Talking About Radio Again?

Even though this is a music column, much of what I know of music comes from the radio, so you may see why I attribute so much respect to radio. Besides, I have a great article about radio to show you. It’s majority comic strips, though, so I just skimmed through it. I really cannot bear comics.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/01/29/radio-an-illustrated-guide-ira-glass-jessica-abel/

I’ve already talked about how hard it can be to be a good radio personality, and this article supplements that too, but I think one big recurring question, which is probably applicable to a whole host of other organisations and media, is the audience count. If nobody’s listening, is it worth all this effort? How do we get people to listen to us then?

And there really is no hard and fast reply to that. Publicity requires a lot of money to be successful — to get radio on FM so it is convenient for listeners to tune in to us, to have great content to entice people to come back hour after hour, to spread the word about us so we’re not blanketed by the thousands of other radio stations out there, to have good music that people can’t get from TV. We have to expend more effort just to get people to listen, and then we have to expend effort to make the shows good to keep their attention. It’s 2 separate businesses to be continually doing, and it can be tiring if one does not have enough manpower.

My dream radio station is one with cool Japanese music that I like, but the DJs have to speak English or Mandarin so I can understand what they’re saying, and preferably they talk about anime or music. Not so much Japanese culture or food or fashion because I don’t have much interest in those unless they are really quirky. Music can be a conundrum when it comes to radio. I want to listen to stuff I love, but not to the point that I’ve heard every song before or else what’s the point of listening to the radio, right? Everybody wants to listen to the newest songs but bureaucracy and red tape mean that albums usually take a few days of processing before they get on the air, and not every song is in their music library. So you can request your favourite songs day after day but they simply don’t have it and don’t have the heart to tell you that they’ll never have it. And DJs dislike it too. Sometimes their own faves aren’t on the air.

I’m not too sure who listens to the radio nowadays, but if they do, some part of the reason must be to listen to the interaction and banter among the hosts. And yet the hosts cannot talk for too long or else they get draggy and boring, so they have to know when to switch to music. They have to have a ready sense of time throughout the show, aside from keeping up an infectious spirit as they chat jovially of everything under the sun. Faking a sunny personality day in and day out can be a chore unless you really like your job and are willing to wake up at odd hours for the morning show without complaint.

But hey, we all do what we do, and no job is without its problems, right?

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