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The Wacky World of Radio

Today's Lesson: The Radio Webmaster (Humor/Satire)

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Wacky World of Radio Logo

Wacky World of Radio Logo

Graphic Credit: © Corey Deitz
The position of "Webmaster" at radio stations is a relatively newer position radio stations were forced to hire people for when the Internet finally pushed them into it. Beginning in the mid-1990s, radio companies were consolidating because of deregulation and this trend manifested itself in a lot of radio folks being fired. In radio, when you are out of a job it's also called "on the beach". I'm not sure why that phrase was chosen. Maybe because most of us in Radio are overweight and if you take us out of a studio we look like beached whales.

Anyway, Radio was firing people left and right - kind of like what voters plan to do with politicians during the next election. At the same time, the "cyber highway" was continuing to grow and radio managers began to think stations should have websites. So, many solved the problem by finding somebody on staff who might know someone who understood that "HTML markup" stuff which most General Managers were clueless about. (That's not to say being clueless in general is a problem. Some might say it is a prerequisite for being in management.)

Usually, the closest guy who knew HTML was the boyfriend of one of the girls who worked in Traffic. (In Radio, "Traffic" doesn't mean a lot of cars going nowhere. It's the department which schedules commercials to run on-the-air. If there's no "traffic" at a radio station everyone will soon be living in their cars and going nowhere.) The part-time boyfriend-turned-webmaster thing worked out for a couple of years. He wasn't paid much because most managers didn't really think it was a real job anyway. Plus, the guy liked the free CDs, T-shirts, and concert tickets.

Then, one day the Radio industry had an epiphany and realized that websites were important for brand-reinforcement, streaming, and other sources of revenue. By this time the industry had been so used to firing people and downsizing, it was perplexed at the thought of job openings - especially for 21-year-old outsiders who were well-versed in Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe Flash, and required regular transfusions of Red Bull. So, consultants flew around the country to train managers how to "hire" people again and after some early trepidation, General Managers once again began to conduct "interviews" for people who understood the "interwebs".

The Radio industry took a deep breath and opened up full-time positions for webmasters who immediately took up residence in dark offices with two computer monitors. This seemed very odd to the radio people who were used to their own abnormality and didn't like some upstart oddball interfering with their established neurotic lifestyle.

Yet, given time the radio weirdos and the Internet weirdos all meshed together in a cohesive team of weirdos who somehow bring you both radio stations and websites that share the same name. In case you aren't sure which website is a radio website, here are the Top 5 Things at Radio Websites:

  1. A recent video of the morning show's stunt boy swimming in a wheelbarrow of hummus.
  2. Logos. Radio stations like to name themselves after zoo animals like The Fox, The Bear, The Wolf, The Hippo and The Chimp. (Well, maybe the first three.)
  3. Names. Radio stations also like to use the last part of the alphabet and not the first part for nicknames. For instance: X-94, Y-100, Z-105. Maybe that's because so many Program Directors have practiced saying the alphabet backwards for DUI stops. Nobody has a radio station named A-95. That's the name of a Cannon camera.
  4. Radio station websites often have galleries of half-naked women. It has nothing to do with Radio. It has everything to do with selling online ads. Hey: it's tough out there.
  5. Radio station websites usually have some kind of animated flashy thing that pops up that can potentially blind you if you've been drinking. This is why most people on the radio do not visit their own website.

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