Silence Will Fall

In which The Author has another bizarre experience

For the past couple of months, the BBC’s audience-led radio programme Feedback has tackled the thorny topic of drop-outs. I’m not talking about people who bail out of university halfway through the course; I mean the sort of unscheduled ‘dead air’ which often punctuate news and current affairs broadcasts.
Recently, Radio 4 in particular has suffered frequent drop-outs, usually caused by some sort of equipment failure. A lot of the time, the reporters are using mobile phones or a satellite link, so they can hardly be blamed when the signal falls down. At other times, a pre-recorded show will simply vanish from the airwaves for no apparent reason. As you can imagine, many listeners find this frustrating and annoying. Just occasionally, though, there’s a certain poetic justice about the whole phenomenon.
One such incident occurred this afternoon, during The Film Programme. I was sort-of listening to it on my way home from the hospital, and there was an interview with a film-maker whose name I missed, unfortunately. He was describing a visit to the Sundance Festival, where Robert Redford was hosting a buffet and meet-and-greet for the delegates. He was telling us how the PA system on his side of the room wasn’t working properly…
And that was as far as he got before the programme was replaced by white (or maybe pink) noise. I switched it off after about thirty seconds and waited until Science in Action had started before trying again, so I don’t know whether the announcer apologised for the loss of the signal at the end of the programme.
As regular readers know, I keep an open mind on the existence of a Supreme Being. Mind you, if there is one, incidents like this certainly prove that He/She/It has a warped sense of humour!
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