Like many stations around the world, they love to quote listeners’ text messages on-air.
Why is this often a mistake?
It was Paige Nienaber who first pointed out to me that radio people tend to use new technology to distance themselves from their listeners. Texting (or SMS) is an excellent example.
The most powerful sound you can broadcast is the human voice.
Forget, for the moment, how cool it is to get dozens or hundreds of text messages or e-mails from listeners.
Instead, view them from the listener’s perspective:
Which is more compelling — hearing a listener on-air, or hearing a jock read words written by a listener?
Having a jock read a listener’s written message is lifeless.
And it’s completely lacking in spontaneity and risk.
When you’ve got a listener on the air, anything can happen.
Even if it’s recorded and edited prior to broadcast, it should sound live and “dangerous” (“dangerous” = “anything can happen”).
But there’s no way to create the feeling that an e-mail or SMS is “live,” let alone “dangerous.” By definition, before it can be read on-air someone had to write it and send it to the jock.
Recommendation: Use e-mails and SMS for gathering large quantities of listener response— listener polls, rate-a-record, etc.
But for listener comments? Whenever possible, put the human voice on your airwaves.