Radio Zahn

Opening the mic in written form

So it didn’t take me too long to stumble and fall right back into the same problem I had the previous couple of times I tried to maintain a blog: updating periodically.

I could come up with a gazillion excuses and they would all amount to me not allocating regular time to sit and blog, period.

But I will still offer one anyway.  I’m moving between two houses, and with a family in tow, you can imagine how chaotic that gets.

A good kind of chaotic, though, is what I’ve always loved about radio.  To get the ear-candy type of radio programming to execute flawlessly on the air actual does require some skill and work.  The primary skill I needed to learn when I started out was multi-tasking.  And back in the days of analog radio, there was a potential for disaster if I couldn’t keep it together.  I liked that I got to pick my songs to play, but I had to constantly be mindful of what was happening on and off the air all the time.  After pressing play on a Technics turntable and seamlessly getting the current song on the air, I would have to pick and cue-up the next vinyl record on the second turntable.  While doing that, I had to prepare my next ad lib or spiel and answer phone calls for requests and dedications (yeah, I started out in provincial pop radio after all).  Seems simple enough in theory, but in practice, I did need that multi-tasking skill to be spot on.

I remember my former 99.5 RT colleague, North Andrew, remarking how drained he would feel after his shift on air.  If you’ve ever had the privilege of hearing his program back then, you could appreciate that observation, as I recall how easy he made it sound.

And a lot of other radio DJ’s have commented that even if a typical radio show only runs for three to four hours on average, it still feels like they worked an eight hour desk job.  I can only agree with that sentiment.   On radio, there are no long lunch or snack breaks, and I would have to time my bathroom break with the length of the song as I had to make my sure I could get back in the booth before the record playing had run out.  Otherwise, I would have committed the deadly radio sin of dead-air or on-air silence, which would be broken only by the sound of the telephone ringing meaning my program director or worse, station manager would be on the other end to rip me a new one.

But after my first month and even after more than twenty years, I still crave that kind of chaos.  It’s something I will truly never outgrow.

Now excuse me while I try to lift this couch with my Jedi mind trick.

Next time, let’s talk about radio today.


Back to the beginning…

Welcome to Radio Zahn!  I’m Zahn, by the way, a semi-retired radio personality here in Manila, Philippines.  By that, I mean I’m currently not actively on air in radio, but I’d like to be.  And having built a career in radio that started way back in February 1989, being in radio is pretty much ingrained into me.  On an average day, just absorbing what’s going on around me fills my head with interesting radio commentary I could say about some bit of news or event that I stumble upon.  I also miss playing music for other people.

I felt I needed a decent medium to sort of become the vent for all that.  And I’m hoping starting this blog will do the trick for now.  I figured I would do it with a radio format similar to the one I used to do on air.  Simply enough, it’s what most would know as the pop or Top 40 format on FM radio.  That’s where you play music and occasionally intersperse with some talk in between songs.

FM radio in Manila today is quite different from when I started out more than 20 years ago.  But i’ll leave the lengthy commentary about that for a future post.

This first post is entitled “Back to the beginning…” because I remember the carefree feeling of my first radio gig back on GV 99.1 in Angeles City (my hometown).  I got to share with the listener the music that I liked and share my ideas about what was going on at the time.  And I honestly didn’t care about how little I was getting paid back then.

So that’s why this first post starts off with a song above.  And to me, it is starting over, because I get to program this blog just like the radio show I had in 1989.  Thanks to YouTube, I can conveniently insert music without having to worry about any copyright issues for fair use in this blog.  I’ll be dropping in some videos of songs and hopefully spice it up with some decent thoughts about what’s going on in the world; whether it may be a current event or some oddity that I come across during my day.  And being fairly human, I also have my own share of inclinations or favorite preoccupations for the moment.  Being a career-radio guy, I will be sharing my thoughts about the current state of radio.  And as a computer oriented person, I’ll also talk about new things that I like in tech, especially having become a recent Mac convert.  Of course, I will have something to say about what’s in the news, both good and bad, both pretty and grotesque.

And the big news of the day in The Philippines of course, is the Pacquiao fight!  So take it away Manny…

The mandatory pre-fight staring contest:

Go clean Marquez’s clock out, PACMAN!!!

Stay tuned!  Back soon!

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