Seven ways radio is much better for announcers now than it was last century
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a positive “glass half full” kind of guy. But do you know what pisses me off?
People who are no longer working in the industry, constantly bitching about how much better radio was when they were “jocking in the 80’s and 90’s.”
You know who I’m talking about? YOU may even be one of these people!
Do you recognise any of these statements?
“Back in our day we used to blah, blah blah…..”
“Radio had more personality when I was cha cha cha…”
“We made live edgy, creative, ground-breaking radio wah wah wah…”
“And there was none of this networking or automation whaddy whaddy wha…”
My name is Sean Craig Murphy.
There aren’t many things I’m qualified at giving an expert opinion on, but this could be one of them.
My career started in the 80’s.
It peaked* in the nineties and naughties when I was doing minimum hours for maximum money and partying way too hard. *Interesting use of the word peaked.
(How I didn’t get sacked is beyond comprehension. In fact, come to think of it maybe I did, but I just don’t remember it.)
These days I’m a daytime announcer at Triple M Adelaide. I work 40 hours a week as opposed to 14. And I make less money than I did at my peak. (there’s that word again!)
But you know what, I can honestly say, life as a radio announcer is way better now than it was last century.
Let me countdown thy ways.
7. You don’t need to have a clichéd ballsy voice to succeed anymore
These days it’s all about, *buzzword alert* AUTHENTIC and interesting voices with real personality. Turn the radio on any day and you’ll hear Fitzy being everyone’s favourite bogan, Em Rusciano camping it up and Smallzy representing the squeakier end of the spectrum.
Gone are the days you have to sound like John Laws or Sandra Sully to win.
6. It’s easier to be a national or global star
Thanks to social media, podcasting and smart phones you can go viral with a video or have an international following with a podcast. The internet and live streaming of radio also means more widespread recognition of your work no matter what station you’re working at.
5. There’s many more entrance level brekky jobs
At a minimum, there’s twice as many radio stations now as there were when I first started. Sure, lots of them network some daytime shifts, but most of the regional radio stations have local AM and FM brekky shows and a fair swathe of those are two-person teams.
4. No more f***ing “Art of War” by Sun Tzu
Google it if you’re a millennial. For programmers in the 90’s this was their bible and if you were an announcer that didn’t fit in this warrior mould you were doomed or ostracised. Thankfully modern radio attracts and embraces all different types of personalities.
3. It’s healthier being a jock this century
Can you imagine sitting in a small room full of cigarette smoke for 6 hours in a row? The answer is probably YES if you’re over 40 and NO if you’re under that age. Trust me it’s fucking disgusting. And we haven’t even mentioned the loose attitudes to drugs and booze that caused breakdowns and breakups.
2. Technology makes your job easier and your content superior
When I first started, a razor blade was a DJ’s best friend. (Splicing. Not chopping.) Now you have a bank of touchscreens, on-air production capabilities that shit all over what actual producers had in the 80’s and a couple of little things called the internet and social media.
1. There’s infinite more ways to demonstrate your creativity
Got a great idea? In the 80’s and 90’s, if you were a music jock, you turned that great idea into a great talk break. And ahh….well, that was pretty much it.
Now you can repurpose the shit out of that mother. It’s a Facebook post. It’s a video. It’s an exponential, integrated digial campaign. It’s a blog. It’s a vlog. I’m a flog.
And we haven’t even started on podcasting.
Radio is now a hungry multi-platform creative beast. It needs radio announcers to feed it.
Disclaimer: My radio heroes are all from the eighties and nineties. (D-Gen, Jon Peters, Bill Weaver etc.). And I had a really great time in radio last century.