Saluki Marooned by Robert P. Rickman

Radio and TV Alumni

If you were an SIU Radio and TV major during the '70s, you might remember that the mic in the WSIU control room was an RCA BK-5, the two mics in the studio were Electrovoice EV666's, and the mic in the news booth was a BK-1.

You don't remember?

Neither does Peter Federson, who is forced back in time to the spring of 1971.  The third morning of his trip, he cuts his algebra class and visits WSIU Radio instead.  In this excerpt, Peter passes through the double doors at the bottom of the stairs, turns right, and:


Crookedly attached to the door with some masking tape was a piece of paper torn out of a notebook, on which was written in magic marker: “N-E-W-S is not pronounced NOOSE.”

Probably for students from Deh Great City of Chicagah.

When I walked into the control room, a big, out of shape red-haired kid jumped up from the board and danced about in an agitated manner.  Now, what was his name?

“Hey, Federson!” the kid said. “Take the board, will ya, I have to test the

“Test the what?”

“Goto the can.”

“Whaa, what do you want me to do?”

“Nothing, it’ll run okay for a few minutes”

And then the kid was out the door like a shot. My eyes scanned the room: the board, turntables, and tape cartridge machines in the foreground, and the equipment rack with its tape recorders, the patch panel, and the transmitter controls in the background.  I knew what it all was, but no longer remembered how to operate it.

Everything did run okay, but the student didn't come back in “a few minutes,” and the record ended, followed by the sound of scratches.

Aw sh--, dead air.

Behind me were black wooden shelves with compartments that held 33 1/3 record albums to be aired that day and tape cartridges on which were recorded everything from public service announcements to show introductions.  I reached back and grabbed the first cart I
touched, slammed it into the cart machine, and punched a button.

I heard through the monitor, “WSIU Radio now leaves the air!  WSIU Radio is owned and operated by Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and…”



This is only the beginning of Peter's problems.  He faces academic suspension because of his miserable grades, and risks marrying the girl he shouldn't have married in the first place and alienating the girl that he should have married.  All of these fears are exacerbated by street parties, a riot and Peter's own nervous temperament.

Saluki Marooned is a novel about college life that is unlike any you have ever read before.

WSIU radio master control console. Circa 1971.
WSIU radio master control console.



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