We have come a long way since Marconi first introduced us to radio. Today even more people than ever listen to the radio, but now that anyone can, have you lost your fun and excitement? The anticipation in those days before tuning in to the weekly Bing Crosby show, The Goon Show or The Ovaltinies. These shows brought families together as they warmed up their radios and listened to their favorite musical programs, plays, and sitcoms.
Big stars emanated from these regular offerings, the jingles were born and so was the radio commercial. It was also mostly ‘live’, unlike many stations nowadays where everyone goes home and leaves it on autopilot.
The art of radio always had an heir to mystery. What did everyone look like, what was everyone doing behind the scenes? How did the sound travel through the microphones to the radio and how did they make the works so real? One of my bosses at the BBC had started out as a ‘live’ sound effects guy, playing almost every sound for those plays and comedy shows. The radio activated the theater of the mind in everyone.
Musicians were also in high demand with the start of radio dance orchestras, but all of that disappeared over time. Musicians of those days always played ‘live’ and ‘live’, with the exception of a pianist on a BBC daily music show who died playing the piano and no one noticed until pub time came.
Getting into radio was quite difficult even when I started in the late seventies, but the fun was still there, working with the best names in the world. I once recorded an hour-long show with comedian Bob Hope in his limo between the golf course, where he played in his own Bob Hope Classic, and his London hotel.
There we were, just the two of us, me with the tape recorder, a record list, and a stopwatch, and Bob holding the mic as he presented all the records and gifted us with stories for a one-hour show to air the next. tomorrow on BBC Radio 2. The whole experience was made even more fun when Bob introduced the extra dimension of ice cream! It was a hot day in July. The driver knew what Bob liked and bought two family-size slabs to eat with spoons while we continued filming and before they melted.
These days it is very different. I can interview a great name and have them record their entire ending and send me the file. It’s so much easier for everyone without balancing out tape machines, scripts, and ice cream, but not half as much fun!
Now, anyone can record their own radio show or podcast and put it on the Internet for the whole world to hear. The sad thing is that without training, many webcasters have no idea how to win over their listeners and offer something attractive. Consequently, as the number of people who choose the Internet for alternative radio choice increases, the more difficult they will have to search for something substantial and quality. But seek out and you will be rewarded as real innovation and talent shine through.
Will webcasting in all its forms overtake terrestrial analog and digital platforms? The future could be rich in content and entertainment value as novice web presenters learn their craft. I’m not sure the new age of webcasting is golden, but it sure will be different.
If you want to be on the radio, now you can. Check out our free tips and strategies for building your audience through entertaining shows.