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Every once-in-a-while, I receive an email from a student doing some sort of homework project which involves employment or occupations. For some reason, that misguided person has chosen "Radio" or "Disc-Jockey" as the subject to complete that assignment.

This week, I received another such request and decided to share my answers with you.

1) Describe the work duties of the occuptional area.

Drag butt out of bed, drink coffee. Drag ass down to Radio station. Think to self: it is 4 in the morning: what the HELL am I doing this for? Oh yeah: the glory and prestige. Look in mirror, notice you look like a homeless person. How prestigous. Make mental note not to ever look at self before 11 A.M. Drink coffee. Stare. Drink Coffee. Answer email from people writing papers about how glorious radio jobs are. Drink coffee. Talk for four hours because someone is under the mistaken impression that's worth money. Drink coffee. After air-shift, sneak out of building before someone mistakes you for a responsible employee.

2) Give examples of typical business that employ people in this area.

1. Radio stations.
2. Department store public address systems, (clear throat) "Attention Wal Mart Shoppers".
3. Prison productions that need an emcee on the mike to introduce lame-ass attempt by felons to perform plays better suited to, say, Dinner Theatre starring that fat little guy from "Seinfeld" who now does chicken commercials.

3) Describe the educational training required for the field.

Interviewer: Can you show up for work at least 4 out of 5 days each week not drunk (although hung-over is fine), not get thrown in jail for being discovered with a 16-year-old listener in morally compromising position plus press buttons and speak in alternating sequence?
Interviewee: Yes.
Interviewer: Welcome to Radio. You're hired.

Okay, really: I went to college and majored in Telecommunications with a minor in Advertising and Public Relations. My on-air partner, Jay, did not go to college. We both make the same amount of money. Go figure. If I had known then what I know now, I would have skipped class, called up Jay and asked him where the party was.

4) Describe the opportunities for advancement in this field.

Because the Radio industry has changed much over the past 10 years and many jobs have been lost to deregulation and consolidation, advancement is now considered NOT getting fired. Keeping your job means you've advanced into another 6 months of employment. Hallelullah!

5) Describe the typical earnings for someone employed in the chosen occupational area.

You're kidding, right? Okay, let me put it this way: If you're doing the overnight shift on a station in Cowbutt, Arizona you're probably eating Macaroni and Cheese every night, but at least you have a little job security. If you're doing mornings in Columbus, Ohio you're probably eating Macaroni and Cheese only once or twice-a-week but you're constantly looking over you're shoulder because everyone is paranoid. If you're working in Chicago - no matter what shift - you're probably eating Thai food for lunch and steak for dinner in a classy Michigan Avenue restaurant. But, enjoy it: positions, personnel and formats in the Majors change faster than an Iraqi dictatorship. Enjoy your dinner.

What's Your Radio Aptitude? Try These Tongue-in-Cheek Quizzes:

You Be The Radio Music Director


You Be The Radio Program Director

- Corey Deitz

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