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This word means very different things to different people

I don’t have a broadcast background.

I was an English major in college, so when I hear the word “redundancy,” I imagine eliminating the extra — extra words, extra sentences, extra commas … (Take that last phrase as a prime candidate of redundant words headed for the editing chopping block!)

But the same is not true for the broadcast plant.

In fact, I’d wager that if I asked an engineer to trim the fat by eliminating redundant equipment in the master control room, I would probably get a dirty look.

While this isn’t exactly revelatory, the fact was hammered home for me last week when iHeartMedia’s Josh Hadden was kind enough to give me a tour of their facilities in Tribeca.

Josh is a man who clearly loves his job and takes pride in his work — this is a general hallmark of the engineering tribe, according to my observations. What he emphasized most often was the redundancy of his system, a way of heading off problems rather than swooping in to save the day at the last minute with great feats of engineering prowess. He and his team have lots of resources at their disposal, but these “extras” still strike me as significant because they have invested so much time, effort and cash in them.

While I can’t promise that this trip has radically changed the way I write, I do know that “redundancy” is now linked in my mind with “reinforcements.”

Thanks again for the tour, Josh, and for the insight.

Tell me about your own interesting application of infrastructure redundancy, large or small.