Tuesday, 20 November 2012

DJ In a Spin

Although few people own an alarm clock nowadays, it is compulsory to borrow a big one for the obligatory press shot when an excited new breakfast presenter joins a radio station.  They need to clutch it, perhaps point at it; and smile.  They must be in a studio, and headphones must be worn.  Not around the head, but draped daintily around the neck.  If they ask you to bring a cornflake packet, pyjamas or lie in a bed with your co-host, just say no. Say you've changed your mind about hosting the 'flagship show' after all.

When the local charity raises some sorely needed cash with the help of the station, make sure you hold one end of the large presentation cheque and point to the amount of the ‘boost’, grinning stupidly.  After all, you truly are ‘in tune’; and you have ‘hit the right note’.  Similarly, a station must be ‘rapped’ if it ‘hits the wrong note’.   

"DJ Mary Anne Hobbs is hitting the right note" (Manchester Evening News March 2013"

As for understanding audience figures, it is obligatory for press to fail to grasp the intricacies of Rajar; and the fact that if a station loses a couple of thousand listeners it might, in reality, have done better than last time.  Mind you, that would confuse me too; and the press must get pretty sick of us all being ‘delighted’.

New presenters never leave one station for another. Oh no, they are ‘poached’.  If they are not poached they are ‘axed’. Probably by ‘station chiefs’.  Both sound painful. When life gets really tough for a 'motormouth' or 'bonkers' DJ, then it’s just got to be a case of ‘DJ in a spin’.  Even if you've 'scooped' an award, which will doubtless be a 'Radio Oscar', whatever it is.

Be sure to let the press know the name of your station. Without knowing the correct answer, there’s a risk they might accidentally get it right. Tell them the correct answer, and they can avoid it. They’ll use ‘FM’ where you have ‘radio’; and vice versa. If you have a brand and no suffix they’ll dream one up for you. It’ll naturally be one which has never been on ‘the airwaves’.  Those lovely airwaves.  Does that word ever appear anywhere in real life apart from a newspaper? 

Mind you, at least they have mentioned your brand.  Some forget you have a name and all your efforts are simply attributed to ‘a radio station’.  Mind you, if those efforts result in any manner of crisis, your name will suddenly be recalled.

Since first writing this blog, I was amused to read coverage of the end of  the redoubtable award-winning 'Beryl and Betty' on BBC Radio Humberside.  The Daily Mail duly informed us that the pair planned to 'hang up their mics'.  Just like we all do at the end of our shows. What?  Headphones, I guess, can be hung up, and that alliterates usefully too.  But hanging up a mic?

Thank goodness we, in radio, are immune from clichés on-air. I’d hate to get the green light for that sort of behaviour.


  1. Thanks for another enjoyable read David! I do sometimes wonder if the newspapers deliberatly belittle radio, particularly local commercial radio sometimes perhaps because they feel threatened by it. Then at other times I think radio is its own worst enemy by going along with the naff photo ideas, desperatly courting the publicity and giving away outdated crap like 'goodie bags' on air. It's interesting though that the cliches you speak of are much more readily applied to presenters who are ONLY known for their radio work. No-one would talk about Ryan Seacrest, Jonathan Ross or Fearne Cotton in the way you describe. Perhaps it's another reason stations don't want 'DJs' or 'presenters' these days, but 'multi media brands'. Wondering what you think of this guy http://www.zachsangandthegang.com/ as an example of the shape of things to come?

  2. I think there's some truth in that (I mused on 'future presenters' in another blog!); but whatever other platforms are utilised, the most memorable radio will always be about a conversation.

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