September 27, 2023
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12 (+10) Things to Stop Saying to People Who Work in Radio

This post from Gillianradio on “12 Thing To Stop Saying to People Who Work in Radio” imade the rounds of the industry earlier this year. I’d like to add the following:

1. “Must be nice working just four/five/six hours a day.”

Anyone who works in the business knows that this is utter bullshit. Sure, we may be on the air for a reasonably short period of time, but there’s also hours of showprep, production, administrative work and other off-air work (station appearances, charity work, etc.)  that needs to be done. Some of us also work hideous hours (just ask morning show people or those who work swing shifts) plus have pulled more overnight and holiday shifts (and plenty of overnight shifts on holidays) than we care to remember.

I’ve never worked a 40-hour week in my life; in fact, I know of no one in the business–at least no one who has made a career of this–who works that little. Radio permeates everything we do, 24/7. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. True radio people don’t complain about this, either. We love what we do that much.

2.”People tell me I have a good voice and that I should get into radio.”

There is way more to being successful at radio than a good voice. If you don’t have the mindset, the work ethic and radio in your blood, you don’t belong.

3,”No one listens to radio anymore.”

Thanks for invalidating my career choice, asshole. Besides, you’re wrong. In North America, somewhere between 90 and 93% of the population tunes into radio every single week. Yes, new technologies and consumer habits pose some formidable challenges, but we in the business are slowly figuring it out.

4.”Can you play my band’s song on your show?”

No. Go through my station’s music director and/or program director.

5.”Why do you play the same songs over and over?”

Because that’s my job. I don’t choose what I play; I’m just following the music log. If you really want me to explain why radio stations repeat songs so much, give me a couple of hours and I’ll explain the science of music programming to you.

6.”You’re just reading other people’s words.”

What? We have a staff of writers? What reality are you living in??

7.”Can I come in and watch you do your show?”

No. I’m busy. And besides, you’ll be bored to tears–unless you have radio in your blood. Then you’ll find the process fascinating.

8.”Do you know [insert name of artist here]?”

We might have interviewed or encountered that person, but actually know them? Doubtful.

9.”Your stations SUCKS!”

Then don’t listen. I won’t mind.

10.”I’ll bet you get laid a lot!”


Radio folk: anything else that pisses you off and needs correction?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37111 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

13 thoughts on “12 (+10) Things to Stop Saying to People Who Work in Radio

  • Can you check the link? My browser says it’s invalid.

  • ” Radio was better in my day” I always loved hearing that comment 🙂 Everything changes in life. Radio moves with technology and trends. People should too.

  • You look nothing like you sound.

    I’ve personally gotten, “I totally thought you were a white guy!”

  • How about that popular favorite (redundant, I know): “You must be rich by now.” Or some variation. Got it in radio, got it even more when I transitioned to the television side.

    A more modern variation is by people who confuse what we do/did with whatever it is they do in nightclubs.

    • Agreed. Too many people think that a DJ is a DJ. The differences between what someone does on the radio and what is performed in a club are legion.

  • The always hilarious, You have a face for radio.

  • Didn’t (insert parent company) just make a record profit? Must be nice to have such great job security!

  • “Do the radio voice!”
    Um, are we having a conversation? This IS the radio voice. 😉

  • People who request “the radio voice” expect what my PD used to call “Danny DJ”. The kind of voice George Carlin used to do in his “Wonderful WINO” routines. And it’s five minutes, bing-bong, past the big hour of 5:00.

  • “Why do you play the same songs over and over?”

    I’m genuinely curious about this and would love to see a post on the science of music programming (if you haven’t already done one – maybe I should check the archives first).

  • I was always told that it had mostly to do with the fact that the average listening time was less than 30 minutes. Dayparting may also have something to do with it.


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