It’s probably because music has been a rare and precious thing in my life recently that I feel such resentment towards radio jockeys who don’t let you listen, uninterrupted, to good songs. It’s like a dying man in the desert repeatedly having his water-bottle tugged away from his parched mouth.
One of my curses is that I can’t read/write and listen to music simultaneously, which has meant an enforced falling out with what used to be a great love. The car is now the only place for listening to music. And for the last few months the cassette deck in my car stereo hasn’t been functioning properly, so I’m completely dependent on radio for my daily fix. These days, after shuffling between various channels during a 45-minute drive, if I succeed in hearing three decent songs, I consider it a road well driven. That’s how pathetic my situation is.
Which is why it stings something fierce when, after the familiar opening riffs of a beloved tune begin and the song prepares to move into second gear, the audio track suddenly blanks out so that a smart-ass RJ can come on and say something like "Yeah, folks, this is really one groovy number, isn’t it? I tell you, I really love this song people. I’ve been listening to it since when I was a little baby. But aha, I’m not gonna tell you when that was etc" And then the song, or what's left of it, continues. If you don’t listen to the radio, believe me, this happens all the time.
It’s bad enough that on most of the channels, at least the FM ones, there are more ads, traffic updates and RJ monologues than there is music. (I’d really like to know what the exact ratio is.) But once a song has actually begun, is it too much to ask that it not be mauled thusly? After all, there isn’t even any commercial logic at work in such cases. The channel isn’t going to lose money if the jockey is bound and gagged for four-and-a-half minutes.
I don’t want to start a rant against RJs here, because they are all very soft targets - anyone who listens to one of them for even 10 minutes will know exactly what I mean. So I won’t delve into the inanities, the accents, the redundancies ("the time, folks, is exactly 9.15 on the dot" - ok, ok, I’m delving now). In fact, redundancy is probably the key to the problem: all RJs compulsively talk more than they need to - there are too many words, too many sentences, too much dross and never enough song. I'm buying me a nightingale.