Just A D.J.
When you offend someone they try to strike out at you in whatever little ways they know how. The ‘insult’ I get most is “you’re just a d.j.!” OH LAWDY HOW I WISH I WAS JUST A D.J.! There is no such thing as ‘just a d.j.” anymore. Now, let’s not even make this about me or the insult, I know there are a few of you that wish you could be “just a d.j.” and I’ll tell you what we really do next.
There never was a time anyone was ‘just a d.j.’ from a talentless hack like me to Howard Stern, even in the 80’s we’d do our four or five hours, then do another four hours worth of commercials. Back before the technology caught up with radio, it could easily take 90 minutes to cut one thirty second commercial. Enough about the old days, let’s move headlong into the future and go through some of the stuff we do.
Today’s d.j.s have to still host a four or five hour show, sometimes seven days a week. In reality, sometime that seventh “show” is recorded, but still more work. Now doing a ‘show’ requires a few things. You need to read up on what’s going on, decide what you’re going to talk about, slot your prizes, check the weather and other minutiae. After you’re prepared, you go into the control room and try to entertain people without being boring or talking too much. Now the whole time you’re second-guessing yourself and what you’re doing, people call in with requests. When the phone rings a strobe light goes off so you can see it. This breaks your concentration but we try to be ‘here to serve’ and do actually enjoy talking to listeners, so we answer the phone. There’s only one problem, when you stop doing ‘your show’ it’s like losing your place in a book, so you have to get geared up all over again. At that point you may or may not get your concentration back or break done before the phone rings again (please don’t let this keep you from calling; I’m just explaining the situation to you). So basically you’re trying to make a ‘mini-speech’ to your audience while everything possible is being done to distract you (salesmen and stuff ‘drop by’ too to add to the confusion). You wouldn’t think it, but we do on occasion actually break a sweat. This is just a small snapshot of the show itself.
In addition to the ‘show’, we now write blogs. I’m quite a fan of writing blogs, even though I don’t write very well. I try to kick out some short ones just to tell you what’s hot or what’s coming out, but I also think it gives me an opportunity to give you cool behind the scenes info like this. In addition to the blogs, we also monitor, post and respond to Facebook posts and tweets.
Now the stuff above is the ‘fun’ part of the day. After that we still cut commercials, record songs into the system, work on imaging (those little blasts of audio that happen between songs). We also work on promotions for the station and sometimes with clients for their business.
Like any other gig in 2012 we have reports we have to write. We have public service reports, website reports and even probably a report on reports. I’m not complaining, I’d rather write reports than lug hot tar up a ladder (my previous job) any day! I say, “keep those reports comin'”.
Some of us get calls from music promoters. They want to know if their song has arrived, what we think of it and what’s the chances of getting it played. Then there’s show syndicators. They wan’t us to take their show, bump it up to a better time or fill out the affidavits for a current show(don’t even get me started on the mind-numbing, but necessary lameness of affidavits).
Now when you get to the management level you can imagine how things increase exponentially. In addition to those reports and calls, we deal with everything a typical manager would, from employee problems to ‘stocking’ (getting prizes for a remote).
Now, I know I’m skipping a lot here, but you’ve probably got the point. I am, and always will be grateful for every day I’m in radio, but I would gladly endure all of the insults plus hot coals shoved down my pants to be “just a d.j.“.