There are people in radio who get paid to make mouth noise. They are not news readers, talk show hosts, or even traffic reporters. They are human noise makers whose only purpose is to fill the silence that would otherwise occur in between the small servings of music. They are DJs, and they are simply audio clutter in an already deafening world.
A few years ago, some radio stations owned by Radio One and other media megamonsters went “automatic”: they fired their DJs, preprogrammed the music blocks and only ran station identifiers between the music and commercials. There was a medium-sized brouhaha over it. DJs felt undervalued—and found themselves unemployed—and some listeners felt like their radio experience was going to be colder and dehumanized. It’s several years on, and guess what? Commercial radio is still limping along, blaring the latest Toyotathon commercials at distracted drivers, and overplaying Lady GaGa and Taylor Swift. Do you really find yourself missing the following DJ time-filling staples?
Reading of “The Latest Poll”: When you have exactly dick to talk about, you can always read the latest poll from USA Today. “These poll results are something I’m sure we call all relate to, heh heh. Seems a non-scientific poll written up in USA Today indicates that men want sex 78% more than women. Heh, heh. [Oafish sidekick: “Oh yeah. Sure sounds like the numbers at my house.”] [All: Heh heh, ha ha. Heh.]” Ah, yes. The men vs. women sexual struggle. Always a hi-larious topic for the broad center of the mouth-breather demographic.
Commentary on current events: DJs are encouraged to skim news outlets before their shows so they have something topical to talk about. Unfortunately, this knowledge does not mean they have anything useful to say. So you hear this kind of happy horseshit: “Man. Didja hear about that nut that shot all those people? Out in Arizona? I think it was Arizona. Maybe it was Utah. Anyway. Crazy stuff. Our thoughts are definitely with the victim’s families, right? Now let’s hear some Bowie.” The statement “Our thoughts are with the victim’s families” is second only to “I’m spiritual, not religious” as the most useless utterance in any human language.
The listener call-in: Does anyone call into a radio station that isn’t retarded? Or so drunk that they have to old-school it with the radio because they can’t operate their MP3 player? It’s always the same type of numb-nuts exchange:
“WSUK, who’s this?”
“Uh, hey. Uh, am I on the air??”
[Annoyed pause.] “Yeah, chief. Who’s this?”
“This is the Frankster. I’m drivin’ a tow truck for th’ city a’ Boston. It’s snowin’ and I’m towin’, ya know what I’m sayin’, friend?”
“You know it, ‘Frankster’. Whaddya wanna hear?”
“Oh, hey. Did I win that contest thing?”
“No, Frank. You gotta call in between 3:12 and 3:14 in the afternoon. How about I play you some Deep Purple? How would that be?”
“Woooooooooh! WSUK forevah, baby!!!!!!!”
Morning shows: Inane banter between the two shock-jocks that were fired two years ago for announcing that the mayor was dead, but got rehired by new management, and the bimbo in the background who just laughs cluelessly at everything the two shock jocks say. Bad local comics. Prank phone calls. Funny sound effects. The pimping of the “Digitally scan your genitals and email them to us to win $500!!!!” daily contest. The local used-car dealer commercial with all the goddam shouting and the heavy dance beat. Oh yeah. That will start my day right.
I don’t miss you, DJs. You always were just a barrier between me and the music.