Hello, you're not on the air

June 27, 1991|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Evening Sun Staff

Try being the host of a radio call-in show when most of the state's telephones seem to be dead.

Brian Mac donald, on the air at WCBM for his afternoon talk show, saw the volume of calls drop 30 percent yesterday afternoon, when a computer failure at a computer switching center put the kabosh on more than 6 million phones in four states.

Those callers who did get through tended to be from out of state or in the same Randallstown exchange as the station -- 922. Mac donald also fielded a few calls from the city and from cellular car phones.

At one point, Mac donald said in an on-the-air interview, every line on the phone bank lighted up, only to go dead moments later. "Whatever it was, they got the thing fixed and then unfixed."

Fewer calls did not mean, Mac donald said, more time for those who got through. "You don't necessarily let people talk longer. If someone's boring . . . you do other things."

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