A Mouse on the Mic!

Delivering the news certainly had a different “feel” in 1979.  Back then we were much more serious and formal – striving for a big-voiced, authoritative sound.  Everyone in news, including the TV people, were much more “stiff.”  And so it was, as I was doing a 9:45 weeknight newscast.

The station sat on town’s edge – with fields of corn nearby.  And, especially in the fall, hordes of mice would rush the building, seeking warmth.  We had an autumn rodent problem.

Two minutes into the newscast, all was going well.  Routine.  I was concentrating on the news copy.  But you’d think I would have noticed that a mouse had crawled up the mic cord behind the console, crept out onto the boom and then perched squarely on that Shure SM-58 – about two inches from my nose!  I had been looking directly down and didn’t even see him coming.  Apparently this mouse was interested in the news of the day.

In the middle of a story and looking up to check the time, I found myself looking directly into two beady little eyes.  I was SO startled!  The delivery of the news immediately ended when I yelled “..A MOUSE!!!”

The poor mouse was so shook up, that in trying to run back up the boom, he fell off and landed in my lap.  I am not making this up.

So in the middle of my highly professional newscast, I’m yelling something about a mouse, jumping to my feet and trying to swat a rodent off my left leg…and, of course, knocking over the chair!

The mouse eventually recovered and ran away, I pulled the chair off the floor (the mic is still on), sat down, lamely tried to explain what just happened and attempted to move on.  As I recall, the newscast ended prematurely that night.  Embarrassment prevailed.

I don’t know what the moral is to this story – or even if there is one.  Perhaps it’s “never take things so seriously that you can’t laugh at yourself.”  Maybe it was the Lord using that mouse to provide a lesson in humility.  All I know is that while I hoped many had not heard what happened that night, I received several letters and comments from people at church – and one mousetrap in the mail from an anonymous listener.