Thursday, July 15, 2010

James Taylor "Never Die Young"

Yesterday I wrote about segues. Today I’m writing about car wrecks.

A “Car Wreck” or “Train Wreck” is common slang in radio for a segue that just doesn’t work. One song crashes into the other, and does a disservice to both tunes, and anyone with ears.

When a real life car wreck happens on the Island, it’s major news. The terrible tragedy in Vineyard Haven just a few days ago, is on the mind of every Islander I speak to.

There are no traffic lights on the Island, and there are only a few places where you can drive 45mph, and no place where you can go faster. So while I’m sure if you live in a place where there are highways, you’re used to seeing crashes, here on the Island, the rare occasion there is a vehicular death, is a shock to the community.

When I was working mornings on the air, I’d have to do a lot of segues, from music to games to news to commercials. And too often, I was only a half-step ahead of where I needed to be.

On this particular morning, though I was doing my breaks and playing the Morning Moviequote and such, my mind was on a car accident that had taken the lives of a couple local high school students. A terrible, tragic accident.

I knew that the community would be listening for details of the developing story, so I was taking extra care to pre-read the copy, to make sure I delivered it with the proper amount of gravity and respect.

But looking ahead, I did not have my eye on the ball. I was not thinking about that last song, cued up to lead into the news.

We were already halfway through the track, when I realized that “Never Die Young” was a terribly awkward song to segue into the news. It’s not a disrespectful song on its own, but the mere fact of playing it seemed like it was some cheap way to capitalize on a most heartbreaking story. But it was too late. The song was on and there was nothing I could do, except do it.

I made the segue, “That was James Taylor’s ‘Never Die Young’ on mvyradio. Now it’s time for the news. Two Martha’s Vineyard youths lost their lives yesterday . . .”

I made the segue, but it was a car wreck.

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