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O’DAY’S TRAVEL WOES #62: An Overhead Bin That Wouldn’t Open and A News Director’s Mouth That Wouldn’t Close

October 1995 (continued): After the R.B.A. conference, I flew back to Auckland (New Zealand), where the next day I conducted my Air Personality Plus+ seminar for the Primedia group, thanks to Operations Manager Guy Needham.

radio programming graphic

We met at the Albany Lodge outside the city, in “the bush” — and now I know why they call it that. We are talking about very thick, very dense foliage. A very imposing force of nature.

It would have been nice, on my first trip to this continent, to have taken at least one full day to explore. But I had to be back in Los Angeles the following day, so immediately after the seminar I was driven to the airport to return to L.A..

Surprise! The Kiwis charged me $20 to leave their country. Didn’t seem very sporting to have travelers discover this when they check in for their flights.

The following Saturday was an exhausting one, as I flew to Atlanta, conducted a seminar, and returned to L.A. that same day. I had been invited to present How To Create Maximum Impact Radio Advertising for a radio conference.

Trying to make the most productive use of my flying time, I brought my computer with me. (This was back in the days when bringing a computer on an airplane was unusual.)

My seat on the Delta Airlines 767 was 1C. After breakfast had been served, they began the in-flight motion picture. I stood up to remove my computer from the overhead compartment…only to discover that when the cabin’s movie screen was lowered, the overhead bins above seats 1C and 1D could not be opened!

(Wouldn’t it be nice if, occasionally, the people who design airplane interiors actually flew on them?)

I was scheduled to speak for two hours, and my return flight did not allow for much elasticity in my timetable I was to speak and then immediately head back to the airport.

When I arrived at the conference hotel, there were two sessions before mine. One was in progress, and it was running quite late. I was told it had started late, and the scheduled speaker — Accu-Ratings’ Kurt Hansen — had been asked to give his full presentation and, therefore, end later.

While this session continued, I stayed in the lobby and fretted about being able to do the full two hours that had been scheduled and still catch my plane…and, by the way, to end in time to allow attendees to attend the evening event that was scheduled immediately after.

Also in the lobby was the news director of a local radio station, who was scheduled to speak immediately before me. He cluck-clucked about the current speaker’s apparent overtime performance. (Again, I later learned that poor Kurt Hansen was not to blame.)

I mentioned that I was worried about having to shorten my presentation and he replied, “Oh, I’ll probably run short.”

Well, he certainly didn’t need to shorten his 45-minute presentation for me, but it was comforting to know he understood the time crunch.

Unfortunately, he had scripted his presentation, which he read to the audience. And apparently he had not timed his copy.

So he went 20 minutes over his allotted time…until he finished reading his presentation to the audience.

Sometimes a speaker is asked to stay longer “due to popular demand.” Audience reaction indicated that was not the case this time.

On the one hand, I had to drastically cut short my presentation to allow the attendees and me to meet our respective obligations.

On the other hand, it gave us all a lot of fodder for jokes at the guy’s expense. Apparently at his radio station, a newscast that runs 50% past its allotted time poses no problem for the station’s programming…

No, he didn’t hear those jokes. He had a baseball game to attend …while the rest of us “played catch-up” in his wake.