So you think you know everything about your favorite radio station, or disc jockey? Think again. I spent the entire 90’s working in radio. Eight years of morning shows at 2 major radio stations in Providence, RI I learned the radio bizz inside and out. Here are the Top Five dirty and deceptive radio station secrets I’ve discovered.

1.) Your request will not be played. Ever.

Unless you’re calling in an “all request” show, (and your choice is popular in the first place) your song is not going to be played. You’ll usually get a patronizing “we’ll try to get that on for you in a little while”, but it will never appear. Jocks (who call themselves “air personalities”, or simply “the talent”) have very little slack when dealing with song playlists, put together by the station’s music director or in some cases, the program director. Music at major radio stations are now programmed into computers and play automatically. Rarely will you see a jock toss a CD into a player anymore. Save your breath and don’t bother calling. And no, they won’t write it down, either.

2.) “Be Caller 97 to win right now!”

Do you really think someone is going to sit through 97 callers when giving away two free meal coupons to a pizza joint? Nope. It’s not gonna happen. With 6 phone lines (and sometimes less) coming into the studio, no one in their right mind is going to sit there and answer phones. If you’re not one of the first six, you’re going to be buying your own pizza. Also, if you sound like death warmed over when the jock answers the telephone, you’re not going to win. Radio stations want happy, upbeat listeners who sound great on the radio to win their contests. If you sound like you woke up in a morgue, you lost. Even if you are caller 97.

3.) If You’re a Prize Whore, You Probably Have a Nickname

A prize whore is someone (male or female) who shows up at every radio-station sponsored event (such as furniture stores, auto dealerships and nightclubs), trying to snag free t-shirts, cds or other radio station freebees. Prize whores are not just loyal to one radio station, but whore themselves out to several. (Hence the name) The promotions department at one station I worked for had nicknames for their prize whores. “Dirty Sweater” was a woman who wore the same dirty sweater each time. “Pissy Shirt” was another who wore the same sweat stained radio station T-Shirt to EVERY appearance. There were several more, whose nicknames I can’t recall. So remember, if you show up at EVERY radio station event, chances are you have a nickname-and it’s never a good one.

4.) Prizewhores Don’t Win Major Prizes

That trip for two to Vegas or that brand new Toyota isn’t going to be won by prize whores. If it’s a drawing, your entry will disappear. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I’ve seen it happen. If it’s a phone contest, you are “the wrong caller”. Every time.

5.) Your Jock is a Ghost

Computers and a method called voicetracking have made it possible for your DJ to record his show in advance, saving several hours (and several dollars) to the radio station. Your jock will pre-record the show, as if he/she were in the studio and the computer will play it back, plugging in the music. To the non-professional, it’s difficult to tell which is a voice-tracked show and which is not

Rockin’ Joe Hebert is a RI comedian, writer, musician and webmaster who spent the entire 1990s working mornings at 2 legendary Providence radio stations, PRO-FM and B-101 FM.