I’ll admit to considering this entire enterprise a potentially vast radio station call-in conspiracy. Were these paid callers? Friends of the DJs? Automated bots with freakishly realistic voices designed to make stations seem “engaging?” In reality, it’s none of the above. As it turns out, there are sound psychological and cultural reasons to explain why the age-old radio request still lives on.
The radio request’s biggest allure has always been about more than hearing a specific song. It’s about making everyone else hear your request and the message you attach to it. In an age that values insta-fame and “being relevant” more than ever, the prospect of having a megaphone — however brief, through whatever platform — remains appealing to many.
A study by marketing communications firm Wunderman Thompson New York (JWT) found fame and fortune are replacing faith and family as the core of the American Dream. A radio request allows attention-seekers to broadcast a message to others (whether through actual speech or song choice) without the hassle of accumulating followers, finding the perfect filter or tracking likes.
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