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Labor Day: Radio Scoffs at Notion that Radio is "Work"



Labor Day: Radio Scoffs at Notion that Radio is

Today's modern deejay works less than ever before!

Once again, I am faced with a deadline to provide an article to Radio.about.com which reflects thought, insight, and eloquence. And as usual, I have failed. Instead, I have decided to tackle the work ethic in the Radio industry in honor of Labor Day.

"Labor Day" is actually Latin for "three-day weekend when I will party until my body rejects my liver." Many people in our society get all kinds of "Labor Dayish" during this holiday but there is a disconnect, especially with those who work in Radio.

Don't misunderstand: it's not that drinking is foreign to people in Radio. Just ask anyone who has done a morning show for 20 years. No, it's the word "labor" which frightens many in the business and sends them into a corner, curled up in a fetal position. People work in Radio to avoid working.

People who enter Radio do so under the impression that it's always fun and fun things are not work. To a certain extent they are correct if you're speaking of on-air performers like deejays, air-personalities, talk show hosts, presenters, etc. Not only is fun the antithesis of work but look how short the workday is for on-air talent. Four hours is a typical on-air shift, maybe six hours for an overnight gig.

That's certainly a far cry from a normal 40-hour work week. But, it gets even better! We're assuming the performer is "live" and actually sitting in that comfortable leather studio chair he or she must be afforded by most caring companies. (Excuse me while I snicker to myself.)

But, in today's radio environment many people on-the-air are not on-the-air. They are recorded to sound like they are on-the-air. They are actually billions of bytes stored in digital files that were recorded an earlier time. They are not alive, they are voice tracks - an incredible simulation made to seem authentic by swift computer software automation. For all you know, the person "talkng" to you could actually be home, sitting on a commode. Now that's reassuring.

The actual time it takes to record voice tracks for a four-hour period can vary, but having had some experience with the process I can tell you a trained deejay can bang out a complete 4-hour shift in a half-hour. And that includes one coffee run to the break room and the time it takes to text a reply to that pretty young thing he met at a recent remote broadcast.

Well, one-half hour can still be a respectable amount of work. In some cultures. Somewhere. Who are we to judge? Work is work!

Unless you are lucky enough to be a deejay at a music-formatted radio station which features "More Music, Less Talk." Then, you've hit the jackpot. Life's Lottery has blessed you with even less toil and trouble because the Program Director or a consultant has probably done a lot of research and they have found that people who like to listen to music, hate to listen to people talk between the music. In an effort to lessen the negatives, the Program Director tells his staff they only have two or three times each hour when they have to record a voice track. He also says something like, "And if you can't say it within 12 seconds, you shouldn't."

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