I’m rethinking the radio show. Not whether or not to do it, but I’m questioning how I go about it.
You should know that this is my first radio production foray. I grew up listening to radio, of course — we didn’t have the internet and MP3 players back then, or even CDs — but I’d never done radio before. Turns out that it’s not that hard; the learning curve wasn’t particularly steep. And it’s fun playing music I like. And the people at the station are great. And I have at least one regular listener.
But two things are on my mind:
- I’ve been preparing each show as much as I possibly can without actually pre-recording the whole thing (except for those shows that I actually have pre-recorded because I wasn’t going to be in town); and
- The primary on-air personality is a speech synthesizer under the guise of a robot.
Why all the prep, and why the imaginary friend? One reason, composed of two related parts: To avoid as much microphone time as possible, and to make that which I can’t get out of go as smooth as possible.
Deal is, I suffer from a longstanding dislike of the sound of my voice. That, and mic freeze. I’m pretty sure the second thing stems directly from the first thing (exacerbated by being not particularly quick on my feet when I’m in the spotlight). So the bountiful prep and the robot host are a perfectly sensible plan for self-security. Really. They are.
But does it matter? And more important, am I missing out on overcoming a problem that’s only a problem for me… and as a consequence also missing out on what could be an even more fun experience?
As the shows tick by, I’m beginning to care less and less about the weird pitch and timbre of my voice and the halting way that I use it. Still don’t like it, but caring less. And I realized when I filled in at the last minute for Julio (the host of the show following mine, Lost Marbles) a couple weeks ago that I had more fun kicking it old-school — that is, the way that pretty much everyone else doing a community radio show does it — than the way I have been.
So I’m thinking that I’m going to suck up and step up, demoting the robot host to robot sidekick. I still like her, and plan to keep her for the show intro and outtro, and as the public face. And instead of compiling set music blocks with defined breaks ahead of time, I’ll queue up tracks individually and pipe up in my pipsqueak stumble when I damn well wanna. Possibly — hopefully — with more frequency and with less specific reason for doing so. By being normal, the show will probably end up having more individuality, more personality. It seems like a self-contradiction.
That will mean more attention to what I’m doing in the station, and less attention to the real-time social media thing, which clearly isn’t all that engaging for people anyway. I’ll keep posting titles and artists to Facebook (and by extension to Twitter), and if somebody chimes in I’ll still respond… but the as-it-happens internet part is going to be less of a concern. The show’s website will carry on as it has been.
This doesn’t have anything to do with the demise of net neutrality and the inevitable cost-of-use increases the big-money ISPs certainly have planned, but by happy accident it dovetails.
There’s a couple shows already in the can that I’ll cycle through before this kicks in.