Gary Theroux wrote this and it was recently in Radio-Info.com. It's spectacular.
Music radio without DJs is like listening to someone else’s very limited capacity iPod that’s been infected with commercials.
That voice you hear belongs to your unseen friend who is right there beside you, full of fun, compelling, thought-provoking, engaging things to say for you to hear. And if the entertainment they’re providing is compelling enough, after you turn into your driveway and shut the motor off, you’ll click the RADIO back on — because you’re afraid that if you don’t, you’ll miss something great. When was the last time you heard radio like that?
Music radio without DJs is like listening to someone else’s very limited capacity iPod that’s been infected with commercials. The only spoken words you hear are either the content of spots or station slogans rendered meaningless (and annoying) by endless repetition. With the element of companionship stripped out, the only remaining attraction is the music — which is showcased as if it is generic audio wallpaper unworthy of even being identified (violating one of listeners’ most frequently cited gripes: stations which fail to ID the music). Such broadcasters, viewing each track as simply filler between the commercials, act as if every song they play is simply a clone of the one before and the one that follows — which sadly enough (thanks to ultra-narrowcasting), IS too often the case. (Talk about broadcast boredom!)
So how do listeners feel about faceless, personality-free radio which is clearly designed to NOT engage them — particularly when every quarter hour sounds exactly like every other quarter hour 24/7? They come to realize that if they tune out for an hour, a week, a month or a year THEY AREN’T GOING TO MISS A THING. Rather than being as essential to their being as their heartbeat, radio that doesn’t compel them to listen drifts in that tragic territory known as “Not Needed.”
First-rate radio DJs are both skilled entertainers and super salesmen. Through a blend of insight into the audience and the music, humor and knowing how to work their voices for maximum effect, they SELL not only the music but the audience on the idea that this is the radio station most in gear with the likes, views and interests of you the listener. Not having DJs is like stocking a store with merchandise but forgetting to hire anyone to sell it — with a friendly greeting, a genuine interest in filling the needs of each customer, building a rapport, showing them OTHER stuff they hadn’t thought of but might like to buy, closing the sale and then insuring the customer that the same great service they just enjoyed will be there for them every time they stop by. Again, note that the “sales” I am referring to is a lot more than simply what the station’s advertisers are offering. It is selling the STATION, its music and its overall personality — as expressed via the DJs’ comments, vocal tones and their individual personalities.