There are two things I've sworn by in my years in Radio, Claude Hopkins' 1927 book "My Life in Advertising" which defined direct marketing, audience research and 'Positioning' decades before computers were invented and Reis & Trout were born ... and the words below.
I received this as part of a ragged xerox & staples handbook of wisdom from Tom Kelly, my first P.D., way back too far at WSPR-AM Springfield, MA.
I keep the original two pages of these words in a frame. They're yellowed. A few of the letters droop as whoever typed the leaflet did it years before word processors. Now I put 'em here.
So Ya Wanna Be A Radio Star
RADIO IS NOT sitting on your butt and getting paid for using your beautiful voice. Radio is not talking to thousands of people at one time. Radio is not getting to play your favorite records every day. Radio is not an eight hour a day job, or a nine to five, or forty hours a week, or a job that will make you rich quick, or even secure.
RADIO is not knowing how to read a meter, or fix a tape deck, or assemble an entire station. Radio is not working a stopwatch, or running a tight board, or reading messages off cards. Radio is not something you can learn to do just from listening to it, or even from going to school for it.
RADIO is not being a star to your family and friends, or even your boss. Radio is not laying a different girl every night, or even being sure you have the night off. Radio is not free records, or free movie passes, or free time in any consistent amount. Radio is not an ego trip.
RADIO is not knowing every intimate detail about every artist's life, or buying the right joke sheet, or reading the features off the teletype. Radio is not giving away thousands of dollars to grateful contestants, all waiting for a chance to be "the sixth caller". Radio is not playing every request for every last bubblegummer who phones, or even for your best girl. Radio is not masses of attentive listeners who hang on your every word and listen carefully to what you're saying. Radio is not having three or four minutes to goof off in, every time you play a record.
RADIO IS talking to and with a friend who is never there, who rarely calls, or lets you know how he or she feels about you or anything. Radio is carrying on a conversation with someone who lets you do all the work, but who leaves if you're not interesting. Radio is working within a discipline, setting your own tastes aside, and sometimes, your opinions, and still managing to project utter believablity. Radio is staying an hour late, and being late for dinner -- or breakfast -- and having nobody appreciate it but yourself. Radio is a job where most people earn far less than the national average, go bankrupt more often, and die younger. Radio is being fired with no notice, for no apparent reason.
RADIO is the intuitive feeling for what your listener wants, after you've learned all the disciplines and mechanical aspects, and don't need to spend much conscious thought on them. Radio is what's left of the personality you've created, after you've learned you don't need any personality at all, other than your natural one.
RADIO is having people depend on you, but not trust you the way they do others on whom they depend. Radio is finding out that most of the chicks who call don't look like their voices. Radio is learning to accept yourself so you don't need any ego trips, and then finding out everyone thinks you're on one anyway!
RADIO is learning you don't need a steady amount of information, or humor, or high-powered entertainment; just enough of all of those to make your "friend" feel like he has company, and is in touch with the world. Radio is giving your all to your listener, and finding he accepts it as his natural right. Radio is never letting yourself get so side-tracked with things that are important to you individually, that you forget your listener, to whom they aren't. Radio is speaking efficiently so that people will hear the important stuff, before they mentally blend you into the background of whatever else they're doing.
RADIO IS busy-busy all the time you're on the air, and prep-prep all the time you're not ...
if you're doing it right.