How Not To Get A Job In Radio: Tell People You’ll Change The Format

As I start preparing for my next edition of “How Not To Get A Job In Radio”, I thought I’d give you a little teaser. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, last February I put together a 6 minute presentation (found here), using examples from the website Milkman Unlimited (the top site in Canada for radio professionals looking for work, basically the Monster.com of Radio). People post that they’re looking for work in one section called “Talent 4 Hire”, and often times they’re so awful, I wonder if PDs ever e-mail them to say “go back to school, there’s still time to try something else”. The presentation got me a lot of exposure, for better or worse (a little of both), and I’ve decided to do a second one, which will be released in the next month or two. In the mean time…

This posting, which I won’t be using in my next video, is actually a better example of WHY you shouldn’t attempt to get a job in radio (if you have the same attitude as this guy), though it’s still a pretty good example of how not to get a job in radio:


The text:

I love radio, but I’m way more about the music than getting famous. I can stand some pop, some country, some Indi, but quite frankly, those genres usually end up boring me and I feel let down.

But a revolution is coming – it’s just a matter of time. Electronic music (the real stuff mean) is coming, and nobody will know what hit them. If you’re a station manager who agrees with my prophecy, I would really like to hear from you – traditional broadcast, online or both. I would be honored to assist with the metamorphosis. Don’t kid yourself. A new format is on the way.

Cheers,
“Acadianboy”

When I first went back to school to take radio, everyone had to stand up and give a short introduction, and explain why they wanted to be in radio. Three losers stood up and said “because I don’t like the music on the radio, and I want to change it”. Every person that said that made the teachers cringe, and every person that said that also was out halfway through first semester. Why? Because you’re taught in school VERY quickly that commercial radio plays commercial music. Of course it does, that’s the only chance it has left of being viable.

Imagine this scenario: a niche genre, liked by 5% of the population of a city (at best), is chosen as the format of a new local radio station. Of course, that 5% of the population doesn’t currently listen to the radio, and they won’t, because a) their genre was not very well represented to begin with, and b) because radio stations have ads, people talking, weather updates, and all the stuff that gets in the way of the music, which is all the fans of this niche genre care about, they don’t care about the other stuff. What happens to the local radio station? They fold immediately, or start playing more mainstream music which annoys the few listeners that were tuning in, new listeners come along but turn off the radio anytime something that’s not mainstream comes on, and the station still folds. When this guy refers to “Electronic Music”, he’s not referring to Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, or the huge number of pop artists that don’t use a single proper instrument in any of their recordings. He’s even most likely not referring to the Chemical Brothers or Darude, artists who have SOME popularity but are more dance than “Electronica”. No, when he says “the real stuff mean” (what?), he’s probably talking about a bunch of underground club DJ nonsense that no one cares about aside from a few ravers too drugged up to realize the same loop has been playing for 45 minutes.

Of course, there’s the people that think “well, if it played on the radio, it’d be popular”. It doesn’t work like that though. Mainstream music is just that because of the “it” factor, as well as a lot of marketing dollars that go into promoting people to make them famous, putting them and their songs on TV and in advertisements so that you’re being bombarded by that artist, and not liking that artist or their music is pretty much the same thing as not liking sex. You don’t like sex? What’s wrong with you? On the other hand, liking anything that’s not mainstream makes you some sort of nerd that wastes all his or her time looking up obscure music instead of getting laid. Why? You don’t like sex? What’s wrong with you?

The other part that I enjoy… who is this guy? Why would a station program director need “Acadian Boy”? If I was a station owner, and was on the same glue as this kid, and believed this “prophecy” that a “revolution” is coming, why wouldn’t I just create the station? Why do I need this kid? There’s lots of resources and ways to determine what songs you should have on your radio station if you are going to go with some sort of niche format. Hell, just search “Electronica” in iTunes. Done, station created. Thanks for letting us know about the “revolution”, Acadian Boy, you can listen to the station on your way to your job stocking shelves at Wal-mart.

This is great, free, advice for any of you looking to get into the radio business because you think you can “change it”: You can’t. Radio is run by the same old white guys in suits who only care about the bottom line as the music industry. Start a podcast if you really want to try and get people to listen to this stuff, but don’t think you’re going to go to a commercial radio station and tell someone who’s been in the industry since you were born how to run their business. You’ll just be laughed out the door.

As for Acadian Boy? We’ll see who’s “kidding themselves” when I’m still working and he’s still unemployed. The only place this format MIGHT work in Canada is in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver, and even then it’s doubtful with the dance stations that already exist. It’s not a format (let alone a new one), it’s a two hour show on Campus Radio, at best.

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