Updating the record

I’m a little bit overwhelmed by life in general these days and this condition really doesn’t lend itself to frequent updates. Maybe that first sentence is a little extreme; I am sort of generally stressed of late, a good part of which has to do with new job syndrome and all, but it’s not as if it’s really all that debilitating. The insomnia seems to be calming down, at least.

Anyway, this seemed like a good time for a general update, anyway, even though there’s nothing all that exciting going on at the moment. So…

The new job is going well, if it is perhaps a little stressful. It’s kind of a nice change of pace having a job I actually care about. It’s also a little hard to get used to it. And that whole tenure chase (the tenure treadmill?) is a little intimidating.

No luck getting rid of the house, so I’m still doing the hardcore daily commute from Winston to Greensboro. Lest anyone have any doubt, this is not the rime to be selling a house. You probably already knew that.

Not much travel other than the recent trip to Philadelphia. There will be a Chsritmas trip to California to see the in-laws. Maybe a quick trip to Piitsburgh soon just to check on the house.

Mark recently got the itch to start work on a second master’s, so he’s doing the UNCG thing now, putting us well on the way to being a matched set of hopeless academics.

No other real excitement afoot, and this is starting to sound like a boring letter to someone I haven’t talked to in six months–and don’t really intend to speak to for another six. Sorry. I’ll try to be more interesting (or at least to have something good to talk about) next time.

Rules for college radio personalities

I’ve been listening to lots more college radio again these past few months and years, and it’s funny how little has changed since I worked in college radio myself. Following are several hints and rules we used to make back in the early 1980s interspersed with a few new ones of my own:

  1. Have some personality. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no FCC requirement that you go on the air sounding as if you’ve been mainlining heroin. Really, it’s OK to sound enthusiastic once in a while. Or at least conscious.
  2. Don’t back announce the last thirty-two songs you played. You should be announcing what you play; the point of college radio is to turn people on to music they probably wouldn’t hear anywhere else. But if you have to back announce more than a couple of songs (“before that we heard XXX, and before that, XXX, and before that…”), you’re not taking enough voice breaks. Plus, more frequent voice breaks means that you don’t have to babble on for half an hour every time you do take one.
  3. Don’t use jargon. No matter how it may seem, most of your audience has never worked for a college radio station and never will. Thus, they¬† do not know what a “rotation show” is. They have no idea what “adds” are. Most of them could not tell you what “PSA” stands for if their lives depended on it. You’re wasting your breath and you may as well be speaking Phonecian or Babylonian when you use these terms on the air.*
  4. In fact, why would you even need to say “PSA”. Instead of saying “I’m going to play a PSA now,” just play it.
  5. Don’t assume your listeners are all fellow students. They’re not, even if your station is located in a college town. When you make references to events on campus, make it clear what campus they’re on and where. To a high school student listening in his car, “the library” is the one downtown or in the shopping center near his house, not that big, ugly 1970s building across from the student union. Remember that your station serves a larger community.
  6. In an era where people can get the weather forecast on their phones, there is no excuse for giving an outdated weather report on the air. If you can’t be bothered to be current, just skip it.

Further suggestions welcome in the comments.

*A “rotation show” is one where there is no real theme, just a DJ playing material from the current playlist items or “the rotation”. “Adds” are new items in “the rotation”. “PSA” is the acronym for “public service announcement.”