Being in radio, in it’s simplest form, is being paid to speak. There are still several people who think that and say “Oh you just talk and play music, anyone can do that.” but the truth is there’s more to it than that. You have to be able to tell stories, be entertaining, be relatable but it still is being paid to talk. It’s a lot of words every day; the AJ & McCall Show is about 90 minutes of talking from 6-10a. Our show is a success because we know how important those words are.
I’ve always tried to think differently about what my words mean, especially as I’ve gotten deeper in to my radio career. When my sister’s started to get older and get in to social media it made me think about what I was posting. Already there were things I couldn’t say on the air but I took it a step further. They were following me and so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t posting stuff that would be bad for them to see. Frankly, the world should do more of that because social media can really be a toilet of the internet.
I like to write, ala AJ’s Blog, but I also have dabbled in poetry since high school. It has always been a way to vent and express myself and because of that written word has also been very important to me. When I go in to college I started to think about writing and words more. There are powerful words in the English language but with overuse or lack of true power behind them they start to mean less. Words like holy, love, hate they are words that are supposed to be powerful but get over used and lose their meaning and power, so I decided to use them less. It made the words mean more to me.
People get emotional, everyone does, and when that happens things can be said that are over the top and aren’t exactly what they mean but that doesn’t mean the damage is done. An off-handed comment about someone’s job or a joke at someone’s expense may be just a joke to the person saying it, but that doesn’t mean it just goes away. Maybe it wasn’t what they really meant in the long run but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t stay with the person it’s about. In fact it probably alters the relationship and can even mean long term ramifications.
One of the blogs I wrote was about the darkest time in my life and how low I really got. I had never really talked about it, but finally felt like I could share. I hoped that maybe it would help someone but really just wanted to get it out there so that people could know it’s not weakness to seek help and even in the lowest time you can get help and pull yourself from it. Someone reached out and said that after reading that blog they finally got help they needed. It’s one of my proudest moments in radio and I hope a sign that others found help they needed.
Dark humor is still the top form of humor, though is the PC world it is rejected in public. The offended level has gone way off the deep end but it is a good reminder of how powerful words are, even if it’s a ‘joke.’ While you may not agree with how PC things are or don’t agree with the jokes it doesn’t take the sting out of what is said on either side.
Written word in a blog can inspire, spoken word on a morning show can entertain and the language has power to it that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Just because I’m paid for my words doesn’t mean they’re anymore important for me. In this age where people are more connected to the rest of the world, and there’s less filter with social media and the screens, make your words matter.