Radio Personalities

As I was driving around today I came to the realisation: it would really suck to be a music radio disc jockey now.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s I imagine it was an amazing job. You were one of the go to people for musical taste and relevant cultural information. People listened to the radio because of the DJs not inspite of them.

Now we have DJs who sound more like salesman who are being told to pitch item x. When they talk about a movie they “saw” on the weekend, I can’t help but think they are reading a script. Once I called in to request a song and the DJ asked me if I was going to buy lottery tickets. Huh? How does that have anything to do with the Barenaked Ladies?

I don’t think we can blame the fall of the DJ on the internet though. There are still some talented jockies, Alan Cross comes to mind instantly, and George Stroumboulopoulos is good (expect ads and syndication have really ruined his show).

Nope, the reason that radio sucks in the 21st century is because most DJs don’t care about the music, or the their listeners. If you compare a college/university DJ to a mainstream one you can hear the difference. Yes, they don’t sound as professional, but they sound like they love what they are doing.

You could have a long argument about whether radio is worth saving (I do), but ultimately the only way it can succeed is if people that care are using their voices.

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  • http://edwardplatero.com Edward Platero

    Titus, I fully agree with this assessment of modern day radio. I feel that most DJs have now become pitch men to

    the record companies/marketing firms who end up being the highest payout.

    After living in the Windsor/Detroit area for 5 years, where the band is literally full of radio stations, the thing

    that kept a lot of stations thriving was listener loyalty, and most radio stations down that way kept listeners by

    employing a solid base of on-air personalities. Love him or hate him, Arthur P from wrif 101 is old as dirt, but he

    was the voice of the station.

    After moving back to London, I tried giving the local stations a try, but tuned out after a week. The local on-air

    talent in this city leaves very much to be desired. Even the biggest morning show – Tucker & Taz sounds like a

    watered down, third rate version of Drew & Mike.

    Getting back to DJs. I think that the reason that most DJs sound uninspired by the music they are talking up is,

    the music itself. Mainstream music these days, is more about selling more units on iTunes or walmart than it is

    about actual music. I mean, how can Nickelback have a career writing the same song over and over and over again?

    (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs4tNeGyTyI). They can because they are a product of the music marketing

    machine.

    Music now is less about the music and more about the brand. Why is Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana the biggest name in

    music now? because she has a television show, clothing line, fragrance etc. She literally has become the WalMart of

    music, a one stop shop where you can get everything.

    Radio personalities are uninspired now, because the entire mainstream music industry is uninspired. I mean the

    Black Eyed Peas are the top selling artist right now on iTunes? This in itself is a tragedy.

    Love him or hate him, the reason why so many people are mourning the death of Michael Jackson is because, in our

    lifetime, we will never see an artist achieve what he or the Beatles have accomplished. Both of these artists

    re-invented the wheel when it came to music, and still to this day their music remains relevant. Honestly, do you

    think that in 25 years people will still be cueing up “Boom Boom Pow”?… I think not.

    This is why personally I have sought other means to get my music. Sources like indie radio, podcasts and last.fm

    have given me much more enjoyment over the past few years than a single day listening to FM96. I think that it is

    only a matter of time before more and more people follow suit, and as a DJ, I would be very nervous.

  • http://edwardplatero.com Edward

    Titus, I fully agree with this assessment of modern day radio. I feel that most DJs have now become pitch men to the record companies/marketing firms who end up being the highest payout.

    After living in the Windsor/Detroit area for 5 years, where the band is literally full of radio stations, the thing that kept a lot of stations thriving was listener loyalty, and most radio stations down that way kept listeners by employing a solid base of on-air personalities. Love him or hate him, Arthur P from wrif 101 is old as dirt, but he was the voice of the station.

    After moving back to London, I tried giving the local stations a try, but tuned out after a week. The local on-air talent in this city leaves very much to be desired. Even the biggest morning show – Tucker & Taz sounds like a watered down, third rate version of Drew & Mike.

    Getting back to DJs. I think that the reason that most DJs sound uninspired by the music they are talking up is, the music itself. Mainstream music these days, is more about selling more units on iTunes or walmart than it is about actual music. I mean, how can Nickelback have a career writing the same song over and over and over again? (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs4tNeGyTyI). They can because they are a product of the music marketing machine.

    Music now is less about the music and more about the brand. Why is Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana the biggest name in music now? because she has a television show, clothing line, fragrance etc. She literally has become the WalMart of music, a one stop shop where you can get everything.

    Radio personalities are uninspired now, because the entire mainstream music industry is uninspired. I mean the Black Eyed Peas are the top selling artist right now on iTunes? This in itself is a tragedy.

    Love him or hate him, the reason why so many people are mourning the death of Michael Jackson is because, in our lifetime, we will never see an artist achieve what he or the Beatles have accomplished. Both of these artists re-invented the wheel when it came to music, and still to this day their music remains relevant. Honestly, do you think that in 25 years people will still be cueing up “Boom Boom Pow”?… I think not.

    This is why personally I have sought other means to get my music. Sources like indie radio, podcasts and last.fm have given me much more enjoyment over the past few years than a single day listening to FM96. I think that it is only a matter of time before more and more people follow suit, and as a DJ, I would be very nervous.

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