One of the more subtle hidden costs in broadcasting is the effect of colds and flu on newscasters, talk show hosts and reporters, resulting in lost time and sub-par performances. Ironically, airborne contaminants can be transmitted by the very microphones used by the talent. A new product aimed at the live performance market, Microphome, can help broadcasters address this issue by making it easy to clean and disinfect shared microphones in remote trucks, announce booths and studios.
Microphome was developed by Tommy McCoy, an inventor and blues musician based in St. Petersburg, FL. "They say necessity is the mother of invention," he states. "I perform at a lot of festivals and blues jams around the U.S. and Europe, and some of the mics I've had to use are just nasty. There was nothing on the market to do the job fast, and do it right. That was the inspiration for Microphome."
McCoy developed Microphome as a simple, easy-to-use foam that is spread onto the mic grille, killing 99.99% of the germs. The product also eliminates odors and cleans away debris, dissolving lipstick and other cosmetics without touching internal electronics.
"Most people clean their mics with a Q-tip and alcohol, or maybe Listerine," he notes. "That can be effective, but it involves unscrewing the grille, taking out the filter, then putting it back together. With Microphome, it’s easy. You just squirt one pump onto your hand or a lint-free cloth, and spread it on the mic. The delivery system is the key. It's a measured dose of aerated foam that clings to the surface, so it never touches the inside electronics. The foam totally dissipates in two minutes and you're good to go."
Microphome's proprietary, residue-free formula started out as a hand sanitizer. Working with a custom OEM firm, McCoy re-engineered the formula, removing the skin moisturizer and adding a subtle cherry scent. "The chemistry behind the odor, the essence, is a critical part of the product," says McCoy. "Each essence has a different envelope, just like a sound wave. I chose cherry because it does a great job of masking other smells, and it behaves almost like a square wave, with a very fast release so it doesn't linger too much. But the important part is killing germs, which is the real source of most of the odor and, of course, colds and flu." The Microphome formula has been FDA certified and approved as killing 99.99 percent of germs, and is also approved by the EPA.
Microphome is sold in 50ml bottles, providing more than 100 applications. The company also offers a full microphone cleaning kit to help restore older mics. The kit includes a bottle of Microphome, double-ended cleaning brush, microfiber cloth and a nylon scouring pad in a vinyl zip pouch.
For broadcasters, the applications are obvious. Studio and remote talent routinely share both wired and wireless microphones, creating a carrying medium for airborne contaminants. A simple squirt of Microphome between air shirts can be done with the mic in place, eliminating germs and odor while creating a more hygienic work environment.
"All performers should be concerned about health issues, whether it's live music, broadcasting or even karaoke," notes Tommy McCoy. "Microphome directly addresses this issue, and it's so easy to use, it just becomes part of your routine. As we like to say: 'Foam it before you own it!'"