A reader writes:
Ironic that the Economist blogger enjoys listening to the radio because it's a reminder that "someone, somewhere is alive." I guess it shows how successfully my industry has transitioned to heavily pre-recorded programs and disc jockeys without the public noticing.
Aside from local talk radio and live syndicated talk shows, a huge percentage of radio programs are now pre-recorded DJs, many of whom live thousands of miles from the city where they seem to be live on their stations. Computers play the songs and the commercials, so the DJ merely records the brief segments where they speak between songs. They can do this hours or days before the show airs, and the computer plays everything as scheduled.
So a 4 or 5-hour show can be "performed" in about 30 minutes. Some DJs' careers now consist of coming to work in the morning, recording the various "shows" for a series of stations in various cities (each station e-mails the DJ their various local events/contests, etc. they want promoted), and going home, never doing a live radio show ever. Some larger radio companies now even produce completely generic daily shows in various formats (pop, country, rock, hip-hop, etc.) that don't even pretend to have any local flavor, or even mention the station's call letters.
So yes, someone somewhere is alive, but the living person you're hearing probably isn't there, or even in your city.
To be fair, blogs have future-publishing. But the future is usually only a few hours. We need to eat and sleep as well.