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Radio technology is a form of communication that has been used over time. The technology is used in both person-to-person communications as well as in mass communication. The technology uses radio waves to transmit communication signals that can be received by people across the globe. Radio is a fascinating medium among the other forms of mass communication because of its appealing characteristics. Radio continues to be relevant as it was in the early days of its invention although there has been increasing inventions on other forms of media. It was the first and the only form of mass communication in the early days. Contrary, so many forms of media have been discovered especially with the audio-visual feature that radio lacks. In this regard, it has faced challenges in the broadcasting industry some of which target to kill the media. The discovery of satellite television and internet, for instance have increased different dimensions in the media utilization.
Nevertheless, there is a scope and space for every media to exist. Technological inventions in the media therefore are an opportunity for every media to improve its broadcasting. Radio thus has emphasized the use of disc jockeys to flower its broadcast and to attract the audience in a more pleasant way. The radio technology ensures that there is an attraction between the audience and the presenter. In this case, the radio disc jockeys help to achieve this attraction through the balance of music and sound of the presenter. Indeed, the power of radio to reach the masses has been one of the best technological advances in our recent history. Radio opened the door for global real-time communication of ideas and messages. Commercial radio pioneers took advantage of this opportunity to push products and services to the public. Radio disc jockeys helped to keep the listeners tuned in.
History of the Commercial Radio Industry
The Great Depression
The great depression was a period in radio broadcast caused by the radio Sunday in 1938 (Holt & Perren, 2011). This program induced the listeners into enduring stress, panic, and fear. According to the program, the Martians from mars had attacked earth causing explosive destructions to its inhabitants. The program thus sprouted critiques on the reality of the radio shows even in the world today. As it is known, war of the world broadcast by Welles was not very famous. Out of 130million population, the program only attracted 6million listeners (Holt & Perren, 2011). It was perceived to be scary than entertaining. The surrounding events of this program reveal how the Americans integrate radio broadcast and personal life. In 1930 before the great depression period, the United States found a new system of communication that spawned a new culture in the mass media.
The Americans encountered a world in which communication broadcast and culture can be standardized and centralized as radio brought to them an expanding impersonal public sphere. According to Terkel (2011), the new culture brought by the radio threatened to overpower the individuals rendering them helpless in the face to control their own lives and the things around their world.
The Pioneers in Radio
Guglielmo Marconi of Italy invented radio in 1895 having been influenced by the biography of Henrich Hertz he normally read (Terkel, 2011). He then tried the radio wave technology at his home, which worked successfully. Since then, the technology has been improved to allow transmission of waves not only from person-to-person but also across the universe. In the United States for example, the first broadcasting waves were aired in the 1900 (Terkel, 2011). One of the broadcasts originated from the metropolitan opera house sin New York City. Lee De Forest, an American inventor, made the broadcast. He invented most of the devices that were used in the early radios. Besides, he developed devices used by shortwave radios and telephones.
Edwin Armstrong was another American inventor who further developed the radio communication technology. Ion his invention, Edwin improved the radio reception signals so that they were clearer (Terkel, 2011). Moreover, he invented a technology that enabled radio to select the clear signals. As a result, he came up frequency modulation. The radios that used frequency modulation reproduced clear sounds since they were able to limit the reception of unwanted sounds.
Federal communication commission is an independent agency in the U.S regulating the interstates communications (Holt & Perren, 2011). Once formed, it took over wire communications from the interstate communications commission. The commission is mandated to cover the fifty states, the district of Colombia, and the borders of the United States. It provides varied degrees of cooperation, leadership, and oversight roles in communication within the states of North America. The commission so far has been amended by the telecommunication act of 1996 to avail radio communications to all American citizens without disparity of any kind (Holt & Perren, 2011). The act also acclaims that the federal communication commission is to provide national defense through the radio communication.
Public vs. Private Broadcasting
Most radio stations in the United States are owned privately. On the other hand, there are few radio stations, which receive their revenue from the federal government. The public broadcasting unlike the private receive absolute freedom to air their content as advocated for by the corporation for public broadcasting.
The federal government regulates the operations of both the private and the public broadcasting. After the invention of the radio broadcasting technology, the media operated with limited regulations by the government. It resulted to the stations jamming into each other’s signals. However, the federal government enacted federal radio act in 1927, which allocated frequency signals to the radio stations through a licensing procedure. The act recognized the fact that the transmission waves belonged to the public (Ahern, 2011). Thereafter, the federal communications commission came in place in 1934 to give several regulations on the radio broadcasting. First, the FCC limits the number of stations a company can own. It also governs the public broadcasting, the local programs and reviews the operations of the stations as part of licensing. The commission also advocates for equal airtime for political candidates during an election period. Both the media houses whether private or public is supposed to adhere to the regulations because they are offered with equal measure for all.
Internet age provides broadcasting services to develop internet radios, which have outstanding advantages over the broadcasting radios (Ahern, 2011). Internet radio has a wider coverage and audience because most radio fans are youths or young generation. Their access to the internet is perfect and attractive. Furthermore, they can access wide genres of music anytime anywhere within the space. Unlike the radio broadcast that is limited by wave access, the internet radio goes across borders so long as one has access to the internet.
Based on this, internet radio has secured global audience across the world. Travellers for instance, can access radio services, listen to the programs and the music they like provided they have their phones with them. The internet radio has immensely influenced the international community by providing information, knowledge, and entertainment. Radio is used as a tool to disseminate information across the globe. For instance, most elections in the globe, Europe in particular uses radio to preach their political agenda. During the European bloc fracture, the information spread across the world through the radio broadcasting as well as internet radio.
Taking Advantage of New Technology
As a deviation from the traditional radio that used either amplitude modulation or frequency modulation, the radio broadcasting industry takes advantage of the new technology to provide broadcasting using such technologies. For instance, today there is satellite radio that transmits its frequency using the satellites. This makes the sound frequency very clear and reachable to a wider audience. Sirius XM satellite radio, for instance, offer programs to millions of listeners who are able to pay for the special radio equipment together with a monthly subscription (Ahern, 2011). Programming are radiated from earth to the satellite and back to earth. They are then transmitted either directly to the special radio antennae or from repeater stations.
On the other hand, HD radio technology allows data and digital audio transmission alongside the AM and FM analog signals. The broadcasters have also invented internet radio, which divides digital information into small packets then send to a different location. The information thus can be accessed by anyone with internet through a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
The Profession-Disc Jockey
To become a disc jockey, one needs a minimum of high school diploma in media journalism or a bachelor’s degree of the same. The students have to study multimedia producing, radio narrative, broadcast writing, radio announcing, and media research techniques. Besides, due to new technological demand in the radio broadcasting, the student also need to learn a bit of computer science because they are expected to maintain social media accounts, websites and blogs (Percival, 2011). Moreover, they will need the technology to edit and present their broadcasting. The coursework should also involve public speaking practices and public relations since in the studio after school, the students will have to speak and address unseen audience. After the classroom training, the student has to undergo internship programs for a period that shall be decided by the school before the degree or the diploma is conferred upon them.
Just like most of the jobs, disc jockey too requires experience for one to successfully secure a good job and develop their career. During training, students can secure unpaid internships with their respective college studios or with other broadcasters or nightclubs. Moreover, good reputation and skills may make one stand a chance to a better career. The internships or volunteer jobs help to build ones resume and skills. As a result, it is highly recommended that students equip themselves with experience so that they gain better skills in the work. Experience is core in obtaining a good radio disc jockey job. Most employers will prefer those with proper experience and skills. It is thus important for the students to keep practice of their skills so that they may secure better opportunities in the profession.
Disc jockeys majorly guide radio shows alongside playing songs and commenting on-air. They also read commercials and interview radio guest on shows they conduct (Percival, 2011). Sometimes, they receive and play song requests from listeners. During the off-show time, disc jockeys are required to write commercial scripts and prepare programming for future programs (Percival, 2011). In radio stations, they cover research on music so that they get various genres of music on wide themes that may be played relevantly to the different shows they conduct. Their role in the radio show is fundamental and influential. They coordinate the entertainment in the show. Most audience particularly love shows for their entertaining nature. They find solace in the entertaining value of the music played by the radio disc jockeys. Hence, the disc jockeys play a role that enhances the future and continuity of the radio.
Disc jockeys have very many job opportunities varying from self-employment to employment by companies and organizations. They can secure permanent jobs in radio or television stations so that they help entertain the audience through music alongside conducting other duties in the industry. On the other hand, disc jockeys can work privately as self-employed where they network with people to give to allow them attend their weddings and functions. They can also be hired to work in nightclubs. Generally, the disc jockeys can find job anywhere where entertainment and music play is required. They need to acquire and practice their skills so that they increase opportunities for themselves. With the emerging technology, the profession is noble and reliable. Through internet, one can as well make a mix of their favorite songs and distribute to the fans that cherish such music genres.
The salaries for disc jockeys can vary widely depending on the job. According to Shonekan (2015), most jockeys earn around $11-$145 on average daily basis. Radio disc jockeys in particular records a yearly average salary of between $23000-&79000 (Shonekan, 2015). Moreover, the salary differs with towns and cities. It is therefore advisable for one to start working in small towns as they advance to bigger cities for better salary. Moreover, the salary may not have specific limits because the disc jockey profession is increasingly becoming more demandable. They are needed across the commercial media industry. Anyone interested in pursuing the dream should ahead knowing the prospects that awaits them in future.
Commercial media industry is a good place to work in. media industry especially the commercial radio has developed through edges into modernity that we see today. Hertz, who did the experiment somehow due to curiosity from the books he read, first invented the radio technology. The radio wave transmission was then modified from analog transmission waves to the digital information and data that are currently transmitted. So many scholars had to work out the modifications through the various inventions that they made. Some of the American inventors include, Guglielmo Marconi and Edwin Armstrong who gave their contributions to improve the technology.
Moreover, the communication industry has undergone various regulations by the federal government through the federal communications commission. The regulations are aimed at providing ethics and equality in the media coverage. The commission for instance provided a regulation that required the radio and television stations to give equal coverage without bias to the political candidates during election period. The regulations help protect the media rights as well as the rights of the citizens. They also ensure that good and consumable content is aired.
On the other hand, working in the radio as a disc jockey is a noble job that anyone should aspire to achieve. The disc jockey is mandated to provide commercial talks alongside entertaining the audience through a selection of songs that suite the listeners. Besides, technological inventions especially the internet and satellite technology have made the broadcasting work very easy and interesting. First, satellite allows the use of satellite radios, which gives a wider and reliable audience. Internet also allows the use of internet radio. These inventions are vital to the further improvements that will be made in the media industry.
Ahern, S. (2011). Making Radio: a practical guide to working in radio in the digital age. Allen & Unwin.
Holt, J., & Perren, A. (Eds.). (2011). Media industries: history, theory, and method. John Wiley & Sons.
Percival, J. M. (2011). Music radio and the record industry: Songs, sounds, and power. Popular Music and Society, 34(4), 455-473.
Shonekan, S. (2015). Money and Media: Radio; Television; Film Representations. In Soul, Country, and the USA (pp. 47-71). Palgrave Macmillan, New York..
Stephenson, A., Reese, D., & Beadle, M. (2013). Broadcast Announcing Worktext: A Media Performance Guide. Taylor & Francis.
Terkel, S. (2011). Hard times: An oral history of the Great Depression. The New Press
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