Live in Two Languages: January 3, 2008

Posted by on Jan 6, 2008 in Beijing, China, Media Appearances | No Comments

22:20 (UTC+08:00), 06 JAN 2008 | CHN BEIJING

January 3, 2008. A live travel show on the air. Hey, it couldn’t get any better — what a way to kick off the new year!

It was brilliant… I finally got the “kind of semi-job” or “add-this-to-my-other-gigs job” I was looking for: being a regular guest on a travel program on Radio Beijing. The host: Jane (or Juanzi) Chen, one of the very people I used to work with during my Radio Beijing internship. I corrected scripts and did voiceovers back in summer 2006 (did you catch me over the airwaves then?).

The task: share your thoughts on a few “odd stories about highways”, then introduce yourself. Fill up the airwaves for a full hour.

I got in the studio right after 19:20 — that New York, New York from Frank Sinatra got me all started and in the mood. Next up: the studio. I got into Radio Beijing’s extremely glitzy live broadcast studio — massive, spacious, and words-like-that. Good thing something was already playing — some kind of The Lion King rerun.

Jane gave me the scripts — we knew exactly what we wanted to say. If there were any doubts, I sorted them out right before 20:00 — a second later, and we’d be on air.

A 5-second tweet just after 20:00. We were on!

Jane started the whole show off in Chinese first. I kind of tuned in afterwards. Not the most perfect Chinese (I know plenty of folks with Grade A-1 Chinese who could cost Granny Xing of CCTV’s Network News Broadcast her job), a bit on the Taipei-ish side, but nevertheless, that kind of got me into the whole thing. I now mix the Beijing and Taipei accents because those two are what I use every day when talking in Chinese.

We went through three stories (or nearly three stories) for the first 30 minutes. The first one was about a highway in Japan that you had to cruise through at 45 km/h to let the highway play music for you. Not sure if it’s the same old Mozart that Beijing Subway Line 5 is famous for, but musical nonetheless. The second one was about a massive thermometer in a “gas station” village, and the last one was about a highway over ice.

The next half hour was filled with my stories about the oddest places I’ve been to, as well as a bit of travel-related talk. I mixed in a bit of Chinese with what must be about 70% English. Jane kind of knew this; the moment she wanted to speak to me, bang, she switched into English mode. I kind of followed on that, and then went a bit Chinese afterwards.

Were we nervous? Yes, by all means — this was her 3rd livecast (my 2nd one; I started the 1st one in July 2006, when I made a secret online audio debut — and sorry, the files just disappeared into the ether since then); I was a bit more nervous wondering if I had too much for dinner. The secret now: eat your veggies, meat and rice two and a half hours before going on air. The reason: when I did December 5, 2003 (as in co-hosting the show), I ate stuff about three hours before the whole thing. I was wondering if my worst fears of a “stomach kernel panic” (so to speak) would be transmitted on-air. (Sadly I don’t have the best bellies on the planet.)

Turns out this wasn’t the case, although I still felt a bit lethargic…

But hey, at the end of the day, it was a good debut. I’ve been granted more airtime beginning next Thursday; your cue to tune in comes every Thursday evening at 20:00 on Radio Beijing AM 774. See you then!

This is content posted by David Feng on a separate site, first published before 29 December 2005, before he started blogging on his own domain. All spelling, grammar, and punctuation remain the exact same way they were when the post was first published. The original post itself does not contain this text in italics.