Ok, I admit it, somedays I’m a little too involved with the Edwards Show, and the old XM Satellite Radio in general. One of the things that was in the Edwards Show archives, buried in a box, was a microphone flag…it’s one of those things you see on the microphone when someone is being interviewed, identifying the network or organization the reporter or interviewer is from. If you look at any of the studio photos or videos posted on the Bob Edwards Show Facebok page, you’ll see XM mic flags on all of the studio mics. Naturally, I stuck it onto my desk boom (where I record SummersTime). I took a photo and published it on an XM Satellite Radio fan site.
The maintainer of the site asked me if it was real, or if I made it.
This got me thinking just way too much…we have a bunch of equipment here at Chez Charlie, and the more I stared at the mic flag on my boom, the more I thought I actually could make one.
So I started researching. Turns out the hardest part of making an XM mic flag is…the flag blank. Most of the inexpensive blanks originating in China aren’t square-faced; I mean, they are square when seen from above or below, but the face where the printing goes is actually rectangular…roughly 10mm longer than it is high. The XM mic flag is almost square (it’s actually just slightly a trapezoid, with the bottom of the face a teeny bit larger than the top of the face, and yes I really am that anal about it!), so the cheap blanks just won’t work, even though the price is right.
I found and purchased some square ones on fleaBay, and the faces were pretty much perfectly square, but I never actually read the clearly-noted measurements…they were not quite twice the size of the XM flag!
I finally found an almost exact replacement at my favorite New York camera store, Adorama. So the “hardware” was finished, now the “software.” I have a press copy of the XM Satellite Radio logo in my files (downloaded gawd-knows-when from gawd-knows-where). I converted it to a vector graphic, and after editing in Inkscape (an open-source vector-graphics editor) imported into my wife’s Silhouette software.
Now…the vinyl color. To be sure, I ordered a set of 12″x12″ sheets of all five yellow colors available in the permanent Oracal 351. Once they arrived, I selected the closest (not an exact match to the silk-screened color on the original mic flag, but close), and cut four copies of the thing. While I was at it, I ‘created” a mic flag that, so far as I know, never existed; a triangular flag with the sideways XM logo on it.
The one bottom-left is the original silk-screened flag from the XM studios. The one on the bottom-right is the copy I created spending way too much time locating a properly-sized blank and applying carefully-measured and color-matched cut vinyl. On the top of them, the larger triangular one with the sideways XM logo, which really should have been long before I created the only one currently in existence.
But I couldn’t stop there, oh heavens no. There was one more set of graphics I wanted to see on a microphone flag…the Bob Edwards Show sunrise logo, and the XM Public Radio logo. And so…I did:
This one is actually one of those 50mm high/60mm wide inexpensive flag blanks from China, which clearly worked better (especially for the XMPR logo) than the cube would have. And now maybe you understand why Executive Producer Chad Campbell called me more than once the show’s “Biggest Fan” – I can get a little…obsessive…when something tickles my synapses.
And while I’d love to tell you I am finally finished creating microphone flags, there’s at least one more non-Bob Edwards Show flag I want to make, so looks like my wife’s Silhouette has a little more vinyl cutting it needs to do for me…