An A To Z Glossary Of Radio Station Jargon
Have you ever wondered what it's really like to work here? Well, I can give you a little taste of it by taking a look into the way we talk!
Just in case you don't know, jargon is basically a term that means slang words or phrases that are only used in a certain job or profession. Now that we're all on the same page, here we go!
Actives - These are radio listeners who participate in contests or call in requests.
Backsell - This is a term we use where we announce the title or singer's name for the song we just played.
Cans - Headphones.
Daypart - These are stretches of time in our day which usually correspond to the length of a show. For example, the morning daypart is 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., afternoon is 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
EAS - This is what replaced the Emergency Broadcast System. It's all electronic now and it goes out directly to alert you about an emergency. It's called the Emergency Alert System, but no one calls it that.
Format Clock - This is a diagram that is shaped like a clock and divided up like a pie chart. It shows how long songs, commercials, and my jibber jabber should be going.
Gain - This is another term for volume.
Hit The Post - This is a term people who talk on the air use. It means that we time ourselves to talk up to the very very start of the lyrics of a song. If you can do your intro until a second or even half a second before the singing starts, you've "Hit The Post".
Imaging - These are the little promo bits that play in between songs that let you know what radio station or music format you're listening to. Sometimes there's a little joke or a clip of an artist.
Jingle - This is another form of imaging, but usually involves singing by someone professional who does seven thousand of them every day.
K - Well, this isn't really a "jargon" but it's a fun fact. The call letters of our radio stations all begin with the letter K. They do that because K is the first letter for US stations that are located West of the Mississippi. W is used for the other side.
Log - This is the plan for the day at the station. It's a record of what played. Songs, commercials, everything.
Miscue - Have you ever heard two things playing at once on our stations? It happens.
Nonstarter - When you write a blog or ask a question to the listeners and nobody responds. It's always a sad occasion.
On The Beach - This means you're unemployed. Or, you're employed, but just not in the radio business anymore.
Puker - This is someone every on air person will make fun of, every time. It's someone who will put on a voice that isn't their natural speaking voice, and try to sound overly enthusiastic by using their throat when they talk.
Queue - It's the amount of commercials that are about to be played during a commercial break. For example, in a four minute break, you might have six thirty second commercials and one sixty second commercial in the "queue".
Remote - This is what we call broadcasting on location. They usually are specifically bought by a business for a special occasion, and last two to three hours.
Spot - It's another word for commercial. We almost never call them "commercials".
Tag - It's a little something added to a spot. Usually it's something that will be added to a national spot for the local touch. You know, like there are several hundred restaurants in this chain, so they all use the same spot, but you add the name of the local town or the address of the restaurant at the end.
Unpack - This is something we do when we are trying to explain something, but don't want to ramble on too long.
Voice Track - Believe it or not, there isn't someone in the studio twenty four hours a day. A voice track is what we call it when someone has to pre-record a segment or part of the show.
Write In/On - This is when we have to add a spot to the log at the last minute that wasn't already scheduled.
X - Um... Xciting? I can't think of anything.
Yelper - This is someone who voices a commercial or a segment on the show, and has to speak either at a very high volume or practically scream to sound excited.
Zebra - This is a horse like creature that is both black and white in color. Usually running from lions or some other kind of carnivore.