Monday, September 1, 2014

Eve Radio Drama Llama

Bacon's Note: This is a long one. If you were not previously aware of the happenings the other night on Eve Radio, don't care about such things, and generally hate drama, it's best to pass this one by. If, on the other hand, you were there, or heard about it, and really want to know what happened before, during, and after the "incident", sit back and enjoy the story.

It's never been my desire in life to be a hero or a martyr. My time at Eve Radio these past 8 years has been a labor of love, something I've put thousands of hours into free of charge because I enjoy entertaining people, and sharing knowledge about my favorite internet space ship game, Eve Online. What I have tried to avoid as much as possible is the drama that comes with being a well known person in an organization with the scope and history of Eve Radio. This past Friday night/Saturday morning, my drama avoidance protocols fail cascaded, and the whole village nearly got burned down in the process.

The History


To fully understand what happened, I'm first going to have to explain how the stage was set. Eve Radio is not really unlike any other corporation or alliance in Eve. There are politics, happy people, disgruntled people, people that scheme, and people that dream.

You've got the station owner, Diaego (aka Ross) without whom the station would have ceased to exist years ago. He's the guy that pays the bills. Eve Radio subsists on donations, premium memberships, and recently through being an official GTC reseller for CCP. When those funds fall short, Ross covers the difference out of his personal funds. I don't have an exact number for you (such a thing is not really my business) but I can confidently assure you that he's into this project in the tens of thousands of GBP of his own personal money, if not more. The man himself is an enigma. Not many people still at the station outside MrBlades really know too much about him, and if this was a movie, he'd fit the role of shadowy benefactor/mastermind quite well.

Just below Diaego, we find MrBlades. If the station exists because of the funding shortfalls covered by Diaego, it equally exists because of the time and effort put into holding it all together by MrBlades.

After Blades, things are a bit muddier. There are several middle management types, night ops bosses, people who volunteer to run specific stuff, etc.. Then you have some senior DJs, along with the rest.

I've been asked before why I'm not a manager at ER. Fact of the matter is three fold. 1: I do this because it's fun, and I don't find management positions fun. 2: I have no interest in the politics of it. 3: I don't have the free time for it.

Over the years, I've progressively distanced myself from the inner political workings of ER. As my primary function and interest in ER is the weekly show my team puts together with me, I spend extremely little time in insider staff channels or forums these days except to catch up on whatever programs or promotions are running at present. I pop into IRC 20-40 minutes prior to broadcast, say little beyond the minimum, try to keep my head down, and get on with the show. When the show is over, I tend to leave as quietly as I came. If one were to ask me about the political issues and nature within ER's staff and management, I honestly couldn't tell them anything because I simply don't know, and until now it really hasn't been my problem.

My political avoidance practices have at times been interpreted as an "I'm better than all of you" attitude among certain staffers at ER. That's not the case of course, but my response to this is generally that I don't give enough fucks to try and convince these people otherwise, and to just move on with whatever I'm working on. This has lead to issues with 2 members of ER's middle management in particular in recent months.

For nearly the entire 8 years of our show, the majority of our behind the scenes and preshow work has been handled within our team. Over the last 6 months, one of the two middle managers at ER had decided this was no longer good enough, and that certain things needed to be done by other members of ER staff. This along with several other little things was quickly snowballing and becoming an annoyance, culminating in one night where I told this person outright that if things were going to continue to ramp up and become more difficult, I had very little interest in continuing with ER. This manager backed down some, we spoke at length, and as a sign of good faith, some concessions were made on our part including giving this manager access to our showtime skype channel as an easier way to ping us in the middle of live broadcasts if necessary.

In the case of the first manager, I can at least say that her interests were in line with what she thought were best for the station more than "new manager attempting to show who's boss," so I worked with her until we were able to come to an arrangement that was agreeable to all parties.

In the case of the 2nd middle manager, we can say that his particular style of management tends to be a bit heavy handed with a good dose of "do what I say or else". I'm not the sort of person who demands respect from people, but I certainly have no care for disrespect, and found this particular individual to be entirely disrespectful. I won't go into details on specific incidents, but at one point I did send a letter up to senior management informing them of the situation and suggesting that this guy should really calm his shit. After some time, Manager 2 had some RL stuff come up and took a break from the station, but then returned a short time ago.

The Incident


Now we come to the meat of the issue.

Fast forward to this past Friday night or Saturday morning, depending on what part of the world you live in. At midnight GMT we got on with our regular broadcast. The team and I, having been together on the show for a number of years, are also all members of the same alliance, Monkeys with Guns.. This was the eve before us getting face planted by Agony Empire, and we were doing a fund raiser to secure some ISK so we could get some of the ships we needed. The listeners were coming up huge, and we were taking requests to do some silly stuff on the twitch stream from the biggest donors.

One of these requests was for Elijah Ghost and myself to draw Caldari logos on ourselves: his cheek, and my rather shiny head. While I was in the process of marking up myself, my arm nudged something on my desk, which in turn jiggled the USB cable on my mixer and caused a cut in audio. Due to the way our broadcasting software works, a loss of connection to the mixer results in the software spazzing out and needing to be reset. All told, our audio stream was dead air for about a minute. We were able to get things back up and running, informed those watching and listening what happened, and got on with the show.

Within a couple of minutes my attention was drawn to an ER staff IRC channel where Manager 2 had delivered an ultimatum: Respond to Manager 1's inquiry within 2 minutes or be pulled off air (this was part of some sort of established protocol at ER I was unaware of, though was delivered in what can be diplomatically termed a heavy handed way). During live portions of our broadcasts, I spend very little time looking at IRC channels due to all the things we have going on. We were live at that point, and I was frantically skimming up in that channel looking for Manager 1's inquiry, but couldn't find it.  There was a bit of "WTF is this shit?" while we attempted to figure out what the issue was, and finally came to the conclusion that Manager 2 wanted to know what had happened. Had he been tuned into the stream, he'd have known this of course, because we had just explained it, so for his benefit, I typed it out for him in plain words, and again attempted to move on with the show. A few seconds later he responded that he was pulling us off air for "talking shit" and at that moment, my tolerance for bullshit had been expended, and I lost my cool.

What followed was a pissing contest in the extreme. My response to getting pulled was that I didn't need this shit, peace out. I closed IRC. A few seconds after this, Manager 1 and another DJ were in game and purging my team from the in game channel. They hadn't got to me yet as I hadn't typed anything in there for a few minutes and wasn't on the side bar myself. Figuring I was done with Eve Radio anyway, I completely went off the deep end and zapped Manager 1 off the ops list for the in game channel, the other DJ as well, Manager 1's obvious alt, and after a moment of rebellious contemplation, I zapped everyone else off the ops list except Ross, MrBlades, and QGazQ (an engineer who keeps the servers and website running). I then restored access to the rest of my team.

Listeners at this point were in an uproar since the entire incident had been broadcast live and they were pretty keen on what was going down. Calls of "Free Bacon" were scrolling, and Manager 1, probably not realizing yet that she'd lost ops access, was firmly calling for people to change the topic. Feeling inspired, I changed the channel topic to something about Manager 1 and Manager 2 being supreme dicks, and another line which escapes me for what it said. By then, the stream on the ER website had been switched to jukebox, but we were still live due to the twitch stream which we could not be kicked from.

From that point forward, I told those watching that if this was was going to be our last show, we'd make a show of it and hang on until we were originally scheduled to be over, at which time I would restore access to the in game channel, and we would release the twitch stream. We informed people our plan was to go to an independent podcast and possibly expand upon the twitch streaming we were already doing in our spare time.

I had some choice words for Manager 1 and Manager 2. We reminisced on 8 great years at Eve Radio, had some nice things to say about Diaego, MrBlades, Gaz, and several others. Towards the end, I encouraged people to continue to support Eve Radio. There's a lot of good talent at the station that deserves the outlet, and one manager with Napoleon Syndrome shouldn't be the deciding factor. At a listener's request, myself, Elijah Ghost, Doc Nielsen, and Charlie Firpol recited the poem "O Captain, My Captain" saluted our audience, and shut down the stream.

Once we were off, I went back into the in-game channel, and added people back onto the list that I could remember, but then removed myself from the ops list before I hit the OK button and cocked the whole thing up. That was totally my bad, and not what I intended to do. For those of you confused when you logged in Saturday morning to still see the "dicks" MOTD in the channel, that would be why.

The Aftermath


Once the show was over, I was considerably calmer than when things had initially gone down. I said goodnight to the rest of the team and penned my official resignation letter to MrBlades. In it, I apologized for setting fire to the village on my way out. He and Ross certainly didn't deserve the fallout that would be the result of it, and though it was extremely satisfying to give Manager 2 a lesson in who the bigger dick was, there were no good guys in this, we all did wrong. My apologies for letting the situation spiral like it did, there were certainly classier ways I could have made an exit, see you around.

After that, I dropped the news of my departure from Eve Radio onto social media. The story was already spreading, and I figured better for people to see it from me than hear about it 2nd or 3rd hand. It was nearly 2am local when that was all done, and I went to bed.

The following morning, a reply was in my box from MrBlades. In a nutshell my resignation was not accepted, shit needed talking about. After getting face planted in the AT, I was able to get him on skype and we hashed things out over the course of about 3 hours.

I can't get into too many details as to what was discussed, but I will share the following:
  • The FunkyBacon Show will not be leaving Eve Radio. At my request, my team and I will be taking a 2 week break from our regular broadcast.
  • While it's not my place to discuss any specifics in this case, I've been assured that Manager 2 and I will not be in each others hair moving forward.
  • There are some exciting changes coming to ER in the not too distant future. Keep an eye out for them.
For my part, I do owe an apology to several people on the staff and within ER's community that got dragged into something they had no part in creating. As satisfying as it was to piss in Manager 2's face and moonwalk out, there was some collateral damage in the process that was undeserved, and for those adversely affected you have my apologies. I certainly could have handled the whole thing better, I didn't, and that was a failing on my part.

For the rest of you, we'll see you back on air September 19th/20th!

12 comments:

  1. move on ... nothing interesting here. (though that was a classy summary/apology)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad to hear you won't be leaving ER, and I look forward to the return of your show after your break. Hope it does you and your team well, and we (your listeners) will be here to support you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The second line was something along the lines of "You asked for a new topic". I know as I has to vnc over an ssh link back home while hungover on Saturday morning to change it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, that's what it was! Thanks for fixing it.

      Delete
  4. For starters, you handled it superbly. Manager #2 sounds like a straight up jackass. While Manager #1 sounds like they just need to loosen up on the reins and realize the people below them know what they're doing.

    In regards to M #2, those types seriously do need a swift punch in the face to "put them in their place". These types of people get over-inflated egos and parade around like they own the place.

    This is why Managers *outside the unit* are useless tools (both in the literal sense and in the "you're fucking dumbasses" sense).

    'Oh the stream dropped and came back, no big deal' should have been the response of Middle Management.

    Back to Manager #2, because fucks like you can't help but read anything about themselves, go fuck yourself. And go get some REAL Business Management education. You _do_ need to learn a thing or two.

    MrBlades, I would highly recommend you shit-can M #2. Those types sink companies.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We didn't quite sink the boat, but we sure as hell rocked it before we jumped ship and swam to shore. Are we doing a twitch on Friday night?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll probably be doing a couple Elite Dangerous streams over the next couple days, but I plan to take a break on scheduled broadcasting until we return on the 19th.

      Delete
  6. Glad to hear things got sorted out and your show will make a return. Enjoy the break.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Look at it as a 2 week Vacation. Besides we'll see ya in Black Rise my Friend.

    Veronica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's actually exactly what it is. :) I'm quite literally on vacation and this seemed like as good a time as any to take a couple weeks off.

      Delete
  8. Bacon, my heart goes out to you. Always has. When I heard about this over Twitter, it took all I had from rehashing somewhat unfriendly encounters I've had with ER staff.

    We all lose our cool from time to time. Eventually, I stepped away from the game and my return is still somewhat questionable. Keep doing what you're doing and know your fans stand behind you...yes, you have fans. :P

    ReplyDelete
  9. I always knew you had the bigger dick.

    ReplyDelete