Ask the Expert: is the ‘dual role’ jock obsolete ?

Radio Today's 'Ask the Experts' is where we pose your questions to a revolving group of industry experts. As always, if there's a question you want to ask (and you can remain anonymous if you like), shoot it through to us here.

The experts this time are a selection of metro Programmers.

And here's the question….

Now with the advent of more content heavy work days to combat the ever growing threat of digital media being able to recreate on demand everything except the individual content and talent (being the point of difference now) of a presenter,  is the dual role obsolete ?

What we currently have is a majority of time poor dual role day jocks who are constantly told that ‘your focus is what goes to air’ but never have the time to put heart and soul into what they’re employed for because of the operational work they’re charged with off the air.

Is it time to reintroduce the radio day jock whose sole purpose is on air, and pumping 100% of themselves into creating entertaining and content based radio across the workday ?

Here's what the experts had to say….

Dave Cameron : Fox FM Content Director / Head of Today Network

To the contrary, I'd say our best music jocks in the company are the ones that truly understand the workings and operations of behind the scenes as much as bringing it alive on the air.

I think our dual-role workday jocks, Ellie, Keegs, Alexis, MC et al are far smarter, savvier and talented and truly understand strategy and building of the product now than the stroll-in stroll-out lazy jocks of the past.

As for creating entertaining content In the workday, I couldn't agree more, and we're making that happen. We have more "show content" hours than music product hours in a day now with Hamish and Andy's Business Brunch and Mamamia Today sitting in the typical workday session.

 

Duncan Campbell : Group Content Director, ARN

In the ideal world you would have announcers focussing on their air work but with pressure on resources some stations have moved to the dual role announcer which, depending on the circumstance, could mean more resources into key shifts like breakfast which makes sense.

ARN doesn’t have a hard and fast policy but look at it station by station. We have a combination of just announcers and dual role announcers. To do both roles effectively you have to be efficient but that’s the nature of the industry today and we all need to adapt to change.

 

Donna Puechmarin : Content Director, SAFM Adelaide

Absolutely not, personally I want my most creative and connected people (my jocks) influencing as much of my product as possible, however, maybe the kinds of dual roles our jocks do are changing, after all, we’re not working in an industry in stasis. . . radio has changed, we’re not just providing content for the airwaves anymore, we’re online content providers, short film makers, bloggers, writers, photographers, sales solution finders, tweeters and facebookers.

The most creative and prolific people in our buildings are our jocks, generally they have their finger on the pulse of their city and they are naturally doing multiple roles as an extension of their personality and ultimately their talent.

I’m not suggesting that your most creative on air talent is best served logging promos and liners (they should probably be writing them) but to cut a creative jock out of the process of getting the station to air and out of ‘hands on’ involvement in the broader product is a waste of talent and creativity which should be the point of difference in your programming.

 

Jay Walkerden : Program Director, Nova 106.9 Brisbane

At the risk of hedging my bets I think it’s important for all jocks to have a knowledge of the back end of programming. It’s helpful if you’re in a market that’s a little smaller to have people of the ground that have well rounded skillset for example – an MD that also has a operations role makes sense as he or she gets the operational nature of the station. However a jock that’s also an MD I would be worried about about being able to spend the quality time on both sides of the product.

From experience as an APD and jock in the past sometimes one would dominate the other and I’m not sure as a PD now that I would want that.

With all that in mind it then gets down to the market size and what you have to play with in your talent bank.

 

Todd Campbell : Content Director, 92.9 Perth

Question : Now with the advent of more content heavy work days to combat the ever growing threat of digital media being able to recreate on demand everything except the individual content and talent (being the point of difference now) of a presenter,  is the dual role obsolete ?

Todd : No. In fact I reckon being engaged with the other facets of how we make and ‘do’ radio helps your on air work. In the near future the day jock will play such a large role in the creation of the stations vision in that online and digital space, that the role will kind of feel like it has reverted to having a sole purpose anyway. The tasks an on air jock in the future will inevitably grow into the digital online area…

Until then, unless ‘then is already now’, my advice for Jox who feel this time poor anxiety, is to not fall for the trap that sitting around doing this mystical thing called ‘shift prep’ will help. I did a lot of shift prep in my time, most of it googling random stuff. My best shifts were when I was hung-over and had 15 minutes to nut out a plan.

Question : What we currently have is a majority of time poor dual role day jocks who are constantly told that ‘your focus is what goes to air’ but never have the time to put heart and soul into what they’re employed for because of the operational work they’re charged with off the air.

Todd : I’m not sure about that, I guess the question is within that other role (the off air) is how many tasks the jock needs to do. CD’s need to be realistic, but if you pull a 4 hour shift daily, then there’s no reason why you can’t add another major component to what you do.

Question : Is it time to reintroduce the radio day jock whose sole purpose is on air, and pumping 100% of themselves into creating entertaining and content based radio across the workday ?

Todd : As above. I met a great bunch of students from WAPPA the other day, from that I’m sure the jock of the future will be a multi-tasking, soc media freak, who can video and edit, and upload and even have some graphic design skills. They’ll build fan-base communities they can leverage in their pay deals, and NO they’re not “propeller head nerdy” types.

If you currently have an on air role now, you have an amazing opportunity, one bigger and better than I and many of my announcer mates had. Go for it.

Any thoughts? Leave your comments below.

And as usual, if you have a question you want to ask our revolving group of experts (they come from all area's of radio), let us know here and we'll get it sorted for you.

See previous Ask The Experts :-

To F10 or not to F10 – here
The 12 second talk break – here
How long to stay in one spot ? – here
Why is imaging important today ? – here

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