Sound Engineers Say Farewell News & Notes drive engineer Marcia Caldwell and the show's technical director, Sherene Strausberg, talk with Tony Cox about their time behind the soundboards.
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Sound Engineers Say Farewell

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Sound Engineers Say Farewell

Sound Engineers Say Farewell

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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TONY COX, host:

We cannot bring you News & Notes without a number of people on the staff. Two of those people are here with me now, and they are responsible for making sure that you in the audience can hear what we do on this end. I'm joined now by Marcia Caldwell, who is our drive engineer, and Sherene Strausberg, who is the technical director. Hello both of you.

SHERENE STRAUSBERG: Hey, how you doing, Tony?


COX: Sherene, let's talk about this. Technical director, so you're responsible for doing what, exactly?

STRAUSBERG: Making sure that all our guests who are going to be on the show, whether they are by phone or coming from New York, Chicago, D.C., or any other city, are going to come in to our show and sound good and clear and just great on air.

COX: I know that you do a good job at doing that. What's it been like for you working on a show like this?

STRAUSBERG: It's been a lot of fun. There've been a lot of different people who've come on the show and different hosts. I've been through three hosts at this point, and I've worked with lots of different people. It's been a lot of fun getting to know the show staff as well as different guests, and having a lot of bloggers coming here. We've had so many in-studio live guests that it's been a lot of fun to get to that done.

COX: It does get crazy around here, doesn't it?

STRAUSBERG: Well, but you know, when we have like 10 live guests, it's, you know, a little crazy.

COX: People don't realize, Marcia, because you're on the other side of the glass. So, I'm looking at your face all during the show, and you're looking at mine.

CALDWELL: I'm sorry, Tony.

(Soundbite of laughter)

COX: It gets very tense over there sometimes for you as the drive engineer.

CALDWELL: Sure does, yeah.

COX: What goes on?

CALDWELL: Well, we're making sure that everybody is ready to go on the air. We line them up ahead of time and we have ability to listen to them, you know, before they get on the air to make sure everybody sounds the same volume and, you know, the line is good. And sometimes, when we're just about to go on air, I'll listen quickly to make sure they're still there, and one time we had dial tone instead of the guest who had just been there. (Laughing) So, it's things like that, the last-minute craziness that we try to keep behind the glass and not on the air.

COX: Let me ask you both this question. A lot of people make a big deal about this being a black show because of the content, because of the guest, because of the host. Is working on a black show any different from you than working on other shows? I'll ask you first, Sherene. Be honest too. Tell the truth.

STRAUSBERG: Well, you know what, my favorite thing about working on it is that you can actually really talk about African-American issues, and it's OK. It's not socially awkward or, you know, sort of an inappropriate thing. It's like you can just talk about any issue and it's totally comfortable.

COX: And what about you, Marcia?

CALDWELL: I now know what po-po means.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CALDWELL: And, a lot of other things that I really was afraid to ask, you know. Somebody like what does that mean? I don't understand that. And now, I've learned quite a lot about all different issues that I really didn't - even though I didn't know about. And that's one of the beautiful things about the show is that it brings a lot issues and conversations to the air, it did, that will make people anybody help to understand other groups of people.

COX: Well, great. You guys did a great job. It's wonderful working with both of you, Marcia and Sherene.

STRAUSBERG: It's been a pleasure working with you.

COX: All right, Thank you both.

CALDWELL: All right, Tony. Here's looking at you.

COX: Marcia Caldwell and Sherene Strausberg.

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