A former radio DJ stopped by reddit for an AMA, and he/she had some enlightening truth bombs to drop. They didn’t bother wasting any time, either – they led in like this:
First a short bio:
Due to contractual agreements and nondisclosure, I must be vague, but I’m verified confidentially.
I worked for Clear Channel Communications for nearly a decade in a prime market as the host of my own show.
I interviewed several celebrities and went to nearly any event you can think of.
There is a lot to radio that isn’t as it appears.
OK. I guess I assume that there’s a lot to just about everything that isn’t as it appears. And it’s important to note that we’re talking about stations that are part of large conglomerates.
Let’s start out with an easy one that many of us who still listen to radio have always assumed was fake:
The War of the Roses
If you listen to the type of morning radio with a crew that has a “clever” name like The Breakfast Club, The Morning Zoo, Lame Nickname and Lamer Nickname in the Morning, then you’ve probably caught a round of “War of the Roses.”
The conceit of the gag is that someone thinks their significant other is cheating on them. They call into the show and stay on the line as the DJ calls the significant other and pretends to be a florist offering to send a dozen roses to anyone they want for free.
And, almost every time, that person chooses to send the roses to someone else.
The DJ puts the OG caller back on the line with the SO, and much drama ensues…
That’s fake. Right?!
I’m not going to say they are all fake, but they are fake. I have acted as a cheater or the cheated in several of these for jocks across the country.
…I have used and been used by other stations across the country to act as a contestant on a show.
Specifically, a blind date show: I just stand by, they tell me the script, and tell me I’m playing an asshole who thinks the date was ugly.
The girl was also in on it.
So I’m bashing her looks and saying how her picture was bullshit.
This caused a whirlwind of callers creating excitement on the show. Guys defending me and girls defending her…
You have to regulate what’s said so much that unless it was all entirely pre recorded, a jock wouldn’t have the time to set all that up and edit the material.
It is much easier to have someone who knows how radio works and what type of responses will pull in listeners to do it for you.
Well, I’d always assumed it was fake, but it never occurred to me that jocks from other stations are usually the “callers.”
Also, there’s totally an FCC law that requires you to get permission BEFORE you record a phone call for broadcast. That’s impossible to do with live radio if you’re really surprising someone. So, we can assume pretty much ALL “prank calls” on the radio are either fake or illegal.
Are there Perks?
Yes, and it seems like that’s what keeps most DJs in the game for as long as they decide to stay in it:
Seriously, the notoriety was awesome.
I did TV commercials too, and I couldn’t go anywhere without getting recognized and signing autographs. I felt like a tool doing it, but I also felt like I was in the top of the world.
Girls everywhere, until they found out I lived in an apartment and drove a Honda.
You mean DJs aren’t rich?!
Jocks make shit money: $30-$50k, unless you are syndicated, meaning your show is across the nation (Ryan Seacrest or open house party), then you can make a million a year or way more.
Each station that plays your show may pay you $10k+.
The real benefits are the sponsorships and free shit. Bill “bang my interns” Clinton screwed this up in a way by creating the play for pay law which prevented companies and studios from giving gifts or paying jocks money to play songs or give free advertisements.
Now it’s done through sponsorships. I had a free unlimited cell phone, free cable/internet, discounts out the ass, free golf (I played almost every day any course I wanted), free stays at vacation spots, free drinks in clubs with VIP access, and any concert and sporting event I wanted with back stage access.
Today I am a Federal Agent putting murders and rapists and child rapists behind bars.
Are radio contests fake?
Holy shit! The contests aren’t fake, are they? I mean, my wife used to win them all the time, when she worked at a job that used a morning show as its hold music, so they can’t all be fake. Right?!
Some yes and some no.
So, you first have to realize that companies spend thousands and thousands of dollars to be associated with big contests.
So, if for whatever reason the station isn’t getting enough callers or enough entertaining callers, then a friend or salesman or jock (disguising their voice) would call in and act goofy and bring about excitement to spark interest, boost ratings, and please the associated business.
But what about my wife who used to win stuff all the time. Do they hate people like that?
…If you win that much then you are what we call a “long time caller.”
We love you guys and hook you up every chance we get to keep you coming around.