Is radio still fun? Yes, no…and mostly yes

When I started in radio, I heard stories of the days when news readers were tormented by co-workers who would pee in the studio garbage cans in the middle of live newscast.
Those jokers would also set fire to the bottom of a type-written page from which the news person was trying to read.
Back when radio was fun.
I bring this up because there was a recent post on a radio message board that suggested radio used to be fun, but wasn’t anymore. Replies ranged from “I hear ya” to “you’re an old fart.”
I’m a middle-aged fart and for me, radio is still fun. I love researching, writing, voicing and producing new weekly episodes of the The Rock and Roll Riot.
Corporate types have done their best to take the fun out of radio. They may claim to be interested in quality entertainment and information but when the chance of saving money and improving the bottom line presents itself, their eyes light up. Shareholders gain. The audience loses.
Radio is not fun when someone leaves and someone higher up asks, “Can we do without them?”
No, we can’t. But we’d be happy to do without you and your inflated salary, and take that money to employ several young people who need jobs and have trouble paying their rent. You know, like you did 30 or 40 years ago. Remember worrying about paying bills, and counting the days until payday?
Obviously you don’t. Enjoy your cruise and your new Lexus.
But radio is fun because it is still populated with people who take pride in their work. Who enjoy meeting listeners, getting feedback and heading to work knowing that someone might smile over something they say during their time on the air.
There are many of us who still want to make a difference.
One of the frequent posters on that message board is big fan of my show (hey George!). A few years ago he emailed me to say that in his opinion, nothing on commercial radio was better than my humble little program.
Radio is fun because people like George still find a reason to listen and appreciate what you do, and that’s what job satisfaction is all about.
It may not rival the days of tinkling in garbage pails but radio can still be fun if you rise about the bullshit and focus on entertaining and informing the people who tune in.

About johnnymaraca

host of Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot, the rockingest show on the radio. 60 years of rockin' rhythm and blues, from the late '40s pioneers like Louis Jordan to Elvis, Chuck Berry, CCR, Stray Cats, Ramones and tons more. Friday and Saturday nights at 7 on 97.7 the Beach, listen live at http://977thebeach.ca, and WRSG in Middlebourne, West Virginia, Tuesdays 6-8 pm.
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6 Responses to Is radio still fun? Yes, no…and mostly yes

  1. johnzoreid says:

    Yes you must have seen a lot of changes John. Glad to hear you guys playing local music and having them on the air too!

    • johnnymaraca says:

      Probably one of the most enthusiastic responses in recent years was when we played a local band called Fire & Sound. We got requests for the song, and had the band play it live on air a month or so ago. That was fun radio.

  2. Mike Mason says:

    Yes but like TV it still requires constant channel changing to bypass extended gabbing by DJ’s and commercials. Why would anybody want to listen to some dickweed talk about himself when he/she can go on the internet and listen to music non-stop on Itunes radio? Plus, the playlists are the same as they were 50 years ago! Been listening to My Sharona till my kidneys started to fail – gimme a break.

    • johnnymaraca says:

      Short playlists are one of radios major failings, one of my pet peeves. That’s what happens when managers use consultants instead of trusting the instincts of their program directors…or actually listening to their listeners instead of focus groups.
      Thanks for posting.

  3. George says:

    Am firmly convinced that after rock visionary Alan Freed went to his reward he returned as Johnny Maraca

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