Dear Radio: Fresh content could land you in trouble
by Paulo Dias (@therealptp) We all know there is a small but vocal number of people waiting for everyone from any walk of life to say the wrong thing and, in radio, this is becoming especially damaging.
My colleagues and I often talk about the “vanillafication” of radio content. We’ve all heard it. It’s ok, pleasant; everyone kind of likes it — but you won’t remember it five minutes from now. What makes this lack of flavor in the majority of radio content surprising is that presenters today are being placed in slots because of their ability to create engaging content on a number of platforms, not just their radio shows.
Perhaps their knowledge of social platforms is the reason for their being so cagey because they’re closer than ever to the exact audience waiting to pounce on anything that veers left of their own opinions.
By now we all know the DJ Fresh situation but the whole series of events that led to his losing his job was sparked by his trying to push interesting content. What followed and its merits aren’t what I want to debate but should Fresh rather have run through a song back announce, weather and time check to ensure job security?
Job on the line
He owes his audience more than that but, at this point in time, the minute controversy is sparked, you’re now literally putting your job on the line. If a leading presenter can be sacrificed for sparking diverse content, what are youngsters getting into the game thinking right now?
Fresh will be ok but anyone doing a graveyard shift, who’s had an off-centre content idea recently, probably quickly shelved it for a “what’s trending” Twitter feature.
If something offensive is said by a presenter, by all means, there needs to be repercussions but a precedent is being set. Everyone wants to push the boundaries but if the boundaries are being narrowed, it’s not leaving room to innovate and experiment. The result will turn people away from the medium.
Now what’s worse: losing a few listeners because they can’t appreciate that you have an opinion?
Or losing listeners because you’re boring?
Paulo Dias (@therealptp) is the head of creative integration at Ultimate Media. He works closely with the programming teams at leading radio stations to help implement commercial messaging into their existing formats. He contributes the regular column, “Dear Radio”, looking at the changing radio landscape in South Africa, to MarkLives.com