It’s NOT all perks, you know!
by POPSIE 1956
After all these many years, I am still AMAZED how many people think what I do is not REALLY a job.
OK, I admit I have been MORE than fortunate, and, I DO say it’s a paid hobby, but broadcasters are just like “normal” folk.
Note, that is one of the very few times in my career I have used “broadcasters” and “normal” in the same sentence…carry on.
It’s not just a misconception of how we do our job, but there are (for me, anyway) MANY down sides to living the life when you are away from the microphone.
Let’s start with Misconception Number 1-“You guys make SO much money it’s crazy.”
Yes kids, there ARE a good number of people who can be considered…comfortable..in the field.
By and large, however, for many years, and continuing today, that’s limited to Morning Show people, where advertising rates and listenership is highest. If you have a good Morning Show, the company makes money, so that’s the spotlight time.
As a former Night Guy (7-midnight) I would always say if you have a popular Night Show, when listeners go to bed and turn off their radio, it will be on the SAME station for the Morning Show when they wake up and turn it on, so in other words, Night Shows are MOST important.
Nope, no one ever bought THAT one, but I kept trying…until I started doing Morning Shows.
Outside of the Morning Show, one can earn a living…not saying decent…but a living.
I know more than my share of radio people over the years who had a full time radio gig who still had a second, or even third part time job.
That’s why lots of radio people do wedding receptions and high school dances.
So, Misconception Number 1, shot down.
Misconception Number 2, and this applies to those in the music side of what I do, ” You can play anything you want to at anytime.”
All I am saying here is that there are programming people/consultants/corporate folk up the food chain, that…take care of that for you.
And they KNOW when you play something not on the list…
Misconception Number 3, “You can say anything you want to at anytime.”
See Number 2. To put it another way, in my years as a Music Jock, I have heard the phrase “Shut up and play the fucking music” more than I care to admit.
In truth, with some exception, content is..driven…to sell the station or an event associated with it.
And remember the web site, Facebook and Twitter reference too.
Please understand, I am not bitching and/or complaining about how my business is…different…than what it was when I began my career.
To coin a WELL worn out phrase, it is what it is.
You accept the nature of the business the way it is, or don’t, no one is forcing you to do it.
As for my fellow…journeymen and women who have had a career close to as long as mine, I feel your pain.
Many in my field are no LONGER in the field, a lot of them though no fault of their own.
Blame the bean counters.
However, for others still hanging in (and I place myself among them), it’s sometimes just a simple phrase…adapt or die.
My current job is in News, in ALL the years in this field, this is the FIRST job in News I ever had.
My type of Music Radio isn’t around as much as before, and I didn’t want to move around again.
I also needed a job, and I conned these people into thinking I could do it.
Almost six years later, they must still be conned.
One just CAN’T last in this or ANY business by doing things ONLY the way that has worked over the years.
Learn to GROW your talent by enhancing what you do, matching how the business grows, EVEN if you don’t think it’s grown, rather deteriorated.
In truth, I’d bet good money that the average listener today (A) doesn’t really pay attention to what the voices on the radio say, or (B) doesn’t really CARE about what the voices on the radio say…at least as much as the voices on the radio would think and hope them to do.
Why? People not in my business have LIVES, and are involved with things MUCH MORE important than what the idiot on the radio just said.
Years ago I learned a great technique to show myself how good…or not good I was at doing my job.
One day I recorded an ENTIRE show, music, commercials, everything I said, during a 4-5 hour show.
I took that recording, put it aside, and waited a few weeks.
When I had the time, I played back the entire show at once, while going about my day.
Much to my amazement, I was so engrossed in being a human being with duties and responsibilities, that I really didn’t have time to hear what that voice was saying in the recording.
It was humbling, but eye opening. Since that day I have offered the technique to former students and employees when I was an instructor or manager.
So, while not eliciting any sympathy, dear reader, please understand when it comes to jobs in the business, we are NO different from you, no matter what you do, blue or white collar.
We are also, despite what a …..select…number of egotistical, self centered, hot airbag filling, it’s all about me, self labeled superstars may think..no BETTER than you.
That all being said, and going back to the title of his little blog, there are a few things that really bug the crap out of me, that are just…part of the job.
If you are not a broadcaster, you may think them silly, and while I am not saying these things affect everyone in my business, I know I am not alone.
Bitch Number 1-since my first day in the business, I can just NEVER simply listen to the radio for pure enjoyment.
No matter who I listen to, I listen for execution of the programming, I listen for ideas I can steal for my station, I listen for fuck ups on the air I can laugh at and share with others.
Bitch Number 2, because of Bitch Number 1, I can NOT get away from my business unless I want to live on a desert island.
Radio is all over, it never really ends.
Same with television.
Same with newspapers.
Being “in the media,” you would have to be in prison to not be around the media.
Even if you don’t listen/watch/read, you know relatives/friends/neighbors who know what you do and assume you know EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.
Many years ago, my parents had a VCR that went off Channel 3
My mother called me at work and DEMANDED that I go to their house IMMEDIATELY to fix it.
Why? Because I work in broadcasting, and I can fix everything.
In truth I did fix the VCR but you get the idea.
BTW, I got that reference from Jay Leno and his parents…it’s true…oh it’s damn true…
Bitch Number 3-I hate parades.
I used to love them, but after 40 plus years of being IN parades, they are too much of a reference to work.
Same with fairs.
Same (to a much smaller degree) with concerts.
Same with telethons and/or other fundraisers.
I have been involved with so MANY of these everyday things as a participant, I have such a hard time enjoying them as a civilian.
Final Bitch-and this was especially true when I was doing Music Radio…I can’t express myself in public in a negative fashion about a musical act if I am on the air playing that musical act’s music, and talking the act up as a way to sell them on my station.
Case in point, in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I was working at a Top 40 station, at the time, THE bomb, as they say, were New Kids On The Block.
If you are a NKOTB fan, don’t hate me, actually I have come around to enjoy them quite a lot.
At the time, however, I couldn’t stand the little Boston Bastards.
About every half hour or so,at their peak, I had to play one their songs.
I compare it to a legendary quote attributed to Groucho Marx, who was interviewing a woman with something like 15-20 kids. The woman said, according to legend, “I love my husband very much,” to which Groucho replied, again according to legend, “I love my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth every once in a while.”
A family member gave me a T shirt with the words “NEW KIDS SUCK” on the front.
It was the BEST Christmas present I had gotten up to that point in my life.
However, as long as I was working at THAT particular station, I could NEVER wear it in public.
What would happen to the people who listened to me, who thought I loved “THEM” (NKOTB) as much as the listeners?
What would happen if those people started to hate me and started listening to “the other station”?
What would happened if I got fired because of a lack of listeners and had to learn to like the taste of government cheese?
So, as much as it killed me, I put the “NEW KIDS SUCK” shirt away.
Until I got fired from that station.
Then I wore the son of a bitch every day for a month.
THAT’S the right stuff…..bitches!