In these Radiowaves-exclusive articles, legendary presenter Pat Courtenay shares his views, ideas, experience, and tips with our visitors…
In this week’s column he talks about working on Christmas Day
WORK CHRISTMAS DAY!
I always insist on working on Christmas Day…and don’t tell me no one’s listening to the Radio! As a career Breakfast Jock who’s spent half his life looking at the blurry side of 6:00 a.m., I know there’s always someone who’s glad you’re there. I must admit I prefer to do the Morning Show rather than Breakfast at Christmas for two reasons: health (remember you have to get Partied-up on Christmas Eve) and audience attention.
Early on Christmas morning can be tricky, what with new CDs to be played, Playstation games to be clocked and general carnage in the house; but around 9:00, someone’s usually insisting on some “normal” behaviour.
Format does make a difference. If you’re on a station that has parents listening, it’s easy – in fact you’re better going into a mad pre-recording frenzy on the phones and montage-ing kids’ calls, simply because they can get repetitive. The big thing there, though, is to get the folks on, and on Christmas morning it’s pretty easy; you know what it’s like with a hangover – you’ll talk to anyone! Then, as soon as you get one or two on, they start queuing up to tell you how rat-arsed they got last night, how they’ve started again or how they haven’t stopped yet.
If you want to stay away from the formulaic Christmas phone-in thing, how ’bout borrowing a friend’s talkative child? I once borrowed a colleague’s daughter and we opened all her presents in the studio at Breakfast time. (She’d come down to find presents for her sister and a treasure hunt set up for her which led her to the conclusion that she had to phone me at the Station. Then I told her, “I thought all these presents were mine,” and got told in no uncertain terms to touch nothing until she got there!) If you’ve chosen a talented chiseller you can even get them taking phone-ins.
How about talking to a teacher or two? Pre-record them around break-up time, promise them anonymity and let ’em rip on the subject of how happy they are to see the back of the little shites for a few weeks.
Dance stations? No problem. You and your audience almost guaranteeably share the same music tastes so get them on the phone, rate this CD versus that CD, Playstation and PC games: maybe set up a competition with a couple of punters to see who can get the furthest with the year’s most popular game by the time you knock off…and keep the music pumpin’.
Use your regulars. They might give you a pain in the Santa Sack the rest of the year, but they always have something to say, in their own mind they have Star Status and at Christmas and New Year they will definitely have something cool to say about you and your Station.
If you’ve got budget, phone Radio Stations around the planet and don’t think small! The bigger the outfit you call, the more likely you are to get someone who’s performer enough to want to take your call – it’s the little guys who think little: amongst others, I’ve had Scott Shannon and Rick Dees. Remember too, you’re calling from Ireland! They want you to call. Don’t forget to talk to them about them, too; not just about Christmas. Remember to set this up in advance.
(Speaking of setting things up ahead of time, why not record a real Christmas party this year to use as a backdrop to next year’s Christmas Show?)
Put your parents on to talk about you as a kid.
And if all else fails, the cheap and cheerful way to do it is to bring a few of the troops in to have a Christmas morning piss-up in the studio with you! Someone has to keep it under control but it’s great craic.
Have a wonderful Christmas on and off the Radio.
You’re living in the Par-tay Capital of the Universe, so tap in to it!