Radio Wit and Wisdom

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Kathy Rowe has worked in and around radio for her entire career.  She joined CHMR – or MUN Radio – as a volunteer in her first year at Memorial, and has never looked back. Rowe has been the manager of CHMR since 1989. Prior to that, she was that station’s music director and hosted a number of music programs. During the Eighties, she also worked for a spell in commercial radio.

Kathy is one of my Facebook friends, and, whenever she posts a status update, I pay attention. That’s because many of them are candid, sarcastic, insightful and wickedly funny observations about the radio industry – a topic that interests me and, I suspect, many readers of this blog.

Some time ago, I began copying and pasting these updates into a “Kathy Rowe” file. Eventually I sent Kathy a message, asking if she’d be willing to let me use them as a blog item. She agreed, and sent a whole bunch more that I had missed. In some cases, I asked her to write a few additional words, to clarify a point, explain industry jargon or just expand on an interesting idea. These additional notes are shown in italics.

The result is a cutting and funny collection of observations and aphorisms that will have radio people laughing and blushing at once. Enjoy…

 

* * *

When deciding between Katy Perry, Nickelback and Rebecca Black, the correct choice is always turning your car radio off.

* * *

I’ve been in the radio business for over 25 years now. Just once I would like to hear one of the commercial stations be honest with themselves (and their listeners) by announcing that they are the #4 hit music station on the island. Added bonus for doing so during ratings period.

* * *

Commercial AM Radio is great for wishing you had bought Satellite.

* * *

Morning DJs on AM Radio are just reading the Internet to old folk.

* * *

Sometimes I wonder whether or not the jocks/news readers are paid according to how many times they can say the station call letters per talk set. I make it a habit of counting the times announcers at 590 AM do this during their news segments. To date I’m waiting for one of them to break 13 times. I think I have created a new game – everyone should join in. I just better not turn it into a drinking game cause all the players would get alcohol poisoning in five minutes flat.

* * *

Commercial AM is just ad after ad after ad -Ad Nauseam!

* * *

I told someone the other day that most song requests on commercial radio stations are never actually played because the music is pre-programmed into the system. They looked at me like I just shot Santa Clause in the nuts.

If someone requests a song outside of an all “request program,” the only way that track would be heard is if it matched up with a song already pre-programmed into the system. It seems to the average radio listener that songs are getting played because many of the requests phoned in are actually on the stations current “playlist”. Even during “request programs,” the songs must already be in the database. In many cases the DJ will just make up names and send out songs (already in the system) to the imaginary listener. During the times you hear a recorded voice over the phone asking for a song - you better believe there were at least 5 other folks calling to hear music that will never be played. The ones picked are the matches to the system. It’s just another rule in the “game of radio.” When I was an overnight DJ, I would get the same dude requesting the same song every night for months on end. Lucky for him, it was a staple track of that station. All he had to do was wait long enough and he would have heard it anyway without actually having to phone it in.

* * *

Oh, Open-Line callers – You are so fun for all the wrong reasons.

* * *

Jesus is on the cover of The Newfoundland Herald this week - his Dad must be so proud.

* * *

Radio ratings are a sleazy chess game played by the stations with the listeners being the pawns. Oh wow – you just won a free snack pack of chicken and the DJ got you to sound all excited on the air and to announce that (fill in the blank station) is the BEST! Sadly the average listener doesn’t realize that the mocking is coming from INSIDE THE ON-AIR BOOTH!

There are certain times during the year that radio stations go a little “contest” crazy. The average listener (not working in the industry) doesn’t realize that it is ratings period. This is when the boardroom meetings are held to come up with new and silly contests to get individuals to change their listening habits – for the slight possibility they may win a prize. Sadly many listeners do change stations just for the prizes. Even sadder is the fact that they do this for a “chance” to qualify to win a prize.

* * *

True Fact: If you have to inform everyone (all the time) that you are an artist, you most likely aren't.

* * *

Thank goodness for the informative morning show radio hosts or otherwise I wouldn't know it's Monday or everyone's driving to work.

* * *

It bugs me when radio stations give away promotional items to their listeners. It bugs me even more when the listeners don’t get it that they are being used for free advertising. I get a sense of joy when I see tons of these items ending up on the racks of second hand stores. Sure it’s free advertising for the station, but from what I’ve seen, the radio station might as well announce “A piece of crappy swag with the station logo on it has been sent to (used clothing store) in your name.”

* * *

Like it or not, Nickelback's music is considered “intellectual property.”

* * *

I’m always annoyed by radio hosts who play up all things Newfoundland. They believe it’s impossible for a Newfoundland artist (singer/songwriter/band, author or actor) to create anything that’s not 100% fantastic. Just because it was created here in Newfoundland (by a Newfoundlander) does not make it the best in the world. Please reviewers - NL snobbery is just so unbecoming.

In order to be a legitimate voice for the music industry and the community as a whole – DJs should be able to criticize their own. Giving true credit where credit is due is what they should be giving to their listeners. It is time they raised the standards bar beyond geographical location. Sadly, in most cases, DJs/radio reviews will praise everything NL and this just lessens their stamp of approval. The truth is we are a creative bunch of people, but we are not all worthy of unlimited praise. Just once I’d like to hear a DJ say, “Sweet Mother of Pearl – that chewed!”

* * *

I have always hated “radio birthday announcements.” I don't understand why people send out birthday wishes to toddlers. Sure, the kid will probably crap his diaper when he hears it, but he was going to do that anyways.

* * *

I must remind you that there is nothing funny about mental illness. But if there was, VOCM’s Open Line would be freakin’ hilarious!

* * *

Listening to open line radio is a great way to renew your hatred for people that say “as far as I’m concerned,” and have nothing to back up any of their statements and/or claims.

* * *

If you believe Paul Simon, Cecilia was a bit of a tramp.

* * *

Accidentally hung up on that annoying chronic radio caller by slamming the phone down as hard as humanly possible.

 

 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Budz
    July 05, 2011 - 14:56

    I guess that VOCM can count Kathy as an avid listener. For whatever reason she listens - to listen to the Open Line callers, to find out its Monday, to see who will win the next snack pack of chicken, etc - and that is what makes them #1!

  • JT
    June 29, 2011 - 07:47

    I sense a little chippiness in Ms Rowe's blurbs regarding local radio stations, or at least those that don't get ......'public funding'. I guess this is why Geoff is a Facebook friend of her's. Facebook, and the people who waste they're time on it, now that should be good for a snarky remark or two. I imagine Ms Rowe understand's that commercial radio only exists if it can garner clients to advertise on it. We can all decide to turn the dial if we don't particularly like what a station happens to be playing, which in the case for me is any station which predominately plays country music, but that's just me. I as with many others will listen to a call in show from time to time, I doubt many listeners would share Ms Rowe's opinions on them, but again, that's just me.

  • Lori
    June 28, 2011 - 13:18

    I so agree with her comment about Newfoundland Snobbery. How many times have I had to endure some sappy, Newfoundland song using the same three accordian chords and an identical rhyming scheme (with very bad rhymes, no less) on CBC radio in the mornings while I'm trying desparately to get something that resembles news? And I'm supposed to be all happy and sentimental about it? It brings a tear to my eye, but not because it reminds me of the beauty of Newfoundland, but because it reminds me that we are so desperate to be taken seriously that we are unable to withstand constructive and realistic assessment of our own cultural markers. Thank goodness for Hey! Rosetta. Now THAT'S Newfoundland music to be proud of!