By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun
5:36 PM EDT, May 6, 2013
Technical difficulties, as they euphemistically say in broadcasting, left some NPR affiliates like Baltimore's WYPR scrambling Monday morning.
WYPR confirmed that it had problems with the National Public Radio feed Monday. WTMD General Manager Steve Yasko said he believed there had been problems at his station as well, but he did not have the specifics because his morning team was gone for the day when The Sun called.
The trouble started at 6 a.m., according to WYPR's Nathan Sterner, who is on-air from Baltimore weekdays during NPR's "Morning Edition."
Sterner said there was a "mis-feed" from NPR from 6:01 to 6:02 a.m., followed later by a "feed of silence" from 6:10 to approximately 6:24.
There were more problems at 6:30 and 7:22, he added.
"I'm not completely sure of the timing for all this, as I was working to make sure that it wasn't being caused by problems with OUR equipment, and trying to properly cover," he said in an email response to questions from The Sun. "So, while I had replacement programming on, I may have been a minute or two late to figure out that their service was restored."
As a result of Sterner's improvisation, there was no dead air on WYPR. One of his moves involved going to a BBC World Service news feed during the second mis-feed from NPR. He went back to the BBC from "7:22 to 7:29 for the last outage."
Steve Yasko, general manager at WTMD, said that a mis-feed from NPR is not as big an issue for his station because they only take 2 and 1/2 minutes at the start of the the hour from National Public Radio and then go to music.
An NPR spokesman said he was looking into the situation Monday afternoon. But after five hours, he still did not have an answer -- or even confirmation of a problem.
UPDATE 7 p.m. Monday: Vaughn Sterling, a senior producer at CNN in Washington, tweets that WAMU "also had some issues with the feed this morning."
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