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The Modern Millennial: Knowing Songs And Crying For $100

, , , , , | Right | January 15, 2020

I’m the stupid customer in this story.

I was in the car and just happened to know the answer to a radio station’s “name that song” challenge. I didn’t pay attention to know what the prize was, but I was so excited I knew the answer that I called in anyway. Surprisingly, I was the right caller! It was a $100 grocery store gift card, not bad! I gave my details, and they called back a week later with details on how to pick up the prize. As I’ve never won a radio contest before, I didn’t realize this meant I had to drive down to the studio during their business hours, which happened to be the same hours I worked plus at least a 30- to 45-minute drive.

I played phone tag for a week or so asking for an alternative, like a friend picking it up for me or for them to mail it to me. They said no, you have to pick it up in person with an ID. Eventually, my employer allowed me to move my lunch break to the last hour so I could rush down to the studio before they closed.

As luck would have it, rush hour was at its peak, add in road construction, a car accident on the side of the road, and a full bladder — in my rush to get out, I didn’t use the bathroom before leaving — and I was frustrated and impatient. Traffic usually doesn’t bother me. I watched the clock tick away as I sat in my car on the road-turned-parking lot. When I finally reached the office building, I ran inside, saw the dark lights and locked office door, and ran crying into the bathroom, ready to burst. I came back outside, sat in the hallway out of the way of foot traffic — except a lone, confused-looking janitor — and cried to myself.

I don’t know why. Maybe it was just the frustration building up, but a twenty-something-year-old shouldn’t be crying over a gift card. I ended up calling the station and leaving a tearful voicemail explaining how I tried my best, I was sitting outside the office seven minutes after they closed, and I would try to come back another time. I guess I sounded pathetic enough that the next day after the weekend, they emailed me a waiver form saying they would mail the gift card, but that I had to sign it saying it’s not their fault if it gets lost or stolen in transit. I signed right away and received the gift card within the week.

Interesting Piece Of Radio Trivia For You

, , , , | Right | September 12, 2019

(My local radio station plays this clip from a caller.)

DJ: “Hello, [Station Call Sign]. You’re on the air!”

Caller: “Is the answer Claire Huxtable?”

DJ: “Oh, you were so close!”

Caller: “Dang!”

DJ: “Tell you what. Give us one more guess.”

Caller: “Um… is it… Peg Bundy?”

DJ: “There you go!”

Caller: “Yay! What do I win?”

DJ: “Beats me. We’re not doing any kind of trivia contest now.”

Caller: “Huh?”

(They apparently had called the wrong station.)

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.”

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!”