor sat behind the soundboard, manning the controls in a completely out of control situation.

Oh, hello — roll-y chair.

I motioned to my supervisor that I was okay with sitting behind the mic. Yes, I was okay with it – but I was also pretty sure you could hear the thundering of my heart.  Making every effort to keep the pounding to a minimum, I instead focused on the business at hand and took notes about the situation facing our community:

Suspicious device discovered across the street.

Evacuations of approximately four blocks.

Los Angeles Bomb Squad notified.

It took approximately 70-90 minutes for all of the information to finally come to light. We were told that a device was taken to a military surplus store, where the owner/operator happened to have munitions experience. He immediately recognized that a Blu-49 A/B Bomblet was now in his possession and he placed the unexploded cluster bomb in a safe box and alerted the authorities. During that time, the Sheriff’s Department evacuated the entire downtown area. But some of the staff of radio station decided to stay.

Or, come back.

My boss asked why I returned and, in a nutshell (go ahead with the squirrel jokes), I said I felt an obligation to the community to be behind the mic with “business as usual” no matter how unusual it really was. When I moved to the Santa Clarita Valley, I remember I found great comfort in disastrous times when fires raged out of control (reaching the curb of the street behind my house); earthquakes rocked our world or roads were blocked coming in and out of the area due to catastrophic collisions on our highways. The voice coming out of the radio gave me hope and reminded me that I was not alone. To give that back to even one person was important to me.

By the end of my shift, on that bizarre bomb scare day, I was a little more tired than usual leaving the mic and the rolly-chair behind. But I was glad that I was there to conduct business and provide “traffic every 10 minutes on the 8’s.”

I did ask my employers to consider flak jackets or Kevlar vests for the station. It’s cute that they thought I was joking. I wasn’t.

A new roll-y chair, maybe?

xo – t.