Monday, December 2, 2013

The trials and tribulations of a Broadcaster in an ever evolving medium.

This is the story about the pains of being a broadcaster aka Radio DJ. I've been in this line of work for over a decade now, a considerable amount of time for sure, but compared to the legends in my field  i'm still a punk kid, a fact that is brought up frequently by some of the meaner "listeners".

The listeners themselves are a Unique bunch that we DJ's have to deal with on a regular basis. Some  are nice, some are weird and some are just down right nasty for no apparent reason. But hey this come with the territory, but I must admit it does get very frustrating sometimes.

DJ's and radio stations are bound by certain rules that we cannot deviate from when we go on air. They include:

Song Rotation  - Song Rotation basically means the songs that get's aired based on their freshness so to speak. And they are broken into 3 main categories. (May vary depending on radio format)

High Rotation - Current Chart topping songs or songs that are considered "new" and are normally super fresh to 1.5 years old. Typically aired 20 or more spins each week, perhaps reaching to 50 and beyond. 

Medium rotation - Medium rotation songs are songs that are roughly 5 -10 yrs old . Typically aired 10-25 times per week.

Low Rotation - Basically really old songs that fall into the retro and oldies category. Typically aired 5–15 times per week

Festive season songs - Usually played with increased fequency 10-15 days before the celebration itself.

And depending on Radio format we cannot deviate from these rules.

Now the the station that I work in, basically works with the format know as Middle of the Road (MOR).  This means that we try to keep everyone happy by playing all kinds of music. What this means is we are riding on the comfortable yet also perilous line that is smack dab in the middle of the other extremes. On one end you have the Hits top 40 type radios that play hard pumping hits all day all night and on the other end of the spectrum we have the easy listening/oldies format.

Alas trying to keep everyone happy can be quite problematic, especially when they normally start off being really mean to you first and not wanting to listen or understand your job, just because they are "older and more worldly, hence wiser mentality" so to speak. Choosing songs and maintaining a balance is also quite a challenge, and some of the memorable comments that I have received while doing my shows among others include:

When I play New songs, some listeners say - "Why are you playing this kind of music? Do you worship Satan? are you taking Drugs? Young and stupid people like you should not be at the conty. Giving people heart attack playing these kinds of songs". (The songs being played at the time was a very nice acoustic number from Radiohead)

When I play Old songs,some listeners say - " Yo dude, whats with all the oldies bro, did someone die??" or "Dude when did you guys become Apek(old man) Fm?" 

Those are some that I can remember off the top of my head. Though the younger crowd here are a bit more forgiving. This is because when we are not playing their favorite songs, they simply take out their MP3 players and just party on with the songs in their portable devices.

There are groups that are more resistant to new content, be it songs or shows. But alas new content is needed due to this one word, "COMPETITION". If we don't continue to aggressively increase new content we will get left behind in the dust. And quite possibly die a painful death.

Another thing is royalty payments. It would be counter productive for the station to continuously pay royalties to singers whose song we rarely play even though we have it ready to go in our databases, especially new songs. As most of the royalty payments for songs in the oldies section is probably over. I'm sure that most of you would appreciate this from a financial point of view, even if you don't appreciate the music.

Like I said before, we are using the MOR format so we try to keep everyone happy. We have shows dedicated to oldies, rock, dance music, Jazz,Country etc. And the Dj's responsible for creating all these programs all work hard to make content that makes everyone happy. Currently we have 4 dj's that specialize in oldies, 2 that specializes in Country, 2 that specializes in new chart songs and 3 that specialize in Retro and contemporary hits.

So contrary to popular belief we are not abandoning the oldies, but we have to make room for newer content so as to keep up and some day surpass our competitors.

1 comment:

EM said...

Cheer up dude, can't make everyone happy.

With the kinds of songs being spit out by the industry these days, especially with the recent Korean horse dance craze going on. You have to wonder what is going on with the minds of some of these people.

Keep up with your work, and sometimes, do what you would personally enjoy, do it with passion, don't take the people's comments seriously too much.

Remember that it gets into your head and does things. So let them speak what they want, either don't respond or placate them by saying the things they want to hear, and ignore their comments completely.