You would not believe the number of equipment emergencies we’ve dealt with! Oh, wait, if you watch our channel, or listen to WMCB 107.9-lp FM, maybe you would because you’ve seen, or in the case of the radio station not heard, their effects.
It all started on Monday morning, when our new media producer, Alicia, arrived a few minutes early and discovered that her Mac, which had been left on to transfer files over the weekend, had crashed at some point. This was quickly followed by a call from WMCB DJ, and GCTV volunteer, Greg, who informed her that Cable Channel 15 was off the air. When she attempted to log in to our broadcast server, which holds all the digital files that we play on TV, she was unable to connect to it. At this point, she locked up our first floor space, leaving a note on the door asking our executive director, Scott, to come upstairs as soon as he arrived, and headed to the control room to see what was going on.
As soon as she entered, Alicia could see that there was no power to the server and she realized that this, coupled with the crash of her computer, probably meant that there had been a power outage, and possible power surge, sometime over the weekend. As she was working to get the server back on, Scott arrived and was able to take over while she assessed additional damage. Since nothing was broadcasting on our channel, Alicia swapped over to our community bulletin board slides before heading back downstairs to check on the radio station. The WMCB studio was completely powered down but everything restarted and the station was back on the air in short order. Unfortunately, the livestream on www.wmcb.net refused to work.
Later in the day, Scott was able to get the stream going again but our TV channel was a different story. After many frustrating hours of work on our server by tech support, our executive director finally drove down to Easthampton Media and borrowed an old one of theirs. He was able to get it up and running late Tuesday but it isn’t 100% compatible with our systems, yet, so, though we have programming back on the air, we are unable to broadcast Democracy Now! live in its 8AM timeslot and we can’t play WMCB during the community bulletin board.
On Wednesday, the Kiwanis discovered that the company they had hired to install their phone lines for this week’s auction never did the work. They managed to get a tech to come out but he only installed 2 of the 7 that had been ordered. This left Scott once again faced with an immediate technological problem to solve. He worked some magic and managed to turn our phone lines into theirs for the 2 night fundraiser but it took a lot of time. Then, just as the auction began, one of the converters in our control room failed, sending Scott scrambling to ensure that both video and audio reached the viewers at home and listeners on the radio. Thankfully, the webcast wasn’t affected and the problem was fixed in half an hour. Wednesday was also when we discovered that the digital sign in front of town hall was out, meaning that there was yet one more piece of equipment to fix.
Though things have calmed down a bit, we are still working on replacing the show files we lost when our server died, fully integrating the one that is working right now, and transitioning to a new HD server in the near future. We really appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to recover from this unfortunate experience.