News of the possible closure of the Star's radio room program sparked a slew of memories for Canadian journalists, many of whom spent countless hours with one ear on the scanner. Steve Ladurantaye rounded up some of their best stories.

News of the possible closure of the Star's radio room program sparked a slew of memories for Canadian journalists, many of whom spent countless hours with one ear on the scanner. Steve Ladurantaye rounded up some of their best stories.

See also:

Toronto Star intends to cut jobs, outsource production in face of revenue challenges

[node:ad]

Future of Toronto Star radio room uncertain as company looks to cut costs

 

Greatest Hits: Canadian journalists share scanner stories

News of the possible closure of the Star’s radio room program sparked a slew of memories for Canadian journalists, many of whom spent countless hours with one ear on the scanner. Here are some of their best stories.

Storified by Steve Ladurantaye· Tue, Mar 05 2013 06:35:55

Toronto Star union says paper is looking to outsource radio room programThe Star’s union said it was told by the paper that it would like to outsource the radio room, but that it wasn’t sure it was technically…
Emergency scanners pick up police, ambulance and fire calls. They are in newsrooms around the country, although many of these services have since converted to digital dispatch (rendering scanners useless). Even when they work, they are imperfect – mostly nothing happens that’s newsworthy and when something does happen the cops go out of their way to not talk about it on the airwaves.

My favourite scanner story was hearing the cops talk about a pot bust on the scanner, and calling to ask about it. They told me not to attend the site – it was very late – and then repeated it on the scanner. But, I went anyway cause they’re not the boss of me. 
But I made a critical mistake – I parked on the road and walked down the long driveway. So they put me in a cruiser for a few hours as they threatened to charge me with trespassing, and then towed my car which they said was illegally parked on the country road. 
Peterborough Examiner photographer Clifford Skarstedt had to come get me at three in the morning.
Here are some other good scanner stories shared last night.
And here you have it – The Star’s radio room RT @KMagi The beloved radio room. http://pic.twitter.com/QrK7uRR26ZSteve Ladurantaye
Favourite scanner story: Peterborough cops did pot bust. Told us via scanner not to attend. I did, so they locked me in a cop car for hours.Steve Ladurantaye
@sladurantaye Then the time I heard cop say he needed 10 "toe tags" at scene. Actually said "tow tags" – for illegally parked cars. #PanicAdrian Humphreys
@sladurantaye I beat cops/medics to call from house where Xmas present-bomb exploded. Lady thinks I’m a cop. Insists I help injured daughterAdrian Humphreys
@sladurantaye I used to bring booze to an old boyfriend when he worked overnight shifts in Star radio room. Nameless, of course.Elizabeth Renzetti
I bet every journalist over 30 has amazing police scanner stories…Steve Ladurantaye
@sladurantaye Wait, why over 30? I’m listening to cops describing some good-for-nothing shoplifters right this second.Selena Ross
@seleross Really? Most communities converted to digital over last decade, is all.Steve Ladurantaye
@sladurantaye Scanner lessons. 1st night shift: nude man "extricated" from behind A/C unit. At 21, I laughed. Until my first dementia story.Matthew Van Dongen
@sladurantaye I wrecked my fave docs wading thro a creek to get to my car after hearing about a camper fire on the hwy. #scannerstoriesCait W.
@sladurantaye Newsroom in Chatham listened intently to scanner chatter as cops ran my plate & discussed that I worked at Daily News….Holly Lake
@sladurantaye ….had accidentally left it parked in fire lane in front of apt night before when got sick on way home & rushed in to puke!Holly Lake
@sladurantaye Snuck past cops to shoot a derailment. found I could change film rolls while running through cornfield. #scannerstoriesmark nesbitt
@sladurantaye My best Pboro scanner story: cops talking about a subject stuck in the ice on a river. Very vague…Laura Mueller
@sladurantaye …When I called, the cops laughed. It was a duck. They were betting on how long it would take for me to call.Laura Mueller
I guess we did have a radio at the Sun – it’s how we confirmed OC transport shootings. "Four doves, one badger."Steve Ladurantaye
@lindseywiebe @sladurantaye Worst part of newsroom scanners was when they ran an emergency drill at airport but you missed the "drill" partGraham Green
@sladurantaye In my much younger days: scanner in the newsroom, scanner beside my bed, portable in my car…Mark_Hamilton
@sladurantaye Also, once listened to firefighter ask dispatch operator out on a date, on the scanner. She said yes, wonder if it worked out.Melissa Martin
@sladurantaye Were it not for scanners, I’d never know the meaning of ambulatory.Lindsey Wiebe
@sladurantaye As reporter, travelled as passenger w/ photog: scanner in 1 hand, talking on cellphone w/ other (steering with knee)James Kwantes
@sladurantaye Car was a standard, too #notkiddingJames Kwantes
@sladurantaye Our radio newsroom doesn’t have a scanner. After the digital switch, the only thing it picked up was the tow truck dispatchColin Powers
@sladurantaye I would sort of doze on night shifts, listening for urgent-sounding voices on the scanners. It worked as well as anything elsePatrick Cain
@sladurantaye 1975, reporter CKOC Hamilton we got to read all arrest sheets. Best were from Vice. Boogie Nights scripts!Kathy Renwald
@sladurantaye Once spent evening listening to cops argue about the Jets on scanner, while placing bets on who’d catch next expired license.Melissa Martin
@sladurantaye hearing the scanner mutterings in the newsroom bathroom stall: "Oh, hey Ryan"Jason Markusoff
@sladurantaye I wish I’d written down the funny stories – they all elude me. But self-harm and old people falling, is what comes to mind.Lindsey Wiebe
@markusoff @sladurantaye As the token magazine gal, I was baffled by the sounds coming from the Calgary Herald bathroom stalls. #scannerenvyShelley Youngblut
@sladurantaye @pcaintoronto We had a cameraman who slept with the police scanner right next to his bed. Clearly, he was single. ;-)Kelly Regan
@sladurantaye I think what struck me the most, early on, was the number of suicide attempts.Lindsey Wiebe
@sladurantaye @lindseywiebe Also, the sheer number of unnecessary 911 calls. "Call is for a 47-year-old female, her ankle hurts, code 4."Melissa Martin
@sladurantaye My mom, a reporter, credits years listening to scanner for her ability to tune out the kids until something urgent comes upStephen R. Job
.@sladurantaye Here’s mine from a Globe column written last year: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/how-mr-nightside-lorded-over-the-naked-city/article546365/Tom Hawthorn
@lindseywiebe @sladurantaye After I got laid off, I actually turned on the online Winnipeg police scanner at night to keep me company.Melissa Martin
@lindseywiebe @sladurantaye pot on stove. false alarm, no fire showing. pot on stove. false alarm, no fire showing. pot on stove….Jason Markusoff
@sladurantaye My dad lives in the 1000 Islands, north of the 401. He has a scanner on in his office, 24 hours a day. Just ’cause.Sean Boulton
@sladurantaye In that area, he gets as much VIA/CN chatter as he does emergency services.Sean Boulton
@DoubleEmMartin @sladurantaye @markusoff I always felt a pang of recognition with the "female, not alert" calls.Lindsey Wiebe
@sladurantaye Favorite moments in the radio room always usually involved a "public urination" discovery on the scanners…Jasmeet Sidhu
@lindseywiebe @sladurantaye "87 year old, short of breath, code 4" over and overB. MacPhee-Sigurdson
@sladurantaye Learned phonetic alphabet listening to cop scanner. Handy when talking with soldiers, pilots or spelling my name. Hotel Alpha.Tu Thanh Ha
I’m going to start a newspaper funded entirely by police scanner memories.Steve Ladurantaye
@sladurantaye Pfft, you think I’m going to spend my hard-earned memories on that?Lindsey Wiebe
@sladurantaye That’d be a rich paper. Scanner listening was the craziest/stressful/best time.Julianna Cummins
@sladurantaye That could be done. In Medicine Hat the cops would often place coffee orders on the scannerNicole Riva
The Toronto Sierra-Tango-Alpha-Romeo @sladurantaye: I’m going to start a newspaper funded entirely by police scanner memories.Jason Markusoff