A hot mic can cool your career.

If you’re not familiar with the term “hot mic,” it occurs when someone is broadcasting, and turns off their microphone and utters an off-color comment – only to find out that the microphone is STILL ON AND STILL OPERATIONAL.

There’s an apocryphal story of an old radio children’s show host that allegedly forgot to turn his microphone off, only to make an utterance about how he felt about the children listening to his radio show. I should note that the story is extremely dubious, but it became the nugget for a series of “Pardon my Blooper” records in the 1960’s.

Well, we have some instances where the microphone STAYED on … and boy, what a mess it made.

Example 1. This is Tim Peel, an on-ice official who’s worked thousands of NHL contests. During a game between Detroit and Nashville, his microphone was open enough to where he actually admitted to trying to offer a make-up penalty, in order to control the flow of the game. The NHL was not amused, and fired him immediately.

Example 2. This little bit of hot mic information came from a pair of Southwest Airlines pilots, who had a big problem with the population of the San Francisco area. Or as they called those residents … “Fucking Weirdos.”

Example 3.

And I just blogged about this recently, the two Oklahoma girls’ basketball announcers, who were using racial slurs against a high school girls’ basketball team for (clutches pearls) kneeling on the court. And then I recall one of them blamed his diabetes for the slurs. Yeah, right.

Example 4.

Last year, Cincinnati Reds broadcasterThom Brennaman made some very derogatory comments that were picked up on a hot mic, which caused him to get relieved of his broadcasting duties in the middle of the game he was calling. Dumbass.

The thing is, you have to understand that if you’re near a microphone, assume that it’s on. Because someone will catch you at your worst, and it will outlive you.

Example. I think Casey Kasem is one of the greatest radio voices of all time. He’s also incredible as an animated voice. And I can’t think of anyone else I want to hear counting down my songs on American Top 40.

But even Casey Kasem has those moments that he wished he could pull back. Several of these, in particular.

But, see, those didn’t start circulating around until after Casey was in the twilight of his career. And at that point in time, they were just outtakes and frustrations.

Then there’s the classic Paul Anka meltdown, where he tears new ones into his performing band, who he felt was not up to his exacting standards. Someone had a tape deck and, unbeknownst to Anka, started recording.

And if you think that Paul Anka’s pissed off at HIS band, you should see how much drummer Buddy Rich tears into his group. Apparently, someone turned on a tape recorder during one of Buddy Rich’s bus trips, and … comedy gold.

Just remember, if you piss someone off long enough, you should hope that nobody ever has a tape recorder nearby.