Changing the World, One Listener at a Time

Everyone wants to change the world. Oh, you don’t want to change the world, you just want to be on the radio? Trust me, you’re going to change someone’s world.

People go into radio for many reasons: they want to speak their mind, they want to play music, they want to tell jokes, they certainly want to do a lot. But have you ever stopped and thought about who your favorite local radio personality is? Have you ever thought about hearing them everyday and laughing at the stupid thing they were saying? Or that awesome song they just played? We’ve all experienced that at least once in our lives.

Radio isn’t going away, and neither are the local DJ’s, and I don’t think you want them to leave. Radio DJ’s do more than hit buttons and play music or say dumb stuff, they are there every day doing the same thing over and over, being a part of your life and trying to connect with you.

Sometimes they do it in very unique ways, like KIIS 1065 in Sydney, Australia

Lori Lewis from allaccess.com talks about why Casy Kasem mattered. Lewis talks about why Casey was very important to many people’s lives then, and how he continues to influence people today. She talks about how he connected with people emotionally through the radio. But Casey did more than that. Casey’s content certainly brought the listeners in, by being there every Sunday morning on your radio counting down the greatest songs in America that week. You knew he would be there.

Casey KasemSure Casey had to retire due to health issues, but it was weird when Ryan Seacrest took over right? It wasn’t Casey Kasem! Where is Casey at?! But now we are used to Ryan counting down the top songs in America every Sunday. The other best thing about Casey, I think, is that he loved when people remembered the words he spoke. He said,“The greatest compliment that anyone can pay me is that after I say something, they remember it.” That shows you as a listener, that On-Air people are trying their best to grab your attention. They want you to hear them and to be locked into their show, that week, that month, that year, or even over their entire career.

Being a part-time On-Air personality is a challenge, and I know that first hand. Being a part-timer at a radio station means you are at the bottom of the totem pole, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. I work in a station where most of the people have been working for fifteen years or more, so there is a lot of experience. They give advice about getting out there, creating good content, being involved, kind of like what this list says.

But being a part-timer, you have to go above and beyond what you actually say to be recognized, not only by your peers, but by the listeners. I’ll give you one example of how I stood out to a few listeners, and that really made me feel like I had thousands of listeners during a show.

Connor KenneyI was told to work on Christmas last year because I’m a part-timer. I definitely wanted to be with my family on Christmas, but I have a job to do and if I didn’t do those shows, I would have probably gotten fired. At least the time-and-a-half pay helped me feel a little better. So on Christmas, I got a call from a woman in Iowa City, asking me if I was stupid, or neglected, because I was the only real On-Air personality that she had heard that day. I said, no, I’m just doing my job: wishing people a Merry Christmas whenever they call, and playing some awesome rock music. She was very thankful to have someone to hear on the air, and told me she appreciated me not going home, and for being in her kitchen that Christmas morning.

I had a few other callers telling me they only were listening to the station because I was the only person on the air. They didn’t even like rock music, but they wanted to hear someone real and that made them feel connected and happy. You couldn’t give a better gift than that on Christmas.

Consistency really keeps the listener coming back. They like changing content, but you are the reason why they keep coming back to your show, so establish yourself and be there for people.

Do you have a moment where an On-Air person influenced you or emotionally got to you? Do you have any major radio influences? Do you think that On-Air personalities are still relevant today? What content do you like to hear about on the radio?

– Connor Kenney

4 thoughts on “Changing the World, One Listener at a Time

  1. Most of the time when I am listening to radio, I don’t usually pay attention to what speakers on-air radio said; but when I do, I have to admit that sometimes I just wish that I will pay attention more. There have been a lot of times that on- air radio had made me analysis about life and the video within this blog is a big example of it.

  2. I was an intern with Cedar Valley Broadcasting this summer, and I have experienced these things you are mentioning about making someone’s day and trying to change lives. I worked briefly with a Magical Mix Kids project called The Snowflake Express that collects donations to send chronically and terminally ill children from the Cedar Valley on a worry-free vacation. This was a really neat thing to work on. Also, one of the things that caught my attention about your post is the part about Casey Kasem. I grew up listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 every Saturday and Sunday morning. I remember waking up to my dad playing it from our four part setup of a stereo system. Today, I listen to it whenever I can on the weekends, and it brings back the best of memories from my childhood. Casey is my life changing radio personality, because I know every time I listen to that countdown, no matter what the year, I will remember those memories, and it will always brighten my day.

    1. The idea of changing the world by changing one persons world is so important. I once read a quote that was something along the lines of “Every college kid comes to college wanting to change the world, and sometimes they feel like they can’t. But even if you change one world, even if it’s your own, you’re doing something special.” I think that’s definitely true and a lot of people could benefit from understanding that.

  3. I don’t think I have any moments where an on-air personality personally influenced me, but I can definitely relate to a personality being a part of my life. When I was younger my parents always turned on the same radio station as we were getting ready in the morning. We heard the same two people on the morning show every morning and it really felt like we knew them. I do believe on-air personalities are relevant today because as long as people are still listening to radio, they are still going to be relevant. Some of the content I like to hear on the radio is sports analysis and updates, also maybe some current events of stories that might even not really be “news”.

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