The people who run commercial music radio stations aren’t the same as the people who potentially listen to them. If they were, then they’d stop programming the output in such a stupid way. Instead, what these silly willies do is they program their stations to all sound the same without the slightest idea what a listener wants and can tolerate. Once they’ve installed this copycat format, they will then go to radio people conferences and public meetings of their peers (ie other people who program radio stations but aren’t listeners) so that they can play their usual games of ‘my willy is bigger than your willy’.
Sadly, you see, those programming radio station output think they have big willies, when in fact nearly all of them are actually the big willies. I’ll explain.
One of the things they’ve worked out, finally, is that listeners will only listen for 15 minutes before tuning away. Their response to this discovery is not to try to work out why and maybe try to extend the time they will listen, but to shrug their shoulders and mentally drift away thinking about their own willy again.
The lost art of programming a radio station so that all of it will be compelling and attractive to an audience is so out of their grasp (whilst their willy certainly isn’t) that they nod their heads rhythmically and are proud that people are listening to their stations for 15 minutes and no more.
Actually, they should be ashamed.
There are many things that are wrong with today’s commercial radio, but let me just touch on one aspect, again. I say ‘again’ because I’ve mentioned this before. The bit I’m moaning about here is the placing of ‘things’ together. Typically, for no readily apparent reason, a radio station will segue (play back-to-back) a bunch of songs (usually joined by a pre-recorded voice of a man who sounds like somebody is holding and squeezing his willy or he recorded whilst sitting on the toilet, constipated). After the three, maybe four songs, the presenter will speak in a patronising tone about how wonderful the songs are that he’ll play (well, it’s not him, it’s the computer of course) after all the huge batch of adverts. He’ll be followed by the long tedious string of adverts and trails, and then finally it’s back to three or four songs being segued.
So then. Why would anybody (apart from the willy that programmed it) want to listen to this mess? I mean, it’s all in lumps and disjointed.
What’s the listener listening for? Well, if it’s only for the songs, then an ideal station would just segue songs non-stop. Ah, that’s not too good for generating an income, you’ve got to play out adverts too. But if the person is listening for the songs, and doesn’t care for the unfortunately necessary adverts and inane chatter from the ‘talent’ and all the annoying trails for how wonderful the breakfast show tomorrow morning will be, then what’s going to piss him off the most? Yep, a whole big chunk in one go of all the ads (dozens of them), all the chatter, all the not really that hilarious clips from yesterday’s breakfast show, the news, the travel, the whatever whatever whatever that just isn’t a bloody song.
That’ll be why he only listens to 15 minutes, won’t it? Yeah, the willies in charge will of course point to research saying that people only listen for that long because they only listen in the car and that’s the average journey time. Yep, they’ll blame the listeners and not themselves, so that they can get back to thinking about how shiny they’re going to make their willy for the next conference!
By teasing the listener with chunks of non-stop songs, he is then far more likely to notice and get annoyed when it’s stopped for the long period of jarring non-songs.
Equally, if the listener was listening for the jolly banter of the ‘talent’, he’s not there either. It’s just bloody songs playing back to back linked together by the constipated voice, or loads of bloody adverts.
And, the same will be true for a listener who only ever listens for the adverts. Bloody songs in the way again. Such a long wait for the ads.
So, here’s a brillant idea. Let’s mix it all up so each of these listeners is never more than a few minutes away from the thing they are listening for!
There is absolutely no reason why all the adverts have to be played together. Whilst I’m sure there probably are advert anoraks, for the vast majority of the listeners they are annoying and intrusive. There’s no reason why they can’t be spread out so they are ‘little and more often’.
Sure, the willy men will weep and say Ofcom won’t like it, and 285 years ago when commercial radio first started there had to be almost a minute’s silence between the ‘programme’ and the ‘commercial break’ and back again. Heck, times have changed. If the willy men are capable of convincing Ofcom that their once rock and talk service should now be a hot hits service, then they are also capable of letting go of their willies for long enough to send off an email to Ofcom asking for a meeting to agree a new way of doing things in order to stop alienating the audience.
Ok, by way of demonstration, I have written this article rather like I’d like to see commercial music radio sounding. I could have written a lot of words and then followed them with the word ‘willy’ repeated back-to-back 15 times. I didn’t. That’s the kind of thing that the willy-men do! Instead, in this finely crafted article the word ‘willy’ (or ‘willies’) appeared at fairly regular intervals, and generally speaking, was far more tolerable than their fetish for 15 willies in a row.