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Jack Rice - Blog

Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.

 

Jack's Blog & Media Appearances


Getting Out of the Studio in This Month's Talkers Magazine.

Jack is recently back from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In this October, 2006's national magazine Talkers, Jack discusses the benefits of taking the show on the road.

Getting Out of The Studio
By Jack Rice

I step through the first gate and the guard locks it behind me. I notice but move forward. I step to the second gate, holding my microphone out in front of me to pick up the squeak of the lock and hinges as another guard opens this door to let me through. He then closes and locks it behind me with a clang. I get it all. While I merely noticed the first gate, this one I feel in my chest. I am in this place. I am locked inside one of the prisons at Guantanamo Bay. I hope my listeners are here too!

Going outside of the studio and coming to this island, or anywhere else for that matter, is always a gamble. Because we don’t control the environment, we face technical uncertainly. Because the quality of our guests often depends upon luck, it can be hit and miss. And, of course, there is the expense. But, and here is the point, the pay off is always worth the effort.

I know that the studio is perfect. The world is not. The studio gives us the best quality, all of the levels work and everything is as good as we can make it. Everything is on time. No difficulties. No problems.

And while I understand that PDs have to prepare for problems, to shy away from opportunities will result in radio that is either grey, tan or taupe. You know what I mean! Well, I don’t like grey, tan or taupe. And, more importantly, neither do listeners. They want to be moved, challenged, provoked. Taupe never provoked anybody.

You see, I like the grit! I like the distortion. I like the echo! I like the hollow pounding of me chasing somebody up a set of metal stairs in Prison 6 here at GTMO with her voice fading in and out as her head turns this way and that. As I breathe a little too hard when I get closed into a 6 by 8 ft concrete cell and imagine not ever being allowed to leave. The emotions come through. The fear. The claustrophobia. It certainly wouldn’t happen in a studio. This makes great radio!

It is true that ISDN lines have dropped and I’ve had to do parts of shows on normal telephone lines after Hurricane Katrina. It is true that things sometimes don’t sound as good as they could. It’s true that my satellite phones have lost signal in the middle of battle fields. But this frustration is nothing compared to some of the stuff that we are able to get on the air when all of the cylinders are clicking.

So, my perspective is that we need to go for broke. Chase the stories. Embrace the rough, unglamorous sounds. Celebrate the breathing that throws the levels occasionally out of whack. Try for perfection, but don’t be dissuaded if we can’t get it.

Of course, it’s true that because the competition is afraid to leave their studio, they may on occasion sound better. But never fear! They will present boring, trite, vacuous dribble that make their listeners think of grey, tan and taupe. And then about another radio station. Maybe yours!

What we can provide may not be perfection. But so what! The world ain’t perfect.

As I step into Camp Four at Camp Delta, here at GTMO, I turn to my left and look into the eyes of a detainee standing across a courtyard. His eyes, dark brown. He wears a long beard. His shoulders, pulled back. He stares across at me, defiantly. Anger. Fear. I feel both. Does he? I don’t know. I speak into my microphone, trying to not just say what I see, but what I feel. What it means. I imagine my listeners staring too!

Radio provides us the opportunity that no other medium offers. Time and immediacy. But we need to remember who we are. We are story tellers. We are music makers. We are travel guides. So grab your flash recorders, your listeners by the hands and jump into our imperfect world.