Here’s where it all started! Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of “Fade Out,” book #1 in the “Behind the Mic Mysteries.” Young radio reporter Lisa Powers is taking an on-hour shift at her Chandler, AZ radio station:
MONDAY, APRIL 8
“ … with mostly sunny skies and an expected high of about 87 today. More news from KWLF News Radio right after this.”
It’s still dark outside KWLF-FM, a small radio station in Chandler, Arizona, and I’m the only one at work at the ridiculous hour of 4:45 a.m. Most 20-somethings I know would’ve been out partying last night and would be sleeping in or at least going to work at the normal time of 8 or 9. I’m sitting here in this tiny anchor booth, all by herself, these headsets smashing her long hair, talking into a mic, probably to no one. I mean, who is up listening to the radio except for insomniacs and maybe the few surviving farmers in this mostly urban area?
Time for a commercial. I touch a button and music starts, followed by a male announcer’s voice hawking cars for a used auto lot.
I gingerly push an antiquated square audio cart into the machine. One of these days we’ll get real digital equipment. Of course, I think that every time I handle a piece of this older KWLF equipment, afraid it will crumble in her hand and we’ll go off the air and…
Out of the corner of her eye, I see Grant Pope, our news director, enter from the back of the station. He takes off his hat and sticks it on a coatrack near the door. I wave, he waves back, but he looks tired as he heads to his desk. He’s a short, thin man, with graying hair and a lot of lines on his face. These days his step isn’t as springy as it used to be, and is he actually having trouble sitting down onto his chair?
He’s been an institution here for more than 20 years, and one who has a “nose for news.” I hear he came up through the ranks in the early days of radio as a reporter, anchor and then news director. He still writes frequent news stories, but several of her co-workers and I wonder when he’s going to retire. He looks up, but I pretend I wasn’t staring at him.
Another 30 seconds. I thumb through the news stories, change the order. The music and announcer’s voice ends, and I turn her attention back to the microphone.
“This is KWLF news. I’m Lisa Powers, filling in for Pat Henderson. In this exclusive KWLF story, an East Valley woman says her father is missing, and she suspects foul play,” I read from her script. “Joan Rogers-Hartley says her dad, 67-year-old Mark Rogers, took off early Sunday morning to drive to Northern Arizona for a bird watching trip—but never arrived. According to her, she thinks something is very wrong.”
I tap a red button on the cart machine marked ROGERS-HARTLEY SOT, which starts Joan’s voice.
“He was supposed to meet some friends of his in Clarkdale, where they were going to look for northern cardinals and red-winged hawks for a couple of days,” Hartley says, sniffling. “But they said he never made it.”
I continue. “Rogers-Hartley says Chandler police are quote ‘dragging their feet,’ unquote. KWLF Radio will follow this story and bring updates throughout the day. Anyone with any knowledge of the whereabouts of Mark Rogers is asked to call police.
“In other local news, the Chandler City Council meets in study session tonight to discuss rezoning of a large parcel of land initially slated for commercial development to be changed to residential. Grant Pope has details.”
I hit a button and Grant’s voice is heard. I lean back and listen.
Grant opens the door to the booth and pokes his head in.
“Was that missing man story on the wire?”
Uh-oh, I knew he’d ask that.
“Nope, the daughter called last night while I was here working on another story.” I could tell by Grant’s frown he wasn’t pleased. “I know, I know, we don’t usually do missing person stories until the police are called in, but that woman was really spooked. She seriously thinks he’s in trouble. And we did get the exclusive…”
“All right, stay on it.”
Yes! “Of course, I’ll follow up as soon as Pat gets here. He is going to be in today, right?”
“As far as I—”
I hold up a finger to indicate silence, as the tagline “Grant Pope for KWLF Radio” is heard. As Grant slips out the door, I turn back to the mic and continue to read more news.
(To be continued!)
Meanwhile, here’s a scene from the studio recording session for the “Fade Out” audio book … complete with professional actors and sound effects! Now available through Amazon or Audible at https://tinyurl.com/FadeOutAudioBook
Here’s another excerpt from the murder mystery podcast in “Dead Air,” book #2 in the continuing Behind the Mic Mysteries. It’s a take-off of the 1940s “film noir” days with a “gumshoe,” or private investigator and a “dame,” or woman, complete with a glossary at the end. Only in my story, the dame is the private eye, and a gentleman needs her help. This is Episode #2:
The gent’s got sweat drippin’ down his forehead, nervous as a losing bookie at the track. He throws back the hooch and finally spills.
“Ain’t it always about a woman? But I wouldn’t figure a good-lookin’ cat like you would have lady troubles.”
“Actually, it’s my wife.”
“Now we’re gettin’ somewhere. So, she’s stepping out? Fooling around?”
“No, it’s about my wife.”
“Oh, so you want me to find somethin’ on her so’s you can get a divorce?”
“No, really it’s about me.”
“You’re the one messin’ around? Spending time in a flophouse?”
“No, no. I think someone’s trying to kill me.”
The glass in my paw drops, shattering on the wood floor into a million pieces.
Authors and Editors of the anthology: Isabella Maldonado, Nancy Hart Newcomer, Susan Budavari, Kate Joy Steele, Connie Flynn, M. Evonne Dobson, Teresa Waggoner, Bill Butler, Denise Todd, Merle McCann, Suzanne Flaig, Kaye Owen, Laurie Fagen, Yvonne M. Corrigan-Carr, Katherine Atwell Herbert, Robert Dukelow, Mary Ball, Kris Neri, Susan Cummins Miller, Lori Hines, Jacinda J. Power, Patricia Bonn. Lead Editor: Yvonne M. Corrigan-Carr. Editors: Susan Budavari, Susan Cummins Miller, Merle McCann, Meg E Dobson, Dana King-Esquer. Editorial Advisor and Formatter: Deborah J Ledford. Consulting Editor: Donna T. Hanna. Cover Layout: Kästle Olson
By Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter Authors, Merle McCann, Margaret Morse, Kris Neri, Nancy Hart Newcomer, Toni Niesen, R K Olson, Cathy Ann Rogers, Martin Roselius, Amy Schuster, Jackie Sereno, Louise M. Signorelli, Kate Joy Steele, Shannon Baker, Susan Budavari, Yvonne M. Corrigan-Carr, Laurie Fagen, Katherine Atwell Herbert, Machelle Langseth, Kari Wainwright
By Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter Members, Deborah J Ledford, Kris Neri, Susan Budavari, Shannon Baker, Laurie Fagen, Suzanne Flaig, Arthur Kerns, Elizabeth R. Marshall, Merle McCann, Margaret Morse, Nancy Hart Newcomer, Toni Niesen, Virginia Nosky, R K Olson, Cathy Ann Rogers, Martin Roselius, Amy Schuster, Judy Starbuck, Judith Starkston, Kate Joy Steele