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radio programming graphicQ: “WHAT IS a REAL jock?”

A: “It takes one to know one.” — actual dialog from days of yore

(You can always tell if dialog’s authentic by the quotation marks.)

Translation: You can’t ‘get it’ — what a real jock is — from any other instruction than actually being one. When radio folk say, “It Takes One To Know One,” their semantics may vary to include the unasked question assumed, “so — how good are you?” It’s another way we subtly play the old “One-Up” Game, when we’re not Name Dropping.

Let’s play. I’ll go first to give you the template. (Then you go, and I’ll steal it from you.)

I say: “It takes one to know one, and I think…Real jocks are the ones who play the song all the way through.

OK, now it’s your turn. You ask me, “What’s a real jock?” And I’ll come back with something like, “As you know; takes one to know one, so I can say… Real jocks are women.”

And on we play through the night…

Real jocks are men.

Real jocks are of all genders and generally curious.

Real jocks are confident enough they can hit the post every time, that they don’t.

Real jocks are no strangers to having things stolen from them, but invariably they’re
the kind of people who would probably have given it away, anyway.

Real jocks are an asset.

Real jocks are an investment.

Real jocks are the “Show” part of show business.

Real jocks are the part of Show Business that SHOWS.

Real jocks are able to find the sizzle in road kill.

Real jocks are professional enough not to kill those referring to them as “content.”

Real jocks are worth something to a radio station once when counted as a “cutback,” but
are valuable in many ways every day as a member of the team.

Real jocks are like a programmer’s Swiss army knife to intelligent management.

Real jock would always make money before cutting back to save it.

Real jocks are confusing to management that doesn’t understand.

Real jocks are capable of making shareholders very happy.

Real jocks are not afraid of Light Rock.

Real jocks invented many, if not every, tease you have seen on any TV football game.

Real jocks are used to having their listeners get it when their boss doesn’t.

Real jocks aren’t considered real by fellow jocks until they have been fired at least once.

Real jocks are artists.

Real jocks are almost universally against dead air.

Real jocks are not stupid, for the most part; usually the reverse.

Real jocks are flexible.

Real jocks are capable of faking sincerity.

Real jocks usually have great excuses.

Real jocks often appear preoccupied.

Real jocks have “headphone hair,” and their own workarounds for it.

Real jocks are like police officers in only one respect — love of pastries.

Real jocks are able to hold a fistful of paper near a live mic very quietly.

Real jocks are unaware overall that their boss has an ego at least ten times their own.

Real jocks are not afraid to “borrow” courage on the wager of fame.

Real jocks are prepared.

Real jocks are crazy, as when one tries to define another in love. Real jocks have found  something that means more to them than anything they had experienced previously. So, they’re willing to let go of nearly all their past for it. But, like so many religious experiences, only at first.


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  • Michael Hendrickson December 3, 2009, 2:53 am

    A Real Jock may be on the verge of bankruptcy, about to have their car repossessed..but they will crack the mic open and entertain, and their audience will be none the wiser. BUT, a real jock will also know when to share,and what part of his personal life his audience will, or WILL NOT, find entertaining.

  • Frank Baum December 3, 2009, 6:01 am

    Great commentary. A lot of audience might listen and enjoy feeling like the performer is a friend in their audience life day by day. Real jocks really are.

  • Mike Bell December 3, 2009, 6:07 am

    Real jocks know the difference between a dramatic pause and dead air and know how to apply it.

  • Don Chaney December 3, 2009, 6:35 am

    Thanks Bobby…dead on. Real Jocks have a microphone that cost more than their car.

  • Dan Nims December 3, 2009, 9:14 am

    A real jock is not afraid to use his own name. Or come up with one that no one believes is real.

    What’s that other one? A real jock never owns more than he can carry in his car… to his next job.

    Thanks, Bobby. A flood of memories….

  • Roger Coryell December 3, 2009, 12:59 pm

    Gosh. We still have real jocks?

  • Don Henry B December 3, 2009, 4:45 pm

    A real jock can be flexible enough to put on a great show with or without automation.

  • Pam Edwards December 3, 2009, 6:02 pm

    A real jock can have the worse flu.. throw up during commercial breaks and not even complain…..Take away ‘their’ favorite headphones? Oh, that is the worse kind of HELL and why can’t others understand this????

  • Paul J. Warwick December 3, 2009, 6:03 pm

    A real Jock pisses off management at least once a week.

  • Bill Wood December 3, 2009, 8:00 pm

    Real jocks think that Margarita’s are a Food Group

  • Bill Wood December 3, 2009, 8:02 pm

    Real Jocks understand the intrinsic value of ‘contra’

  • Robert Hantson December 3, 2009, 8:03 pm

    A Real Jock knows how to break for a quick smoke, pee, and grab a cup of coffee… all within 2 minutes and 33 seconds…

  • Robert Hantson December 3, 2009, 8:03 pm

    Ummm… what do you mean THINK Margarita’s are a food group… you mean to tell me they aren’t?

  • Alicia Griggs December 3, 2009, 8:04 pm

    AMEN! We do know how to do all that and then some …

  • Jason 'Pottsy' Fredeen December 3, 2009, 11:27 pm

    Real Jocks know what is happening behind the mic when American Pie, Paradise by the Dashboard Light or Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald are on the radio.

  • Bill Wood December 3, 2009, 11:28 pm

    Real jocks know where the “good” pens are kept.

  • James Anthony December 3, 2009, 11:31 pm

    real jocks know we’re screwed now and should have had a backup plan.

  • Norm Roberts December 3, 2009, 11:34 pm


  • Jim Snyder December 3, 2009, 11:41 pm

    and here i thought i could get away with it until the cart for the long version of american pie broke on the air…

  • Michael Bell December 3, 2009, 11:45 pm

    Real jocks know that we screwed ourselves and should have paid more attention. You know, that whole \too close to the forest to see the trees\ thing.

  • Larry Hennessey December 4, 2009, 2:16 am

    Real jocks should never have used Auto.

  • Cindy Huber December 4, 2009, 2:27 am

    A real jock takes a personal interest in the life of their audiences and care, and try to help their community, or at the least be willing to ring the Salvation Army bell at Christmas.

  • Bill Cooper December 6, 2009, 12:35 am

    All real jocks would have jumped at the chance to work “pirate radio”!!! And…real jocks know that their time will come again. Everything in cycles!

  • Scott James January 10, 2010, 7:59 am

    Real jocks:

    -Chastise themselves about slipups which most people wouldn’t even notice
    -Get quite a rush out of successes which most people wouldn’t even notice
    -Can fast-forward to all the potential drops in the show they just watched
    -Are better at figuring out what their competition’s doing right rather than what they’re doing wrong
    -Know when to shut up and let the music do the talking. And when not to
    -Have so many archived phone calls on their hard drives they make the NSA look like amateurs
    -Pay equal attention to criticism and praise during airchecks
    -Have, at least once, been producing the last part of specialty programming while the first part was already on the air
    -Will thank you rather than attack you for constructive criticism, whether they agree with it or not
    -Exist three minutes and thirty seconds in the future when they’re on the air
    -Have strong opinions on whether Fidelipacs or Aristocarts produced more satisfying results when thrown against a studio wall
    -Have had the dream in which they’re trying to do a show, and everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong
    -Could retire right now if they successfully claimed for all the unpaid overtime
    -Know how to do a live bit using three audio sources when it actually needs five
    -Marvel that many of their non-radio friends have never worked on Christmas Day
    -Prefer ugly clocks which display the seconds over stylish ones which don’t
    -Are still in the control room behind the board at 3:02 when you come in two minutes late
    -Know that if the monitors aren’t cranked, the kids can tell

  • Tim Byrd "The Byrdman" January 10, 2010, 8:00 pm

    Nicely done Bobby. I loved all those old KCBQ air checks! These are interesting times aren’t they?

  • Dorien Jaye January 11, 2010, 7:23 am

    Real Jocks don’t adhere to the term “over qualified”, instead respond with, “I’m exceptionally qualified!”

  • Kathy Lynn January 12, 2010, 7:38 pm

    Real Jock spell jox with an x, like sfx.

    Real Jocks can make turkey-loaf an acceptable Christmas dinner for one.

    Real Jocks know Ramen noodles taste best with only half the added packet of flavorings.

    Real Jocks race to see who can replace a cart pad the fastest (:50, by the way)

    Real Jocks fill dead air- even at home sometimes.

    Real Jocks know where the key to the vending machine is- even though they don’t use it. Often, anyway.

    Real Jocks drink coffee, Mountain Dew, and water from the tap.

    Real Jocks already know the intro time for any song. Who needs Hal to tell you?

    Real Jocks remember pulling records for the next jock. And name of the twerp who never pulled for anyone.

    Real Jocks celebrate the New Year with a coffee while watching the ball on tv- then go back to work.

    Real Jocks are only as good as their last break.