Radio Ga Ga

, , , , | Right | January 6, 2019

(This story was told to me many years ago in broadcast school. As part of our application, we had to take a tour of a radio station and get a taste for the work involved. This classmate is telling us about her tour. She is in the main control room, asking the announcer some questions while he does his show, and she notices that all the phone lines are lighting up.)

Classmate: “Uh… Shouldn’t you be answering the phone?”

(The announcer turns around and randomly picks up one of the phone lines.)

Announcer: “Good afternoon, [Radio Station].”

Caller #1: “Oh, my God, he picked up.”

Caller #2: “Well! Say something!”

Caller #1: “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY!”

Caller #2: “THEN HANG UP!”

Caller #1: *screams*

Caller #2: *screams*

(The two callers then hang up. The announcer turns back to my classmate.)

Announcer: “It’s Spring Break. All the kids are out of school and bored. All the calls this week are like that.”

Unfiltered Story #131922

, , | Unfiltered | December 10, 2018

(My Dad and I are listening to the rock station, which is apparently close to the number of another, I believe more modern, music station. A lady calls into the station hoping to win something. I’m unaware as to what the contest is, at the time, but we continue to listen, anyway. She asks the DJ if they could play two Rihanna songs in a row. I’m confused as to why she’d want that, considering how it’s a rock station. She’s unaware of her mistake, but the DJ clearly is. So, he gets her all excited, asking:)

DJ: “Are you sitting? Are you excited? Are you ready?”

(After he’s worked up her excitement, he reveals that she’s called the wrong music station.)

Caller: *exasperated* “Are you kidding me?! Oh my god… I didn’t even realize it! I thought this was [other music station], but I didn’t realize that it was the wrong station number!”

(She then goes on, exasperating how she didn’t realize the mistake. After the call is finished, my dad states:)

Dad: “Well, that was a maaajor blonde moment…”

Me: “Yeah, I was confused as to what she was talking about…”

Dad: “So was I.”

I agree… It was a MAJOR blonde moment! If she listened to more modern music, did she not question all the Rock songs that were playing?

Be Thankful For A Decent Education

, , , , | Working | October 14, 2018

(There have been many jokes and jabs about US Americans not knowing anything about geography or foreign cultures. But let me tell you, this problem exists in other places, too. I live in Finland. Some years ago, I was interning at a radio station for my journalism studies. It was a typical “light” commercial station with top-40 hits, hosts chatting about different easy topics between songs, pop-culture-related interviews etc. This happens at the end of November. I am chatting with one of the daytime hosts.)

Me: “Morning! What’s up?”

Host: “Morning! I was just wondering what I’ll talk about on the air. Because I was wondering, like, you know how it is Thanksgiving today, right?”

Me: “Yeah, I think it is.”

Host: “And like, it is weird that they celebrate it so much in the US, but not at all in Finland or, like, any other Nordic countries. Do they even celebrate Thanksgiving anywhere in Europe?”

Me: “Well, no, I don’t think so, probably not in the same style as the US, at least.”

Host: “Right, and I am going to discuss why that is. Is it some kind of culture and attitude thing? Americans are more open and express their feelings more in public so, like, maybe being publicly thankful does not fit in Finnish culture, and that is why we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving? And should we, with like turkey and pumpkins and stuff?”

Me: “It’s probably because US-style Thanksgiving is more or less a national holiday or at least a continental one?”

Host: “How do you mean?”

Me: “I’m not an expert, but I think historically the modern American Thanksgiving has its root in the 16th century. The colonization of America, pilgrims leaving Europe to establish new settlements, and all that. They celebrated surviving the journey, and the new land, and gave thanks to God every year for good harvest that would be enough to get them through the following winter and spring. We are still in Europe, so we don’t have that tradition, but Canada and US have it. I mean, Europeans have different harvest festivals that are in some ways similar. In Finland, that would probably be Kekri, but it’s not really celebrated the same way.”

Host: *pause* “Right.”

(She seemed very suspicious of my explanation and still talked on air about how lack of Thanksgiving in Finland has to do with “being introverted and privacy-loving culture.” At least listeners had fun pointing out the same things I already did. And the host calls herself a professional journalist.)

Oblivious To The Social Media Fallout

, , , , , | Working | June 5, 2018

(I am on my way home from college, flipping through the local radio stations. I stop on what turns out to be a pop station and listen as the host says, without a trace of irony:)

Host: “Up next, The Chainsmokers and their hit song Sick Boy. I think the chorus, ‘How many likes is my life worth?’ really says something about our society. Anyway, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for all your music news!”

Not Even Remotely Getting Paid

, , , | Working | February 10, 2018

(I’m working at a small town radio station. We have a big event coming up in town, and we’re deciding how to handle it. Some of the radio jargon: a “remote” is when we’re live on location from an event, and “canning the remote” is when we pre-record some or all of our coverage about the event.)

Boss: “Okay, this is a pretty major event, and I want our presence there to be as big as possible. Therefore, I want you to can the remote, so everyone can be at the event, interacting with the crowd.”

(My coworker and I agree. The day comes, so we make our recording about the event at the station, as per the boss’s orders, load up our gear into the station vehicle, and head to the event. We arrive, set up our booth, and get ready to do our thing. When the boss shows up, she looks at us and says:)

Boss: “By the way, you’re not getting paid for this. Because you decided to can this remote so you can all be here screwing around, it no longer counts as a remote.”

(From that day forth, whenever the boss told us to can a remote so, “we can all be there and maximize our presence,” we politely told her, “No.”)

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