When I was working in an office with Mel we used to map our day out by the structure of Radio 2; it was all about Popmaster, really ("...and anyone else who knows me"). During the time I worked at home, I had music on in the background but it all mashed into one long song whilst I hummed along, tunelessly (the modern equivalent to my Grandpa's whistling). Now I'm back in an office environment I have talk radio on in the car whilst driving too and fro and we have a commercial radio station on at work.
It's a long time since I sat and really listened to the radio. It takes a lot of concentration, doesn't it? I suppose that's why there's not a lot of real talk on commercial radio. It's not opinionated, there's no discussion about the real happenings of the day. It's just filling space between the news, the music and the adverts. It's very much like the teacher in Charlie Brown: waahp waaphp waahp waahp
Occasionally there is the need for listener participation. Phone-in slots are mainly used for the telling of a funny story or to enter a heavily sponsored competition and are very rarely for sharing a point of view. Long gone are the days of Allan Beswick and James Whale with their late-night phone-in shows where a caller would either be drunk or could be heard attempting to share their perspective before their money ran out in the phone box or even trying to beat the time delay by shouting a swear word down the phone before getting cut off.
Commercial radio tends to concentrate on local(ish) news as priority and national news as an afterthought. I never really know what's going on in the world until I get home and catch up properly online
via Twitter. If something really important happens, please can one of you go old-school and text me? You know, just in case there's a nuclear war or something and the DJ's are trying to cover it up by finishing their hour of power.
Quite randomly, but most definitely a bit of a boost during that post-lunch slump, we have a rave hour on the station we listen to at 1pm. It's definitely bring back some memories but I've been banned from bringing my whistle and a glow stick in. Spoilsports!
RWS | WTD Say whaaat!]
If a commercial station wants to feature music from a specific genre or for a certain reason it feels as though there is a library of 'titles' to delve into to use as part of their promotion. These include (and are not limited to) "Fun Time Five at 5", "70s at 7", "80s at 8" (see where I'm going with this?). A constant and unnecessary use of alliteration
One thing I have noticed - and I'd love to find out if there's a scientific reason for this - is that almost everyone in the room starts quietly singing along at exactly the same point in a song that's playing unobtrusively in the background. And everyone stops singing at the same point. This happens multiple times during the day and no-one ever mentions it. Also, hardly anyone ever expresses a preference for any particular type of music.
Adverts are a strange one. Like the news, they are generally very local-specific but I'm sure every region is the same. One advertisement has me listening to Ray Winstone offering me 'cash for scrap'. He regularly uses the world "we" when talking about the company which makes me want to ring them up and see if Mr W actually turns up to collect my car and the log book. I'd be very disappointed if it wasn't him.
Also, there is a regularly played advertisement for people who may have difficulty hearing after working in noisy environments. The juxtaposition of this aural experience just makes me laugh.
And that's it really. On a loop. Hour after hour after hour. Is your local commercial radio station like this? Have I missed anything out?