The passing of a radio hero

Mitchell Harding was one of the radio voices I would listen to at night in my bed through the earphones, late at night, after my parents were in bed. He was a voice on the legendary Hour 25 science fiction program at KPFK and later a constant voice on KCRW, where he did news programming.

I can hear his fatherly voice in my head even now. He was good to me over the airwaves. Rest in peace, sir.

What happened on June 26?

The radio monitoring world is nerdy rather than political, and when ideology shows up it’s almost always right-wing: crew-cutted middle-aged white guy thinking. But in general, it’s off the table.

This week, however, Monitoring Times‘ “Utility World” blog asks the interesting question: What happened on June 26?

The short version, for those who TL;DR or aren’t interested in radio geekery: the transmissions being heard indicate either an unusually large exercise, or preparations for war.

QOTD, public safety radio

Someone backhoed a natural gas main around here today and there was the usual excitement. Quote from OC Fire Authority on scene:

“Appears that a backhoe severed a gas main here. Area is cleared, and we’re just going to stand by until the Gas Company pinches this one off.”

Today’s radio monitoring quote: Alfred E. Neuman in peril on the sea

Pan pan, pan pan, pan pan. This is United States Coast Guard station Long Beach with an urgent marine bulletin. The United States Coast Guard has received a report of a 28 foot pleasure craft named “What, Me Worry?” overdue on arrival from Catalina Island to San Pedro. All vessels are requested to keep lookout and render assistance as needed. This is United States Coast Guard station Long Beach, OUT.

I can’t believe I’m tying an onion to my belt, here.

Today is August 11, 2006.

I am using Windows 98 SE and an RS-232C serial cable to program a new radio. To do this I have to run Virtual PC on my Mac, use a USB serial adapter, tell VPC to use that adapter as COM2 on the Windows box, and manually set all kinds of options for this “serial port.” Then I get to use a 1996 quality Windows application to read spreadsheet type data and very slowly write it to the radio over the serial cable. This works approximately 40% of the time.

I have no reason to believe it would work more of the time if I had a PC laptop running Windows natively.

There’s a place where the wonderful Web 2.0 Nifty Gadgets Open Source Free Extensible Modular Optimized World of Today ends. It’s the place where you have to hook your computer up to a device, any device: radio, weather station, medical equipment, anvil, surface to air missile, automobile, inclined plane. Immediately you’re struggling with some antedeluvian program written by a semicompetent nerd who hates humans, using ten-year-old tools, which is never ever going to be updated. The interface is guaranteed to be opaque, features will be missing or greyed out forever, and there will be no tech support of any kind. You are, at this point, in Hell.

I wish I knew how to write software. Half this shit has open protocols and is just begging for someone who isn’t an assclown to write something useful using exciting new technologies like “USB” and “user interface.”

Holy CRAP. Chris? HOLY CRAP.

LA radio host arrested on suspicion of kidnapping

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — A radio host and Hollywood music consultant was released on $1 million bail after being arrested at a nightclub for investigation of drugging and attempting to kidnap a 14-year-old girl, police said Sunday.

Chris Douridas, a KCRW-FM disk jockey, was arrested Jan. 6 outside a Santa Monica nightclub after witnesses reportedly saw him put a substance in the unidentified girl’s drink and carry her out of the club, said Santa Monica police Sergeant Jay Trisler.

The girl became ill and was treated at a local hospital before being released, Trisler said. It was unclear why she was inside the club.

County prosecutors were still gathering evidence in the case and awaiting toxicology results before deciding whether to charge Douridas, Eva Jabber, a deputy district attorney, told the Los Angeles Times.

An e-mail sent to Douridas, 43, of Pacific Palisades was not immediately returned Sunday night, and phone numbers listed under his name were disconnected. A message left with KCRW also was not returned.

A second man, whose name was not released, was also arrested as a possible accomplice to Douridas, Trisler said.

Douridas hosts KCRW’s “New Ground,” a Saturday program featuring new music. He’s also a music supervisor and consultant for film and television. He helped compile the soundtracks for movies such as “Shrek 2,” “As Good As It Gets” and “Grosse Pointe Blank.”

Douridas was nominated for a Grammy for his work on the soundtrack to “American Beauty.”

He also was a one time host for the PBS series “Sessions at West 54th Street.”

In the radio hobbies they warn you about this kind of thing.

Area Man Jams Cop Radios, Goes To Slammer.

Best quote:

Mitra testified the Nov. 11 episodes were accidental transmissions that occurred when two wires rubbed against themselves and the transmitter. He said the sex sounds were broadcast because he was listening to them on a loop in his bedroom, and when he heard them on a police scanner and realized what happened, he threw the transmitter away.