One of the great side benefits of working at a radio station is the regular availability of free food. I almost don’t want to do a post on this because somehow, some corporate boss is going to read about it and a no-free food edict will result.
Every so often, some local deli or pizza place will drop off something for the air staff. Usually, it is a friend of a friend, and nothing nefarious is going on. When it arrives, the odor of good things to eat wafts through the building. With the smell of blood in the water, the sharks swim out of the sales bullpen and a feeding frenzy develops. Just watch out for your fingers, during the scrum, it is difficult to tell the difference between a digit and a sausage.
It goes fast, when I walked by this table 15 minutes ago, there were five full pizza boxes, just delivered.
Now there is one box with two slices of some meat lovers’ heart attack special.
It just doesn’t have the same ring as Disk Jockey or DJ. However, that would be an apt description of the person who plays the hits on most radio stations these days.
It is mostly just drag and drop the next element into the play deck if anything needs to be done at all.
I remember when DJs actually jockeyed disks, it was a sight to behold. Back in the day when everything was on vinyl except the commercials, which were on the cart, the DJ had his or her hands full. Most of the songs were in the 2:30 to 3-minute range, so while the song was playing, the next song had to be cued up on the platter, the old song needed to be put back into its sleeve and shelved (most of the time), check the log to see what was on deck, pull the next commercial stop set, answer the phone and god forbid if the Program Director called on the hotline and it rang more than 3 times. And hopefully, the head wasn’t too far away, that coffee went somewhere, after all. While all that is going on, timing, audience interaction, hitting the post, and sounding fun. In spite of what Howard Stern says, it was not easy.
Today, of course, if there is even a person in the studio, they may glance up at the computer screen every now and then to see when the next time they need to talk. Otherwise, they would be engaged in talking on the phone with their girlfriend, texting, surfing the internet, or watching a baseball game on TV.
Ever since the new morning show guy started about six months ago, my workbench chair has been frequently migrating into the air studio. I don’t mind sharing, as long as things are put back where they came. I requested that the ever so cool, to hip to care DJ return it after use, which was ignored.
On my last trip to the hardware store, I made a purchase:
Behold, a length of 5/16 chain, and two master combination locks. Now, every time I go to sit in my workbench chair, it is there.
If you work at a radio station that still has a local program director instead of one at the corporate programming lair (I know, sooooo old school), then you might be interested in this. I compiled a list of things that radio station program directors like:
Good ratings. A good rating book means that they are great program directors and they really know their stuff. Bad ratings mean that engineering dropped the ball (again) when the station went off the air for 30 seconds during afternoon drive.
Taking credit for anything good. Sort of goes with the good ratings above, but this extends out to all other aspects of a radio station, promotions, sales, news, and even engineering.
New Processing. Any new gizmo or gadget that changes the sound of the microphone or entire station, for better or worse, is good. The more flashing lights the better. The more knobs to adjust the better. Things that can be plugged into computers and remotely controlled are the ultimate.
More. More of anything is better, more compression, more expansion, more highs, more mid-range, more lows, more gain, more de-essing, more loudness, more power, more punch, more reverb, more crack, more more more. If they could just have a little more, the station would be number one.
Any other new piece of equipment. Watching a program director look at a new studio is like watching a two year old open presents on Christmas morning. I know, I have a two year old. Unfortunately, the studios don’t stay new looking for long.
Taping notes up in the studio. I have one studio where every stationary piece of equipment has a note taped to it. Mind you, the notes have nothing to do with the equipment they are covering up, they are more like general directions, phone numbers, and other miscellaneous pieces of information.
Free stuff. Used to be called payola or plugola, now it is a free laptop, or a trip to Disney paid for by the record rep. I’ve even seen some mysterious mike processors show up (see number 3).
Rigging up lights to alert operators. This is a great one, the studio operator does not know if the Marti (or Matrix or ISDN) is active, so they want a light to indicate there is someone there. Or a light on the phone hotline, or a light for the EAS machine, the back door, the coffee machine, the silence sensor (never mind they are in the studio, they still need a silence sensor light)
Blaming other people when things go wrong. The program director is infallible. If something goes wrong, it is somebody else’s fault. Always. And forever. Amen.
Someone suggested that I put up the video “More, more, more” by Andrea True Connection to go along #4. Well, okay, I guess. It is not a terrible song but the video kinda suxor. From what I can tell, Andrea True is a former p0r n star that turned signer for just this one hit. Looks like it was filmed on a p0r n set too.
Feel free to add anything else that I may have forgotten. Of course, this is all in good fun. I’ll do a “stuff radio engineers like” post as soon as I figure out what that is.