“Oh you’re on the radio? Sorry I have satellite but are you giving anything away for free?” Navigating through these annoying minefields for over ten years has inspired me to bring you the following PSA from friendly neighborhood radio personality.
1. We Don’t Care About Your Requests: I know, I know, you love that one song off the B-Side of that quirky and very underground band but guess what? We don’t have it. We have the hits and that’s it. Radio today is very different than it was in it’s heyday. It use to be we could pull an album off the wall, cue it up and play any song but now the radio personality on your favorite station has no control of the music. It is scheduled weeks in advance and they actually get in trouble if they change it. The only requests that actually get played are the ones already scheduled, so it just sounds like we are listening to what you want. When you call for a request and we say, “I’ll see what I can do” that means “it’s never going to happen”.
2. You Don’t Have a Radio Voice: For the love of everything holy please don’t go up to one of your favorite personalities and give them your “radio voice”. That big booming announcer voice you think you have died in the ’90’s and has stayed very deep in it’s grave. It’s not coming back and it never will. Even we don’t have those voices! Don’t quit your day job.
3. Don’t Say “You Don’t Listen to Radio”: “Oh you work on the radio, sorry I don’t ever listen. I like satellite because there is no talking”. Look, it’s fine if you don’t listen but don’t go out of your way to belittle our job. You might have had no idea how much it hurts us to here that phrase so let me break it down for you. How would you feel if you worked your whole life for that big job at the Honda dealership and our response to hearing your job was “Oh I hate Hondas, they are the worst car ever. Sorry”. There is no reason to downplay someone’s career in polite conversation.
4. We Are Not Rich: Sure, there are the Ryan Seacrest’s of the world but those are extremely rare. This job is a labor of love and we do it because it’s only job we have ever wanted or let’s face it, our dream of a comedian or actor failed miserably. We try to make you feel good for four hours every day and it’s back breaking work for very little money. The thing that makes us feel rich is when you tell us how much you smiled, laughed, or even cried with us.
5. We Don’t Have Any Tickets: Yes, we give YOU tickets but that doesn’t mean we personally have any. We get a certain amount of tickets and most of those are slated for on-air contest and the rest are for companies that advertise with us. Only after that are we allowed to have the extras and get to see the show. If you are friends with a radio personality and you ask for tickets and you get them-hug and kiss them, send them candy and flowers because they just hooked you up big time.
6. We Work an 8 Hour Day: You hear us on the air for a few hours and then magically we are replaced by someone else. You might think we have the sweetest gig in the world, only working four hours days but that is not the case. After we are done with our show we; prep for the next day, fill out paperwork, meet with clients, shoot videos, record commercials, schedule the music, write station promotions or imaging and simply come up with up with new ideas to put on air. Radio talent has been severely cut over the years and all of us do two or more jobs at the same time.
7. We Are Not Called DeeJays: A DJ is someone who goes to a club and mixes music while sweaty people grind on top of each other. We are called Radio Talent or Personalities. Since we do not physically “play” the music a new moniker was established and we cringe each time you call us a DJ.
8. We Do Play The Same Songs Over And Over: Our research shows that you are not a loyal listener and flip between stations to avoid the commercials so when you do find us our goal is to get you to listen for 15 minutes. That’s all we shoot for, so in that time, we want to give you what you came for, the hits. Normally we play the same hit record once every forty minutes because 99% of the time it’s a completely different group of people every ten minutes. If you are that 1% and listen to us longer than 15 minutes we do apologize but trust us, we would kiss you square on the mouth if you wouldn’t sue us for sexual harassment.
9. We Never Listen to Our Own Station: When we leave work everyday we jump into our cars and don’t look back. If you think you are hearing the same song over and over again try being the person listening for four hours or more every single day of the year, The music becomes white noise to us and even if we are obsessed with our radio’s genre of music (and most of the time we are not) we need a break too. Sometimes just driving home in silence is the answer to all life’s problems.
10. You Determine Our Careers: It’s a scary thought for us but you hold all the power. If you don’t like us and stop listening our ratings will go down and we will be fired. You call all the shots as your index finger hovers over the preset of our competition. We hang on your every critique and cry when you decided to pick another station over us. Our livelihoods depend on you liking us so we need and love you desperately. If you are so inclined, one day when you see us out in the real world, come up and tell us you enjoy our show, it makes our whole world brighter.