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Win An On Air Gig!
With the success of reality TV, we're seeing more radio stations putting contests on the air where the winner gets to be a station DJ. I've heard plenty of rumbling from air talent suggesting this devalues their profession. I beg to differ.
I think the idea is brilliant. It was brilliant long before shows like American Idol came along, and lots of great broadcasters were discovered this way.
Let's say your morning guy needs a co-host, but the station doesn't have much of a budget... so he starts inviting local standup comedians to join him on the air. Eventually, he finds chemistry with one & a morning "show" is built.
Hello! It's radio. We're talking about entertainment here. These silly contests combine entertainment and listener interaction. Brilliant! What's not to love?
If a station finds someone really talented, you can bet they'd find a way to keep the person. Otherwise, the be-a-dj contest winner is quickly forgotten.
Is this really so different from a night jock who brings in listeners from time to time to sit in on the show until eventually finding an 'intern' - which we all know means 'unpaid co-host'?
Radio is not a profession based on having the right degree. This is a profession based on talent. Suggesting that the only people with a talent for entertaining are radio people is just plain dumb. Yes, experience makes for a better broadcaster - but if you want to see people who would be great on the radio, you should go watch some local stand up comedy.
I'll take someone with a talent for public speaking over someone who's got passion for the music any day.
We're all complaining about the lack of a farm-league in radio these days thanks to voicetracking... right? Well, consider this on-air recruitment a new form of a farm-league. Most of these people will never be successful - but then again, most in the small markets never make it to the big leagues either. In many cases, that's not their goal. They just want to work in radio and enjoy themselves. These on-air audition games are no different. Most of these listeners are just in it to have a little fun. But I won't be surprised at all when some real talent is discovered.