Hello—and welcome again to my continuing series on The Magic of Radio!
In my first post in this series, I offered to answer your burning questions about radio in future columns, and today, I’ll address a query posted by BWL (Beloved Wolf Listener) Greg Adams, who says: “I want to know how many hours you guys really work. On the air for four, but I think you’re there at least that many before.”
Well, Greg, that depends on your definition of the word “work”. If by “work” you mean hanging out in the production room listening to sound effects of various bodily functions, making happy hour plans with record company executives, seeing how loud you can play the new Big & Rich song before the sales manager comes screaming down the hallway, and looking up your old high school boyfriend on Facebook, then DJs are among the hardest working people on the planet.
However if by “work” you mean expressly performing functions related to our employment, well, then we rank right up there with Kim Kardashian in terms of productivity.
The sad thing is that if we radio people really did do all the stuff we’re supposed to do, it would result in our boss having a stroke. Since we like him, we rarely engage in the following tasks as a matter of his life and death:
--Listening to new music and deciding which songs are howl-worthy. Radio stations typically get anywhere from ten to twenty CDs of new music per week, many of which are now being used as coasters and Christmas ornaments.
--Scheduling music. Every song you hear on The Wolf—or any other music radio station—is scheduled hour by hour on computer software that makes sure we don’t play the same artist, song, or tempo back-to-back. The only exception to these rules is Taylor Swift, who now legally controls Nashville, radio, all computers, and will write a nasty song about us if we don’t play her all the time.
--Writing and recording commercials. This is actually a creative process that requires quite a bit of work and recreational drinking, so DJs usually fight over who gets to do this.
--Personal appearances. It is mandated that all Wolf DJs shower and put on clean clothes before we do any remotes or public events, which is why Savannah Jones does most of them.
--Doing show prep. This involves coming up with things to talk about, and putting together all the little music beds, sound effects, and edited phone calls you hear during a DJ’s radio show. It’s such a big job that Mike & Amy have their own producer—a nice guy named Dan Clark who they’ve duct-taped to chair in a studio all by himself, with only the voices of Tom Shane and George W. Bush for company.
--Coming up with contests and prizes. This is lots of work at The Wolf because we give away more stuff than any station anywhere. It is a FACT that our boss strictly limits the number of concert tickets and backstage passes the staff can have so that we give almost all of them away to listeners.
Which come to think of it, makes that stroke I mentioned before not such a bad idea.
So I'm a big woman--no surprise if you've checked out my Facebook page or seen me at station events.
Of course, that leads well-meaning people to call me or e-mail me with the latest diets and fitness plans. For many years, sales people at radio stations targeted me for endorsements from places like Jenny Craig or 24 Hour Fitness or whatever. And I always said yes--as long as the diet/exercise plan involved absolutely no sweating and allowed me unlimited Pizza Schmizza and M&Ms. Strangely, I never heard from them after that.
'Cause here's the thing: I don't wanna go all Oprah on you, but the fact is that if you're a compulsive overeater like me, you gotta fix what's going on in your head before any lifestyle change will ever work long term. Sure, you can change what you eat, how much you eat, and work out like a crazy person, even have surgery--but until you fix the problem in your head, you're eventually gonna revert to Gabriel Iglesias's Sixth Level of Fatness:
So I opt not to diet. At all. Ever again. I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, carbs, snack cakes, lean meat, crispy bagged snacks full of hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, and I walk a minimum of 2 miles a day with my dog, drink to excess once and a while, hike when I can, and dance 'til I drop with my girlfriends as often as possible.
And I accept the fact that I'm never going to make money modeling jeans. I accept the fact that people will hear me on the radio and then be disappointed that I don't look like Savannah (hell, aren't we all disappointed that we don't look like Savannah??) And I accept the fact that my life will likely be shorter. But man, will it be fun.