Celebrating 62 Years of Rock & Roll Memories!
I guess that is no big surpise and I am sure your right anybody that has to work that shift it must mess up their body clock to get to it that is not used to being up in those hours
Anyway going back to radio. Other than filling in for someone every once in awhile I never really had a permanent overnight radio gig. I was lucky to have the 7-Midnight gig though. Looking back for an airshift that never had much in the way of listeners that shift seemed to have the most drama attached to it. Whenever something gets stolen from an unopened office usually it would be the overnight jock who would get blamed for it. The constant threat of having your shift automated and you out of a job, rumors of the overnight jock having "guests" in the studio at 2AM or some joker would call the program director during the day and say that they heard the overnight jock use the "F" word at 3:30 in the morning or claiming to hear a song the overnight jock had played that wasn't part of the format getting the PD upset....having somebody live on the air in the middle of the night really isn't worth the drama. At least with a computer and a good security alarm its one less thing to worry about.
Last edited by hamster; 08-23-2016 at 10:35 PM.
I got tossed on a Midnight to 6 gig at a top 40 in 1984 in a college town. I was told I'd be doing 6-10pm but when I got there was told I was really going to do 2-6am because I was the most inexperienced of the staff. No union here and the pay was decent. My PD had no concept of working overnight (Production 10 to Midnight; shift 12M-6am).
My PD would aircheck me during the first hour of the morning show. I'd get home about 7am. It was not unusual for him to have a meeting at 10am, then ask me to go on a remote at 3pm, etc. Simply put, I could get, at best, a couple of hours of sleep at a time. It was not long before that caught up with me. Luckily, the 10pm-2am shift jock got moved in and for a few days my shift was 2-6am with production at midnight. Then there was a rift between the GM and the PD. My PD was fired and I got a daytime shift. For the first time in weeks, I got my first uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep. Yep. Overnights is not for me either.
I seemed to have quite a few listeners overnight and we usually filled about 8 minutes an hour in spots but this was a college town. In fact, I don't recall a bunch of really drunk or stoned callers either...guessing they weren't listening but those who were studying were. I recall Taco Bell paid a premium to run 4 sixties in the 2 am hour, my only hour with 4 stop sets. The station effectively sold some 24/7 plans where essentially you bought a 6am-7pm spot and got an overnight spot for about $2 more. There were many businesses open late in that town.
I can see why so many stations are on computer overnight...little revenue, fewer listeners, etc. It would be nice to be 24/7 live but with all the other media choices tugging at radio's revenue, it's harder today to get the revenue and enough of it to go live 24/7.
The worst was my first job. I was the only jock. I did 5:30 to 9am, pinned up automation and had to be back at 11 to prepare for a one hour 'Midday Report'. At 1pm I pinned up automation. At 5 I had to prepare for a 30 minute newscast at 6. Then I played top 40 until 10pm. Anybody that has done a shift, especially back in the day of carts and turntables, knows it takes a bit to unwind and you are usually ready for a meal by then. Short naps are the norm and maybe 5 hours overnight for sleep. I did that about six months. Finally it was 6 to 9 on the air, selling advertising 9 to 3 and an afternoon shift 3 to 6, then production and copywriting. I wasn't a good salesman and most other salespeople gave their stuff to the 9-3 jock so they could call back the client to play back the spot that day so I was usually out of there by 7. Then again I was new to radio and loved every minute of it.
The number of radio stations doing local programming overnight is slim. When it comes to overnight Talk on AM, the only station I know doing it is WBZ Boston. And only two Sports stations do overnight local Sports Talk... WFAN-AM-FM NYC and WZGC Atlanta.
Of the nine fulltime All-News stations, eight have live overnight anchors (WCBS, WINS, KNX, WBBM, KCBS, KYW, WTOP, KOMO), but not on WWJ Detroit, where overnights are an hour of prerecorded news repeated till dawn. In Canada, the three fulltime All-News stations (CFTR, CKWX and CHQT) are also live overnight, I think. But I don't think Canada has any live overnight local talk shows.
I think every large to medium market does have a few FM music stations with overnight DJs. But only a few. I know in Hartford CT and Springfield Mass, where I sometimes travel overnight, a few stations have live DJs, such as WZMX and WAQY.
KOA had hung on for a long time but I guess Denver isn't big enough to justify a live talk show overnight.
Last edited by Gregg.; 09-12-2016 at 09:36 PM.
Well, I wouldn't say unlistenable. KOA still got good ratings in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo markets up until Arbitron stopped showing out-of-market signals (unless the station pays for the service). Some folks are still listening to distant signals at night, especially in areas where there isn't a lot of electronic noise. WLW Cincinnati still has an all-night truckers' show.
And lack of callers shouldn't be a problem. A decent host can get around that. Many hosts today don't take that many calls. And even in very small markets, there are people calling in. Unfortunately, a GM is always looking at his bottom line, trying to see where he can squeeze a bit more profit. And with Premiere, Westwood One and other syndicators calling station GMs and begging them to carry their programs, I'm sure it's hard to resist. Do you pay a local host a salary and benefits for a daypart that isn't even rated?
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