What I find wrong with Radio, a commentary from a Radio Junkie


By Transmitter Terry
PSR Contributor


Sunday July 24th, 2016


I find radio today is a very different medium than it used to be. As a kid I listened to radio for the personalities, waking up and listening to the LG Morning Zoo or Larry & Willy or many others. Now most radio stations have a limited on air staff, with almost no two person afternoon shows, some stations have no midday or evening announcers. Some even go as far as not having weekend staff. I also find the playlists at most stations are very limited, most of them repeat the same songs over and over throughout the day. As we have seen with stations like Jack FM Vancouver the more songs on your playlist and the more variety the higher the ratings go.


In the UK for example, the Virgin Radio station plays a wide variety of songs from a few different genres, plus they are personality driven. Listening to the station you may hear Nirvana, Bob Marley, The Fugees, Bastille and James Bay. On Friday and Saturday evenings as well as Sunday afternoon Virgin Radio has a 2 person show. Makes for a more entertaining listen. The on air staff use social media to incorporate the listeners for conversations and promotions. I listened last on Saturday night to the Mac twins and they were discussing fashion and what not to do. As they got submissions from listeners they posted to twitter and facebook, and read the best stories on air. It was actually entertaining to listen to the show and the music they were playing fit with the conversations. If stations in Canada were to incorporate this sound and style to stations that aren’t doing well in major markets I could see a large increase in listeners. It has been shown to work at Now Radio in Edmonton and has been rumored to be brought into Calgary and other Pattison owned stations.

If I were in charge of any radio station, I would allow the on air talents to pick what is played during each show and would encourage them to be more engaged with listeners. I miss the good old days of radio when the personalities were full of personality. I know that many of todays talents are limited by management, who are also limited by the big corporations that have cut costs and reduced the stations staff, all in the name of the ever mighty dollar.




Published on July 25, 2016 at 12:00 am by Brian Cook


July 25, 2016 - 7:32 am

Rod MacBeth

The major problem with announcers picking their own music, is trying to stay within our CRTC licence guidelines. I agree that the DJ’s should have some freedom. Radio has to go back to the past to succeed in the future

July 25, 2016 - 1:31 pm


Great commentary, Terry, although I do agree with Rod Re: the music. I’ve always been a format guy, so consistency across all dayparts is the best way to go. I too have listened to radio in the UK, and find the personality-driven approach to be entertaining. On a similar note, i have noticed one other interesting querk with UK radio. When coming out of songs, the jocks fade the music down and come in at an earlier point in the song than you hear on North American radio stations. Perhaps this is done to make the station sound more organic and less like a jukebox? I’d be curious as to the profitability of UK radio. Clearly it’s making money if they can afford to have so many live voices on the air in most dayparts. I do know that some of the big stations are networked out of London (Capital is one such example). One final point, when I was in London for the paralympics four years back, the AM and FM bands had virtually been eliminated in favour of DAB. They still exist, of course, but the majority of stations don’t identify as either AM or FM. As an example, London’s CHR station, which used to go by Capital FM, is now simply “Capital”.

July 26, 2016 - 6:02 pm

Rocker Rich

Good points, all. Whatever the future holds for radio, I just wish the jocks would consistently identify all songs played in their sets. Same for the bots. It drives me nuts that CBC Nightstream, which is undoubtedly pre-recorded, doesn’t pay some newbie to speak every few tunes and identify the artists.

Sure, with Nightstream and some private sector stations, you can go their web site and get the info. But that’s a hassle, especially for listeners behind the wheel.

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