I had a strange new experience today while hosting a client web conference on Cisco WebEx Meeting Center. In my many years of working with the product, this marks a first for me.
I started up the meeting, which included the option of global dial-in, global call-back, and broadcast audio with VoIP for attendees. I connected to audio through the telephone. A few attendees logged in early to test their connections, all on computer audio.
One of the attendees had a very noisy line. I wasn't going to worry about it too much, because we run the meeting with attendees muted most of the time. He satisfied himself that everything was working and then left the meeting. I do not know whether he left "smoothly" by using File-Leave Meeting in the command bar or just closed his browser. His name disappeared from the participant list.
Now the weird part… His audio line stayed open! I could no longer hear him talking through the microphone, but all the "rushing wind" background noise remained, making it impossible to carry on a conversation. I could not mute his line because as far as the console was concerned, he was no longer present!
I called WebEx technical support, who couldn't hear the noisy line when they connected. But another participant in the meeting could, so it wasn't just an artifact on my line. Eventually the support person suggested that I end the meeting and restart it. Fortunately we still had enough time before the scheduled start that I could do so. And it worked.
Have you ever run across a phantom audio line staying open after an attendee has left the meeting? I certainly hope this is a one-off occurrence. If there is any learning moment to be gleaned from the episode, it is that you can't start a meeting too early. Give yourself time to cope with problem situations, including restarting the whole danged conference.