Radioheads

I love troll titles. Here’s hoping some Radiohead fans find this blog through Google and then curse and swear that the entry says nothing about their favourite music legend, but the literal entity called radio. More specifically, this entry is about what it is like working in radio.

Another troll funfact for you is that I do not have any radio broadcast experience. I may have experience next semester, though that is still a question mark, but hanging around in a radio-esque environment long enough should grant me a bit more insight than the layman, I think. And so I shall risk having my ignorance discovered and talk a bit about radio broadcast on the whole.

Radio, like any public speaking/communication exercise, is never as impromptu as you are supposed to think it is. Planning a 5-minute speech often involves 5 weeks of hard work, and radio is no different. Radio hosts are expected to plan their radio shows at least a week in advance, and fill in their conversation content into something known as a radio clock. The general layout for a radio show is about 2 minutes of talking, followed by 1 or 2 songs, then another 2 minutes of talking, and so on. In order to prevent dead air (and it is very possible to have long breaks of frantic silence especially with the stress of being heard publicly), radio hosts have to decide right from the start what they will talk about for every 2-minute slot. Of course, they do not have to stick to their plan, but there must be a plan just in case.

Before the show starts, radio hosts should turn up 30 minutes in advance, and this is when they pick out the songs they are going to play for the entire show. Nope, song choosing is not arbitrary. Every specific song is inserted into the system and timed specifically to play when you want it. There are some sweet transitions like sound effects or inserts so that everything sounds natural, but believe me when I say songs are picked out in advance rather than on the spot like people would have you think.

Song licences are always a headache. There are many strict regulations to follow when playing songs, so unless you are an established radio station most of the time you are limited to playing a certain group of songs. You have to have the physical CD in the studio, for one, and pay hefty song licences to record companies. But you know listeners. Most people listen to the radio simply for the music, so the presenters and the show content had better be compelling if you want followers. It is always a challenge juggling music broadcast and listener support.

What most radio shows recommend is for the radio hosts to have a memorable personality. Find one trait you like about yourself and exaggerate it. If you like kawaii kawaii anime like me, be a stereotypical Japanese genki girl! Or be a knowledgeable guru who is always sharing bombastic information to your idiot co-host. Listeners also love sound effects, so be generous with them to grab their attention.

Sometimes blogging is a little like presenting a radio show. You have content that you want to present, and you have got to package it in an appealing way. Just as radio shows love sound effects, most blogs employ pictures and interactive elements. Just as radio shows have to be short, blog entries should not exceed a certain length unless they promise to be quite entertaining. I do not use many pictures in my blog, and similarly I do not add many interactive elements into my radio shows. In this case, I must absolutely let my personality shine through and present my true interesting self to my audience.

Has your attention been caught successfully by me so far?

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