Category: The Radio Broadcasting Industry

January 10, 2020 Off By Willie Hudson

A Brief History Of Pirate Radio

 

What types of counseling do you and your neighbors receive on a daily basis through the airways? Is it propaganda, or perhaps censored? Perhaps how the daily news is presented is partially determined by the interests of large advertisers, or the playlist drawn almost exclusively from the three big music labels?

 

These and related issues have cropped up numerous times since the 1920’s and the dawn of publicly broadcast radio. However, when all that’s needed to circumvent arbitrary, restrictive laws is a soldering iron and a couple of vacuum tubes, it’s basically a given that someone will. When governments tried to regulate how and for what the radio spectrum could be used, a few rebels took up arms and gramophone needles against the system and played that which some people wanted to hear, even if a few laws and a border or two happened to be in the way.

 

Early Days (1890’s to 1950’s)

Initially, legislation surrounding radio had nothing to do with the content of broadcasts, but were motivated by the practical need to stop anyone with a spark gap transmitter from interfering with maritime signals, which could obviously become a matter of life and death. Radio hams were told to stay off certain bands, allocated their own frequency range and otherwise mostly left to their own devices.

 

One notable exception, in the United States, was that the president could shut down radio stations by fiat in time of war, which was done during WWI. It was hoped that this would put a crimp on both espionage and propaganda.This was perhaps not unreasonable: the German language, at the time the second most widely spoken tongue in the United States, was also banned in almost any public setting, leading to the arrest of over 18,000 people.

 

The principle had been set: freedom of speech was not above political necessity. Even in democratic nations, and certainly in Fascist and Communist countries, content ranging from news to music would now be controlled in times of both peace and war. In terms of propaganda, each side tried to demoralize its enemies while keeping its own population productive and loyal. In countries ranging from East Germany to Great Britain, it was actually illegal to listen to “unauthorized” transmissions originating from outside the country’s borders.

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll (1960’s to 2000’s)

As societal norms began to change at an increasing rate and transistors replaced vacuum tubes, an increasing number of disaffected youth got their hands on radio receivers. In Europe, iconoclastic broadcasters began to broadcast from boats anchored in international waters, leading to the term “pirate radio” becoming popular. In the U.S, “free radio” stations began popping up around the San Francisco area, broadcasting from secret locations on land.

 

While some of these stations specialized in playing banned content or promoting controversial views, a number of them were simply middle-of-the-road commercial ventures that didn’t feel the need to subject themselves to formal licensing requirements. What eventually killed them off was not any kind of massive government crackdown, but that mainstream, licensed programming increasingly began to resemble that of pirate stations as it proved the existence of untapped markets. In a few cases, particularly along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, some radio stations still obtain legal licenses in one country with the intention of broadcasting across the border, thereby evading restrictions such as those on output power.

 

Streaming and Podcasting (2000’s and Onward)

Just like compact transmitters made pirate radio possible, the UDP protocol and broadband internet reduced the barriers to entry in the radio market still further. Today, anyone with a microphone, a PC and an internet connection can theoretically set up his very own radio channel.

 

As these are completely unregulated and unlicensed, the quality and focus of these stations vary widely, from conventional, commercial radio stations providing simultaneous webcasts of their normal transmissions to the downright nutty. As with pirate stations in days gone by, the difficulty of forcing them off the air is completely out of proportion to the actual damage they can cause. Censorship is therefore dead unless a country is willing to cripple their internet access at the same time, and since the broadcast range extends to most of the planet, everyone can now have their say. Whether your interest is in Bornean folk music or chasing UFOs, there is probably a web radio station just right for you.…

January 3, 2020 Off By Willie Hudson

Things Talk Radio Hosts Dread

 

 

Talk radio remains one of the most popular formats around, providing information, opinion, intelligent entertainment and a surrogate for an actual company to millions of people. One common misconception among people who have never actually worked in the scene is that it’s easy. Work only three hours a day? Snap! And the work itself is just to keep blabbering, right?

 

The truth is that being a successful talk radio host is far from easy, and the only effective training available for the job is an experience. Even then, though, some things come right out of left field: a caller needing anxiety attack help and for some reason wanting to broadcast the fact to the whole city, cranks who won’t shut up until the rest of the world is as crazy as they are, and of course the occasional troll who just likes to hear his own voice, regardless of who else has to listen.

 

That a host will have to deal with these is a given; one of the main differences between a pro and a newcomer his handling them with aplomb and good humor. So, double-check that your phone really is on silent, make sure some cough drops are within reach, and steel yourself for the unexpected.

 

Thinking You’re Prepared for an Interview…and Finding out You’re Not

In one case, a talk show host was going to interview a crime mystery writer on live British radio. She’d made extensive notes, researched the author and his work and was feeling confident. So, her first question was about the link between people who vicariously read newspaper reports on crimes and those who get their kicks from novels in the same genre. No, says her guest: those two groups of readers are motivated by totally different things, and there is almost no crossover between them. Whoops! The interviewer had to shuffle through her notes frantically, looking for questions that weren’t based on that assumption. Luckily, the writer turned out to be a talkative type – it would have been some bad radio if he could only answer “yes” and “no”.

 

As another example, a scientist once went on talk radio to argue that the coal-fired power generation industry has less of an effect on global warming than people tend to think. Thinking that he had a sure-fire way of undercutting this assertion, the interviewer waited until about two thirds of the spot was done before asking the scientist where his funding comes from. Well, he replies, my specialty is power station design, but most of my clients are in the nuclear sphere, so I’m kind of speaking against their interests. I don’t think they’ll be mad, though.

 

The moral of the story is that, however carefully it’s planned, an interview can often go off into completely unexpected directions. Doing research for only one possible scenario is not a very good idea, unless an interviewer is really good at improvising.

 

Having to Tip-Toe Around Advertiser’s Interests

It’s sad but true: radio is a business just like seal clubbing and investment banking, and a host occasionally has to decide how far his professional ethics are able to stretch.

 

Most talk stations try to walk a line between controversial and uninteresting, and where exactly that line lies is determined by what will critically offend its target audience. In fact, advertising on talk stations only costs about half as much as on music stations, given similar audience metrics, precisely because of this risk. The increased importance of social media also means that fewer advertising dollars get spent on radio spots overall, while a station associating itself with a controversial brand – or vice versa – is obviously less than optimal.

 

Any conversation that involves politics or religion will probably offend at least a few people, but even subjects such as urban speed limits or celebrity divorces can cause tempers to flare up. The most important thing here is perhaps to respect the audience – losing one advertiser is nothing compared to losing 10% of listening share. Still, some slip-ups are bound to occur, such as the host who come on the air directly after an ad for a rock concert with the words: “Oh my…was that music? Do their parents know they talk like that?”

 

When Fanaticism and Facts Collide

Occasionally, someone on the show – whether a caller or an in-studio guest – will make a point that is simply so dumb that it’s impossible to argue with, such as that Islam is a country or that rape cannot produce pregnancy. In a perfect world, these little hiccups would be addressed through reasoned debate and empirical proof, and I implore anyone who finds this utopia to send me a postcard.

 

Simply cutting someone off is considered bad form. In the first place, this can and will be seen by some as suppressing the rights of others to have their views heard; in the second, these individuals provide quality entertainment for free. A true master at the talk show game will often handle such a situation by keeping calm and making fun of the fool. Asking enough questions, as respectfully as possible, will eventually show up the absurdity of such a position while keeping the host’s reputation intact.

 …

November 15, 2019 Off By Willie Hudson

Top 3 LGBTQ Internet Radios

Remember when Ellen Degeneres first opened up that she’s gay? She did it on her TV sitcom, and it created a lot of reactions – both negative and positive. This was 30 years ago when the topic of LGBT was taken so seriously and often received a bashing attitude. 

 

Fast forward to where we are now, there are still bashing moments and negative side comments about one’s sexuality, however, the platform for revealing one’s true identity has expanded. Today we have the social media on the internet, podcasts, and even the good old radio broadcasting system to deliver this lifetime revelation to the whole world. Far more than that, the LGBTQ community possesses a very strong sense of support system that they easily reach out to someone who is ready to come out of the closet and start a new life.  

Here are the top 3 LGBT radios that have created a mark in encouraging individuals who are still struggling with their sexuality and serves as a beacon of hope to everyone.  

Pride World Radio. Initially based in the UK and is heard in 1,195 countries, Pride World Radio carries this mission in their website“committed to nurture and encourage new and emerging talent, giving a platform for a proud, strong and diverse LGBT+ voice.” Because internet technology drives it, the shows are hosted in different countries in the UK such as Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland. Pride World Radio carries several talks shows that deal with LGBT issues such parents and teens relationship, dealing with coming out problems, relationship issues with family and workplace, and how to deal with everyday issues such as sexual, physical, and psychological health, bullying concerns, and stigmatization about LGBT in general.  

Gaydio. India is one of the countries where being gay is considered a taboo. It is not accepted and entirely not allowed by their culture. But this was changed by Harish Iyer, a very active Indian gay rights activist. He started the first ever gay radio in India in July 2017 and aptly named it Gaydio. He believes that fighting for this specific right does not only ends in the streets and demonstrations. He’s been hosting the radio talk show and has received many calls describing personal experiences about LGBT issues. Some of his callers are not only the LGBT individuals but also parents of LGBT children who need advice on how to handle the situation. Some topics are very complicated because of the cultural and moral implication that India has towards LGBT issues. At present, the radio show is going strong and broadcasting to major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. 

Pride Radio. Their slogan proudly declares “The Pulse of LGBTQ America.” Aside from carrying the flagship of LGBTQ problems, Pride Radio also tackles daily news and events in politics and government, local news, showbiz, sports, and business news. It’s like your typical internet radio show with a flare of LGBTQ on the side. Broadcasting in major cities and via the internet, Pride Radio is also available as a mobile application where it can be downloaded and installed on your phone. As long as you have an internet connection, you are always connected. 

LGBTQ community has so many to be thankful these days, compared to those who experienced backlash and encountered negative implications of being different. Although there are still some cases of discriminations, the environment, behavior, and attitude of the majority are already pointing towards acceptance and acknowledging LGBTQ population.  

November 8, 2019 Off By Willie Hudson

Calling In Your Problems: Is It Safe?

Humans are inherently sociable creatures. We love to share stories and experiences so that other people can gain insights on what is happening in our lives. Some would do it by bragging or showing off what they are capable of, while others do it for the sake of gaining attention. It has also come to a point where one’s problems, mostly relationship issues, are shared with the mainstream community. We hear a lot of stories called in by avid listeners over the radio to obtain advice and support from others and the person who is hosting the radio talk show. Is this even acceptable? What are the benefits or complications that a person can endure if they want to open their personal life to a radio talk show? “More fundamentally, we enjoy the sense of personal connection that radio offers.”, says Peter D. Kramer, a psychiatrist.

 

 

Is This Even Acceptable? 

Have you ever watched the movie Sleepless in Seattle? This is a perfect example of a radio talk show helping people with their relationship problems. I will not go into details on how the movie went, but I would like to point out that it is a reasonable manner to ask for advice on matters of the heart in any radio talk show provided that it is hosted and delivered by a life coach or someone with a background in psychology. Some DJs are also capable of giving practical advice, and this is also acceptable. Remember, the number one reason why people are eager to call and share their problems is that they are in dire need of someone to listen to them. Sometimes, what matters most is the listening aspect and for the person to unburden his/her psychological conflicts. Dr. Hankin, a psychotherapist, says such psychological quick fixes from radio talk shows can be therapeutically valid, within reason. “I think it can have a lot of value if the people doing it are competent,” she says. “It can be quite useful to people who are not deeply troubled. Certainly the demand is there.”

Confidentiality Issues 

 

 

Unlike the Facebook or other social media platform, there is a specific limitation on how you want others to see your profile or media posts. A Facebook user, for example, can control his privacy settings to ensure that only preferred friends and connections are allowed or not allowed to view the posts. When you share your personal experience over the radio, this will be broadcasted throughout the airwaves, and the probability of going public and be known by the majority who listens to the radio station will know your situation. Of course, your identity will be protected by giving an alternative name or alias. However, the similar circumstances of your story can trigger a familiar note to other people who are involved in the experience, and they too will be dragged into the limelight. It is essential that the other person’s identity is protected and not divulged in any way while you are telling your version of the story. 

What To Expect After Making The Call? 

 

 

I should say that while on air, the person sharing the story is not just aware of the listeners’ reactions and feedbacks they are giving while this person continues to narrate their experience. Some would side the caller while others will provide negative comments and even blame the person. So, you will have the best of both worlds. In some radio programs, they have some real-time reactions from their listeners such a Tweet or comment on Facebook. The radio host will then read it aloud so that the person will know what the others think of the problem. Some listeners give pieces of advice especially if they have the same experience as the caller.  

Radio show programs are another media that can provide psychological help to those who needs it. It’s an unconventional way however the benefits are the same or comparable to a formal or office setting of getting mental help. Nonetheless, one should consider that by sharing your problems on air, there is a significant possibility that privacy issues are compromised, and you should be prepared for any consequences it may bring. “The first step is to look at yourself and determine what it is you need,” Dr. Howes , a clinical psychologist, says. “Ask yourself, Am I the sort of person who benefits from someone who tells me what to do? Or do I need someone with a good ability to listen and who will talk through things with me?” But then again, those who are listening will know your deepest issues.

November 1, 2019 Off By Willie Hudson

Career Focus: Disc Jockey 

Ever wanted to be a disc jockey? This career has evolved that it can now be a lucrative option for earning an income. This article will give you an idea of how to start a career in the radio industry as a disc jockey. 

 

The word disc jockey or DJ started in 1935 and was coined by Walter Winchell, a radio gossip commentator. But it was only in 1941 that the word was known publicly when it was mentioned in the Variety magazine. The primary task of the disc jockey is to introduce phonograph records on air. Back then, this was a novel way of playing songs over the radio as the disc jockey composes an introduction and adds some personal greetings to the person(s) to whom the song was dedicated. Today, this is still the primary job of the disc jockey with additional perquisites. 

Job Description And Requirements 

To become a disc jockey, it is not only necessary that you love music or can gab endlessly. A significant requirement nowadays is one must have an associate or bachelors’ degree to stay at par and meet the demands of broadcasting and communication arts. It is also essential to gain experience or hands-on training in becoming a DJ to make sure that the person will have a grasp of the technicalities of the job. 

Duties And Responsibilities 

As a disc jockey, one must understand that it is a vital aspect to practice the ethical principles in broadcasting. This includes integrity of information, fairness or equality, independence, accountability, and humanity. 

 

 

The office of a disc jockey is limited to the 4-walls of a soundproof booth. They accept greetings and calls over the phone, read letters and follow song requests. They play commercial segments and prepare interfaces in their radio program to entice the listeners. Disc jockeys are also capable of offering guidance and on-air counseling to callers who share their life problems. Most of these problems are on relationships with parents and family, love life, student, and career issues. 

Disc jockeys not only play music all day. They are given a specific radio program to host and deliver spiels that are relevant to their listeners. At times, they interview celebrities, politicians, or other vital personalities that are relevant at the moment. Disc jockeys are also invited to host social events like product launching at concerts or station sponsored events. As the disc jockey builds his/her professional portfolio, they become in demand and influential in commercial and business sales. They can receive endorsement offers and are very much well-paid. What’s more is if you have a talent in singing, dancing or acting, this can be a stepping stone to another well-off career and your road to stardom.  

Future Directions 

 

 

Some say that because of the progress of digital technology, human factors will start to diminish and digital or robotic programs will replace this. Some disagree with this prediction and would like to clarify that human interventions will remain a number one element in radio broadcasting. Even in digital radio and podcasts, radio announcers and disc jockeys are still doing their jobs. The only changes that are sure to take place are the advancement of the roles and responsibilities of a disc jockey. It is too early to say at this time what future will hold for this type of career; however, we are confident that the curtain will still not fall for the disc jockeys around the world. 

 

October 25, 2019 Off By Willie Hudson

Benefits Of Listening To The Radio

Nowadays, listening to the radio might sound peculiar. In this modern world, people have the opportunity to download everything from the internet to their devices such as laptops, smartphones and mp3 players among many others. Majority of people have their means of storing music into their devices where they can connect it to loudspeakers or can be plugged with earphones. But for some, radio is still an essential part of their life. It may not be the old type of receiver where someone can insert CD or cassette tape, but it can be any device that is equipped with a radio. 

 

So, what are the reasons that there are still people prefer listening to the radio rather than its counterparts? Here are some of them: 

It Brings Entertainment  

 

Listening to favorite songs or artists, again and again, may make a person entertained but aside from that, disc jockeys might be the other reason why people are happy listening to the radio. Every people has their favorite type of personality of a disc jockey. Some people prefer funny while some prefer sentimental. It is impossible for them not to share their personal stories over the radio which people may relate to. And sometimes, they may invite guests or even celebrities as the interviewee that makes radio more entertaining. 

It Is Educational 

The radio’s primary purpose is not just to bring entertainment to the public but also to give information such as current events and other relevant matter that people must know. Radio announcers are not just reporting about celebrity updates but other serious stuff such as politics, religion, and even traffic reports. Many radio stations have their official accounts on Twitter, Facebook and other media sites where listeners can give insights or reactions to a particular topic being tackled.  

It Gives Prizes 

Radios have many sponsors that offer prizes for many games or contests almost every day. Games are typically, and most of it are just naming the brand or the latest products of the sponsors. Prizes of these games are in the form of gift products, gift certificates, free movie tickets, free concert tickets, or a trip to a particular destination. If they are a little more generous, they could give iPhones and even brand-new cars.  

For Counseling 

 

It is so typical for a disc jockey to act as a counselor or a friend for their listeners who shares specific issues or problems that they wanted to have answers. Most of the time, issues related to love or relationships are being shared by the public listeners. They can send their problem through the official social media account of the radio station or via phone. Disc jockeys read their problem on air and give their advice. Sometimes, other listeners have the opportunity to provide their inputs or opinions regarding the matter being addressed.  

It Relieves Stress 

When a person happens to be stuck in traffic, it is impossible not to lose temper. Listening to the radio while driving may alleviate the negative feeling that a person is experiencing. Is it nice to hear the disc jockey cheering up a person in the middle of traffic? It is an undeniable fact that even once in our life, the radio somehow manages to ease the tension we are in and can bring pure joy. 

January 15, 2019 Off By Willie Hudson

What Is Radio Drama?

There’s an entire selection of programs that a family can find on the radio. There are music shows that play either pre-recorded music or live music. There are news shows that discuss current events. And there are also sports shows that update listeners on whether or not their favorite team is winning the game.

Another kind of radio show, less popular than those mentioned above, is the radio drama. It’s known by a lot of other names such as “radio theater” and “radio play.” What makes this form of entertainment particularly interesting is the fact that it is wholly auditory. It relies solely on dialogue, background music, and sounds effects. Radio dramas have no visual component.

In radio drama, actors receive a script, and each of them takes on the role of a specific character. The story unfolds primarily through dialogue. Essentially, the radio drama seeks to tell a story. It’s very much like a play, but without the physical acting.

A Brief History Of Radio Drama

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

The radio drama began to gain popularity in the 1920s. However, its roots run deep into our history. Some sources say it broke ground as early as the 1880s. Others would go further back to the Ancient Period with Seneca, a Roman playwright. He was supposed to have written scripts that were for sound plays instead of performed for stage plays.

The radio drama continued to be a widespread form of entertainment up until the 1940s. It covered almost every genre—horror, mystery, thriller, romance, comedy, and much more.

In addition to original compositions, famous plays by well-renowned playwrights underwent modification so that they could be appropriate for radio. Examples of such plays include William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust.

Later on, writers also began modifying books for radio dramas. Giles Cooper is just one of these writers or “radio dramatists” who wrote scripts that were specifically for the radio. He wrote radio dramatizations of a lot of books, including Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

In the 1950s, radio drama and radio programs, in general, began to decline. It is mainly due to the rising popularity of television as a source of entertainment. It was a step up from the usual radio drama as it presented something new—visuals.

While there were still many radio companies and writers producing radio dramas, they couldn’t surpass the appeal of the television. Ever since it entered the scene, radio dramas never regained the popularity it had lost.

Radio Drama In Contemporary Times

Recently, however, the entertainment industry has been met with a sort of revival of the radio drama. Arguably, it is no longer appropriate to call it “radio drama” as it does not air over radio frequencies. The more appropriate term would be “audio drama” or “audio play.” Nonetheless, the formula is more or less the same.

A myriad of audio dramas can now be found online and downloaded. These could have been produced either by companies or amateur writers and voice actors. The British Broadcasting Company is one of the companies that devotes its time to writing audio dramas.

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Its radio station—BBC Radio 4—is in charge of the world’s longest-running audio drama, which is entitled “The Archers.” It’s a soap opera that runs for twelve minutes over the radio. The show has been running since May of 1951 and has continued up until the present. As of December 21, 2018, it has over 18,800 episodes.

The Simplicity Of The Radio Drama

Source: pixabay.com

One thing worthy of note is the popularity garnered by such a seemingly simple form of entertainment. The fact that audio dramas are still quite popular even in the age of technology says a lot.

The radio drama or audio drama relies on only one of the five senses. And it continues to thrive amidst other, more complex forms of entertainment. Televisions indulge two of them. And there are specialized cinemas that delight three—sight, hearing, and touch.

Note, however, that despite its simplicity, a lot of work goes into the creation of a radio drama. Writing a script that will captivate audiences just by the arrangement of scenes and dialogue is not easy. Neither is it easy to speak in such a way that conveys one’s emotions. It takes a lot of work to make a radio drama and even more to make a good one.

It goes to show how a well-written script and fantastic voice acting can go a long way. Complexity does not always define the quality of a piece of art or a form of entertainment. There are times where that which is simple but well-made will prevail over the more convoluted.

It’s fascinating how the radio drama has evolved and adapted to the changing times. It has gone from the “radio drama” to the “audio drama.” It’s no longer limited to being broadcasted on the radio. The Internet has provided a venue where this form of entertainment has and shall continue to thrive.