radio dj

Last Last Day: Thanks For Tuning In :)

Recap Time. On my final day of One-Week Job, I was a little nervous. When I got to the studio, I couldn't find Niblett. The turnaround between radio shows is very quick; I had become used to only having five minutes to relax in the studio before going on air. However, I had also become used to Niblett running around, using those five minutes to prepare.

At six minutes to 6pm, he was nowhere to be found.

I sat in my chair and waited, pretending to write something on my notepad. I started to wonder what I was to do if 6pm were to hit. Maybe I should go find someone, I thought. Two minutes later, Niblett came through the door, confirming that I had internally overreacted for nothing. He was carrying all of his belongings, and wearing a Candy 95 Polo shirt and a grin.

I was relieved that I wasn't going to have to do the last show alone, but I was curious about the routine changes. During talk breaks, Nibs told me what was up.

A DJ's time isn't always spent in an official studio. Sometimes a DJ does remote broadcasting, which is on-air broadcasting from any place outside a studio. Certain businesses or organizations can request this type of broadcasting, so any event they may be holding can gain more awareness. DJs can also show up to certain events sans broadcasting. As I said in the previous post, DJs are public figures, and while many people hate public figures, many people love them.

And kids, of all people, LOVE public figures, ESPECIALLY DJs.

Earlier that day, Niblett and other Candy DJs went to Grand Station Entertainment, a local bowling and lazer tag place, to eat and bowl with a group of young kids. That was why he came into the studio a little late. I'm not sure what group the children were from, but Niblett made it clear to me that they had to deal with way more than they should be at their age.

It was a rare and special day for the kids, because they got to relax, have some fun, and “be normal” for once. Niblett told me how much fun he had playing with and getting to know each and every one of the kids, and how he felt like he was being meaningful with his time:

They were so excited to meet me and hang out with me. And the feeling was instantly and naturally mutual. I felt like I was doing something real good. I'm so glad you were here for me to talk about this, Michelle. This is the reason I do radio. To be in a position where I can give back in this way. This is the reason.”


Niblett showed me a paper plate that had all the kids' name on it; he planned to give a shout-out to all of them when he got a chance. He rewrote all the names on another sheet of paper so he could make sure everyone was accounted for. The whole thing was so cute to hear and witness. Niblett is a guy with a ton of energy, but the energy he was emitting on my last day was something new. I fed off of it, and we had a smooth show full of laughs and healthy drama.

The entire night went by quickly and normally, as good experiences always seem to. In what seemed like an hour but was really five, my OWJ journey ended. What was next? I had no idea.

I rarely do. :)

Question Time.

What did you dislike about the job?

  1. I wish I had been in a position where I could have contributed more. There wasn't really a lot I could do in terms of clip editing and program organization because I lacked specific skills.
  2. Working in the evenings is a little tricky. You get to sleep in extremely late, but you end up feeling lazy somewhere around 6pm because of the traditional work day ingrained in our minds and bodies. Because I didn't have a lot of other things to do during the day, I would end up searching for things to do to fill my time until my shift began. Also, everyone else ends work when you begin, so it's hard to coordinate schedules and hang out. I think I prefer to work hard during the day (not necessarily all day or at specific times), and play at night. If I have to work at night, I'd want to work extremely late, like 2am. I focus better when others are asleep.
  3. I don't do well with illusions. Everyone in radio/television/film/music knows that there are a LOT of “tricks of the trade.” It's similar to when you have your favorite celebrity and you discover parts of them that you thought were real are completely fabricated. Some people's lives are ruined when they stumble upon these truths. And if you think you know it all, you probably don't. Or you probably don't want to know. Accordingly, there is the “illusion of radio” that simply has to be kept, otherwise the sound is no longer as fresh and entertaining. There is a persona that has to be maintained. It has nothing to do with being “fake,” it's just how things are done. Whatever work I want to do, I want to be able to share the heck out of it with people as much as I can. There are limits to that vision with radio work. Kind of the reason for the repeated pictures. ;) Shh it's a secret.
  4. The routine level is too high. You have to come in at a specific time, and you have to play specific songs, among other things. I think those requirements would incite some ennui in me after some time.
  5. Night radio presents itself in quick and short periods. I'm not a quick thinker – well not THAT quick. Niblett's ability to come up with clever comebacks within 5 seconds on air will never cease to amaze me. The same goes for his ability to edit sound clips of phone calls to air in minutes. That kind of work is something that would stress me out, which is probably the reason for the giggling instead of trying to match wits with Niblett. I like to talk and discuss for longer than a few one wants that at night. :)
  6. I don't want to be in a job where I'm working alone. Niblett usually works the 6pm to 11pm shift all by himself, and I imagine that after a few years, time would start to pass extremely slowly because you have no one else to talk to. I simply need a lot of face-to-face (F2F) interaction if I'm going to be working. With breaks, of course. But I can't give people up altogether. :)

What did you like about the job?

  1. I liked being in a position where I could spread love and I knew that a good amount of people were listening. I'm referencing Niblett's experience with the kids, but I got some stories myself. Being a DJ was just another fun experience for me. I never thought I was a celebrity or anything, or that anyone was actually listening. However, in the end, it was surprising to hear/read how many people were listening to my voice. It was pretty cool to find out.
  2. Being able to give shout-outs on air was awesome. I got to return support to some of the people who helped me get into the One-Week Job Program. It warmed my heart so much to be able to give back in such a small way. It made me think about all the good I could do in the world, and those types of thoughts never get old for me.
  3. I liked interacting with people via the radio station SMS account and phone calls too. I liked being surrounded by opinions. But again, calls and texts wouldn't be enough for me. I'd need some F2F.
  4. I liked being on the air just to be on the air! When I wasn't giggling, I was comfortable with the microphone, and that was both exciting and encouraging. A lot of people would find that type of exposure daunting; I was pleased that I took on the task with relative ease. It's always nice not to suck at something.
  5. To oppose the routine level comment, I do like SOME routine. I said this during week # 6. Pop (music) is priceless and necessary, in my opinion, for its simplicity, contagiousness, and requirement for dancing. Being surrounded by music every minute of work kept my mood up.
  6. Lastly, the thing I liked most about being a Radio DJ was having a co-host. Excuse me – BEING a co-host. Having someone to talk to whenever I wanted. :D I loved talking with Niblett constantly and getting to know about his life, talking about tons of topics. It was like an instant friendship for me. Did I mention I need this sort of thing in my job?

What lessons did you learn from being a radio DJ / Week 8?

  1. "Stay humble, no matter who you are." - Niblett. People will like you more.
  2. No news is good news. The public has opinions, and some people will call your manager to report you for something just because they don't like what you said on the radio. Some people will call your manager to praise you, but it's less likely. Therefore, it's better to not hear anything at all.
  3. Shake it off. For those in the spotlight, you have a responsibility to speak your own thoughts, and to respect others'. Unfortunately and once more, some people are behind and cannot comprehend fundamental civility. These types of people will seem to quadruple if you work in the entertainment industry. Recognize this, and take everything lightly. Heated responses are futile and immature in most cases.
  4. However, don't become heartless or crazy because you keep all your feelings inside. You can have feelings. Balance is key. Do what you need to do.
  5. Someone's probably listening. Or someone will. Speak on. This goes beyond radio waves. Think love and happiness and human connection and things like that.
  6. Be patient. Don't assume things. Ever. There's always more to people, to their stories. Make the commitment to listen, just like they're probably willing to listen to you.

Oh wow. These lessons make it seem as if I went back to the basics of “how to make friends and love people”, the stuff that you learn when you start going to school. "Share" and that stuff. I suppose we all need that refresher course every few years. It is easy to forget patience and love and all that when you hate what you spend most of your time doing. :)

Would you do this as a more-than-one-week job?

Yes, I would, but probably on a morning talk show and less often. Maybe once or twice a week? Five times a week might be too much for me.

A big "THANK YOU!!!!!" to the big boss, Alli, from “Morning Candy with Frito and Alli” for giving the final “okay” for me to work with Candy.

And to Niblett:

If my words from my time with you didn't convey it enough, I respect you a lot. Thank you for letting me steal your thunder a bit. Thank you for refilling my water cup so many times, you're a true gentleman. Thank you for the many votes of confidence. Thank you for being you. I had a "blast" hanging out and just TALKING with you for five days. I definitely consider you a friend, so:


Reflection Time.

The value of voice revealed itself to me a lot during Week #8. I found that the voice I needed to work as a radio DJ was both literal and figurative. In a quick attempt to process my eight weeks, I admitted to myself that my voice matters.

Moreover, I admitted to myself that I never fully believed in my abilities to effect change. I've always been a proponent of every individual's...individuality, doing all that I could to encourage as many people as possible to speak their mind.

But I wasn't practicing what I was preaching. I was spending most of my time helping others, while I was letting myself drown. My esteem was not at the level it should have been, evident in the amount of fear and doubt that was consuming me in my past.

Saying and doing are not the same thing, and with One-Week Job...everything about One-Week Job made all my thoughts, ideas, and hopes a reality. It confirmed that my "power beyond measure."

I'm so very grateful and fortunate for this breakthrough, and I know I may have to be reminded of it when things aren't as easy.

You know...i should be whatever i want. i should say whatever i want. i should do whatever i want. i should live well, and i should live unashamedly. So i will. My voice matters, and someone will listen to me when i speak. Not just hear. Someone already does. That's enough for me "to not just exist, but be alive." Our lives are too short to keep quiet. I'm getting all “Gen Y” here but simply put...

Express Yourself.

Find out what that means. Look for Yourself. Don't be embarrassed or afraid to do so.

And when You're expressing, express excessively. These actions should hurt no one.

And if they do, that's THEIR problem.

Those who mind don't matter.

You know the rest. :D


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Spotlight Stress

Hi. :) It's been awhile - missed You all! I know you're curious, so let me just tell you that overall, i traveled roughly 8619 miles and 139 hours during the first session of the One-Week Job Program! If you do some dividing and...thinking, you'll see that when I say "rough"ly, I mean it, but it's a good estimate.

Dang, I traveled a lot this summer.

Yes, I'm proud of myself. :D But on to more details about my eighth one-week job:

While working in the studio with Niblett for a week, one thing fascinated me a lot, and that was the response from the listeners. At Candy 95, listeners can interact with the radio station in two major ways. First, they can call in. This method is the most common for radio stations, and most people call in to request their favorite song, in hopes that it will play on the radio. Second, listeners can text the radio station with whatever thoughts they have. I personally had never heard of the second method until I worked at Candy, but I don't listen to the radio all the time, so who knows.

Since Bryan-College Station isn't the biggest area, in addition to the fact that I was in the studio the week before the week before classes were to start, things were slower than usual. Calls into the studio were extremely few, and most of the texts we received were from pre-teens who were trying to be rebellious by letting someone know that they were staying up past their bedtime. Very funny stuff. But, regardless of who was contacting the station, the content wasn't always nice. Some people really take things personally!

I mentioned earlier how Niblett and most night-time Radio Djs have only seconds to entertain at a time. Therefore, it makes sense to try to get and keep a listener's attention with outlandish or controversial topics. All the Top 40 DJs I listened to at night were always very opinionated, and I'd find myself waiting a few minutes before turning the radio off, just because I wanted to hear the DJ talk about the responses he/she had received. Mission accomplished for the DJ in that regard! I often had my own viewpoints on whatever matter was being discussed, but I never cared enough to get riled up. I always saw it as entertainment, nothing less.

But during Week #8, things were different. I was no longer listening – I was talking. People were listening to me. I was the one bringing the topics to the table, to the people, and having to hear and read their thoughts about me. If people had something negative to say, I kind of felt as if I was part of the receiving end, even though Niblett was in control, so responses were directed at him. Yes, there were encouraging statements, but some comments were unnecessarily rude. One or two came close to threatening, and being at a studio until 11pm, the wrong person might not be able to handle that sort of thing. Niblett could. Did. Has. Having worked for Candy 95 for about six years, he was unfazed, calling it “part of the job.” He was so cool about it all that I never really felt sorry for him, just appreciated what he did more.

Because it made me think.

It made me think about all the times I've been quick to judge a public figure. As I said earlier, most of the time I love to observe and just listen, but if I'm feeling feisty/hyper/whatever, I'll be quick to judge. I mean, it's easy, and it's my right. You know what I mean. Especially when You're with some friends and everything's all exciting and fun, and you want to keep the high-energy mood going and seem not-boring so You're all like:

Gee, who IS this girl on TV? What a horrible voice. Is that a unibrow?”

Everyone laughs and nods their heads. So true. She's so right.

And so on and so forth. And opinions are fun. Opinions are great. Sometimes we inflate our opinions and sometimes we are who we are. But if that DJ or actress or football player or whoever was sitting in your living room or car with You, would You make the same remarks then? Is it foolish to even think about such a thing, because the person elected to put himself/herself in the "limelight"? In other words, he/she is asking to be judged from every angle because he/she chose that profession, and he/she should just deal with whatever comes his/her way?

Nibs is cool

If ever You meet a public figure and get to know him/her personally, You will find it hard not to think twice about these things. It's not really fun to be judged every time You go to work. Or is it? Maybe some people enjoy it, need it. I don't know.

I had to deal with pressure from the "public" myself, trying to win this One-Week Job opportunity. In asking for votes, I went all out (I seriously did it all), and while I got lots and lots of love, I got lots and lots of hate. I was all proud of myself, going out and asking for help, thinking I was being humble. But some people thought I was selfish and only out for personal gain, so with the endless positivity, I received hate e-mail, tweets, and door slams in the face. I put myself out there, so I got all sorts of things back.

I'm not going to lie, that week of voting was so draining for me that I couldn't stop myself from being negatively affected – even though it was clear that I was loved and supported by the majority. I couldn't shake the feeling that some people really wanted me to lose. Why did I feel this way, and why did I care? Because I'm human. But could I really blame the haters? After all, I had invaded their routine, whatever that involved. They didn't know my whole story, they didn't know any I should just let it go every time, right? I...I don't know.

I thought about all of this all during Week #8, and I had an even more horrifying thought, more than the possibility of [insert name of celebrity I can't stand] hearing me gossip about him/her. I thought:

It's quite possible that I had heard Niblett on the radio myself during my early college years, in a car with good friends, and had made some passing, biting remark about him or whatever he was talking about at the time.

It's possible.

And then I began to feel bad about this hypothetical happening that I wasn't even sure had occurred, because I do that. I was just thinking, innocently. I very well could have done this. And there I was in a studio, with a guy who I may have judged a few years ago, just like so many other listeners, and only after hearing his voice. Until that week, I didn't know his real name, I didn't know his thoughts about life, how many siblings he had, if any. I knew nothing about Niblett until he let me co-host with him, and after that, I concluded that he was a kind and amazingly talented human being.

So WHERE is that line of response/judgment/assessment? Does any of this even matter? Is it our responsibility to think this much about this subject? We're the entertainees – should we be be thinking at all? Even if we're asked our opinion by a “personality”, should we still take the necessary effort to be respectful of his/her viewpoint?

Remember in my first week, when I asked You how often You critically examine the media you're exposed to? Good. Well, at that point, I was speaking more about graphic things - advertisements, logos, not necessarily people. And I was talking about how important it is to do our research and think before we act on what we see in the media, because those things often affect so many aspects of our lives, of our existence.

Public figures and celebrities, on another hand, are different. They're people. Just like us. So maybe we should “critically examine” aka be slow to judge people we see in the media, because they have feelings too. We should do it by giving them a break.

Or maybe not.

So What About You?

What do You think about everything I just talked about?

If You didn't gather already, my answer to this question is a shameless "I don't know." Mostly because I’m more interested to hear what You have to say! As usual. And don't worry about hurting my feelings. ;)

Talk to meh, I won’t be here for much longer!


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“Can You Hear Me Now?” – Week #8: Radio DJ

"HOWDY!" from College Station, Texas!

For those of you who have never heard of the place, it is the home of the Texas A&M Aggies, and the place where I earned my undergraduate degree.

This week, I've been co-hosting with Radio DJ Niblett of Candy 95! I'll be ending the Program as I started: In a laid-back fashion (Remember when I worked with a virtual company during Week #1??). My blogs this last week will follow that atmosphere. Each day, I've been working the nightshift: 6pm to 11pm CDT.

Night radio is a lot different from radio at any other time. You have fewer people in the car, and as result, less outside interactions with listeners and less time to develop character and emotions. A night Radio DJ has to rely a LOT on quick and funny bits to keep listeners listening. It's not easy at all. The wrong person could easily buckle under the pressure of having to constantly be on their toes.

As Niblett's co-host, my job is pretty easy, I have to admit. My reading material is QUITE different from that of last week. Celebrity gossip can never be compared to the history of the Glen Canyon Dam. At least once a day, I read a "breaking" news story. One story was about some guys who dressed up as ninjas and robbed a Manhattan jewelry store on a Sunday at 2pm. Another story was about a man who violated his ex-wife's restraining order by adding her on Facebook. Real foolishness that you can't stop listening to, basically.

In addition to reading stories and discussing the One-Week Job Program on the air, I laugh a lot. At least 50% of my time on the radio has been me of giggling. I've surprised myself with this. My goal throughout the week has been to lower that percentage. Not far, being back in my college hometown has been relaxing. It's been nice to hang out with old friends and work at the same time. I didn't work a lot while I was in school, and in addition to working at night, this week has been new in a crazy way.

Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you how I even made it to College Station, Texas.

Looking for transportation to my job last week was not easy because, saw where Page is. The only way to get to the town is by car or plane. The planes are itty-bitty, just like the airport, andddd it can cost 300 bucks for a 1.5 hour flight. Ridiculous. As I said in another post, I was lucky that my friend, Katie, had just moved to Phoenix and was willing to drive for so long so I could get to my seventh one-week job. However, the weekend after my job ended, she wasn't available.

I did as much as I could do to find a ride from, which wasn't a lot, so I finally used craigslist. The next closest major Arizonan town to Page is 2.5 hours south - Flagstaff, Arizona. The greyhound bus stops here, so I made that my focus for ridesharing. I got a response right away, but I killed that connection quickly. The guy hadn't even read the details of my posting, and just wanted to make extra money beyond gas. The way he was talking, he could've just driven up, taken my money, and taken off with my belongings when I wasn't looking. I followed my gut feeling that told me to run far away fast, which was a good move on my part, I believe.

Something told me to post on the Phoenix site as well, even though I would be asking for someone to do what Katie did essentially: drive alone from Phoenix 5 hours to Page and pick me up, then drive south 2.5 hours and drop me off at Flagstaff, then drive back to their home in Phoenix. Also, since I was trying to catch a 2:00pm bus, the person would have to leave at 6:30am at the latest from Phoenix. It was a long shot.

I also kept checking for ride offer postings, and the morning of my last day as a river guide, I saw a possibility:

"I am offering a clean comfortable mid-sized suv to move you and/or your things. Insured, prompt, reasonable rates, all with a smile. Drop me an email with your itinerary and I will respond. Appreciate the business!"

The person indicated that his/her location was "all over." I was running late, and I had no other option, so I sent an email. Now Sean may have been less likely to think twice about finding a ride this way, but if you were previously unaware, Amanda, Kieley, and I are ladies. Unfortunately, we have to be extra careful when we look for places to work and sleep. Someone's gotta have a knife around here, I thought to myself. I'll be just fine.

But obviously all news was good! And thankfully, because I totally forgot to get a knife. Typical me. The driver, whose name turned out to be Mike, is a very nice man who was looking for extra income after being laid off. He brought a friend along for the ride, a woman named Desure, whom he had met through giving her a ride just as he did me. We had good breakfast, conversation, and listened to good music. I arrived at the Flagstaff Greyhound station with a lot of time to spare, safe and sound. Mike had kept his promise - ride, smiles, and all.

We still correspond to this day.

I would say that one of the best parts about the past eight weeks has been making friends anywhere and everywhere, not just at work or home. I can't get enough of people and how they operate in their own way. It's way nice to have more reminders that my Psychology degree wasn't a complete waste. :)

More later!

- M

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