I have a special treat for you today and tomorrow… sort of a different take on the He Said, She Said thing. As I’ve said before, I used to work in radio. For a few years I was in the on-air side of the business, working as a radio DJ. I have written a couple funny stories about those days if you’re interested:
There was the time I had a couple stalkers.
And there was the time I had an extremely embarassing moment on air.
After working as a DJ I spent about eight years in the promotions side of the biz from the late 90’s to early 2000’s and today you’ll get a little inside info on the radio industry and how it used to operate. Then tomorrow I’ll post a follow up from one of our fellow Simpletons, Mo from Bella Baby Blahg. She works in radio in Houston and will attest that things have changed in recent years.
Though they don’t like to admit it, radio stations used to be a bit corrupt – especially their involvement with Record Companies, aka Record Labels. During my time in promotions I enjoyed lots of awesome perks, including free trips to Vegas, Miami, L.A. and New York City courtesy of various record labels.
The promotions department are the people at the radio station who handle all the contests you hear on air. If they are giving away a CD, concert tickets, trips to Hawaii or even cash – all those things are ultimately approved by the promotions department.
Back in my day the control we had over our contests led to shenanigans. What does that mean? I sampled from the prize closet often. I took so many free CDs, DVDs, concert tickets, sporting event tickets, camcorders, xbox/playstatons and other crap that I couldn’t even use them all. I’d give them away to friends or occasionally sell them on Ebay.
Yeah, I know, not the most honest thing to do. But hey, give me a break.. it was a victimless crime.
And as for the actual contests – you know when they say the “10th caller” wins? That doesn’t always happen. Generally they’d take caller 1, 2, 3, 4 up to about 7. Then they’d answer the phone and wait to see how excited the person would sound.
If the caller sounds boring the DJ might say “sorry, you’re caller 8” and hang up. But if the person was excited, saying something like “DID I WIN?!?!!” the DJ would say “YES! You’re caller number 10!” regardless of whether or not they were. Keep in mind it’s pre-recorded, not live on the air. Music DJs wouldn’t put a listener live on the air… EVER. You have no idea what they’ll say.
Also… we liked some DJ’s better than others, just like you and your co-workers I’m sure. We ran contests where we’d draw a listener’s name at random and announce them on the air. The winner would have a limited amount of time to call us back to claim a cash prize. We did this throughout the day so each DJ would have a chance to give away money. For the DJ’s we didn’t like, we’d always give them foreign names that were hard to pronounce. Hey, I was easily amused.
The good news is things have changed… check back tomorrow for Mo’s take and to find out how a perverted New York Governor actually made things better for all you radio listeners.
Oh, and the countdown is on… 7 days until my birthday. You have plenty of time to get me something nice.