We meet the anchor, Buster Monroe Madison, in the middle of a rant on the set of the Silt Ridge Midnight News. Buster is having a profane cow over the fact he was stood up today by a drywall supplier. This took place at a construction site where he was doing his regular job, or his “day job.” Another way to look at it is his “paying job.” In any event, the day job allows him to pursue his dream as a newscaster on the Silt Ridge Midnight News. Morris Crimpanfortis V is manning the switcher in place of Fenton Phickowlski, who couldn’t make it because of an oboe recital in Brooklyn. “Five . . . four . . . the production team counts everyone down, Morris breaks out in an uncontrollable sweat. If BMM doesn’t stop swearing, there’s no way Morris is going to punch him to air. There’s too much riding on this. Daddy’s station may get fined or lose its broadcast license altogether if the FCC enforces its longstanding rules regarding profanities. People scream at Morris to put the ranting anchor on the air. What is Morris going to do?

Calamity on the Set!

Newscast off to a Rocky Start – Before it Begins

I sit at the massive, albeit antiquated video switcher and wrap on the headset, wondering who wore it last.

I hate it when things don’t go according to plan. There’s no way I’m supposed to switch tonight’s newscast. Fenton Phickowlski, the normal board-op, has an oboe recital in Brooklyn. So here I am. Yet again.

My stomach turns summersaults. Tonight’s particular newscast is getting off to a rougher start than most. I wonder if I should cut back on the tailgating. Maybe it’s giving these people too much of a false sense of security, a sense of entitlement.

 A Bad Day on the Jobsite

Through the headset, I hear our problems being magnified with each passing second. Our lead anchor, Buster Monroe Madison, is on a hard-charging rant and turning the air blue. A general contractor during the day, B-double M (as he is affectionately known throughout the valley) shows up for a typical newscast wearing a shirt and tie over his bibs. So it appears that he’s more into his day job than the newscasts. Yet he loves doing the news, that’s what he’s schooled in, that’s what he’s passionate about, and he looks forward to the time when he’ll be able to quit his “day job” and cultivate a national audience.

But this is not the way you go about getting an audience. I don’t think, anyway.

Buster Monroe Madison is swearing up a storm. Whatever happened at work today really has him in a foul mood. I’m sorry he had problems with a certain group of subcontractors, but he needs to get ahold of himself. We’re seconds from going to air, and he’s got more vitriol spewing from his mouth than one of Vick’s prized snakes!

You Can’t Be Using that Word!

Dear Heavens, this man needs to control himself. He belts out that ONE CERTAIN WORD over and over again in every form of grammatical acrimony known to man. He might as well have been playing goalie at the Gates of Hell. Everything was getting past him, including his sanity! And all he can do is scream BLOODY MURDER about it!

I may be slow about a number of things, but I do know this for certain: the Federal Communications Commission does not tolerate any swear words over the air on broadcast TV. It’s been that way for centuries.

Everyone has to clean up their act. And Buster Monroe Madison is no different. Yet he’s not turning down the heat one bit. His rant now turns personal, and he’s screaming about a specific drywall supplier doing him wrong. I just hope he doesn’t mention the name of the supplier on the air. That would constitute free advertising, and I know Daddy would never, ever stand for that!

His language is so strong that even Belinda Bessemer, who must get it all the time at her place of employment, tells him to dial it down a notch. This coming from a co-anchor wearing a sheer, tiger-print kimono.

What Am I Going to Do?

Can’t B-double M see, we’re going live soon? But these drywall people apparently yanked him around, telling them they would deliver in the morning, and then an hour later, and an hour after that, and so on and so forth until it’s all of a sudden the afternoon and no drywall! And now he launches off on a whole new diatribe.

The opening sequence pops up. The announcer’s taped voice booms, “Live from the WXX studios, in the heart of the biggest bituminous vein in all Creation, at the intersection of the Blue Mountains and the Appalachian Trail…fasten your seat belts for the WXX Midnight News!”

Freezing Up at Go-Time

“Standby!” barks Bruce Shellerdahl, the fill-in news director. He frames up a tight shot on Buster Monroe Madison and kimono-clad Belinda Bessemer. Belinda gets a sly grin as she glances at the cussing Jesse, then at the camera, then at Buster again.

“Five…four…” the countdown commences.

I freeze at the controls. This is insane. I can’t put this on the air. At the very least, we’ll be fined thousands and thousands of dollars if not losing our broadcast license altogether. And though this isn’t one of Daddy’s big stations, it will have repercussions throughout his network. This station will get tied to the others. So the FCC will fine other stations in the network just to make their point, even though those properties had nothing to do with this gut-wrenching fiasco.

The pressure on me is enormous, impossible to comprehend. Everyone is screaming at me to punch us to air.

But I can’t! Not with Buster Monroe Madison still swearing like that!