3,2,1 ON AIR

There is one thing that everyone does when working, walking, traveling from one place to another but especially when stuck in traffic, turn on the radio…

Until a few years ago radio was a device that only involved audio senses for communication however now it has become a device that addresses both the audio and visual senses. The time when we could recognize radio programmers upon hearing their voices is history thanks to developing technology. The widespread usage of the Internet and the infiltration of social media in all parts of our lives adding to the developing technological options, radio and radio programs that were expected to fade in time have taken the wind beneath their wings, enjoying the ride making use of all facilities enabled through technology. So we decided to have a fun chat with Cem Arslan who has been in the profession for 24 years, to ask our questions and feed our curiosity about traditional radio programming and what it has evolved into.

Cem Arslan who started his career in the media in 1992 on ATV television shared his story of becoming a radioman. “I started radio programing in 1994. Back then private radios were very new and had no set system just yet. The million dollars sponsorship and commercial deals and the brutal rating wars had not begun yet. People I knew were respected, said that my conversation was fun and my voice was suitable to become a radio programmer. For a while I tried to decide whether I’d like to do this  or not and I finally decided to give it a try, at the end of my first broadcast I realized that this really was the profession I was supposed to have.” Radioman Cem Arslan who does the “Soda Tree” at 07:00-09:00 and “Gazor” at 18:00-20:00 on Best FM, informs that spending 4 hours on air is not something one can do with just prep-before broadcast but adds that he takes notes about topics and things 365 days a year 24 hours a day, as that’s his preparation. “I prepare for the program the way people understand. I’m not talking about commercials and spot work, they have certain technical infrastructure, but I do not have a systematic way of preparing what I’ll say in the program. As I said I’m on air 24/365 and there is always some kind of information, opinion, comment in my head related to the program, but I cannot say that I take notes as to when to use the information, quote or comment. They are used depending on the listener comments or the way the program evolves. As a matter of fact radio programing is a profession which you can never prepare for but have to spend all your time preparing for it. Some of the factors that define the way the program will go are the listeners, trend topics and the way topics follow into others. There are times when we begin with gloves and complete with cloves. This is what people enjoy, one of the most important elements of our profession is to start a topic and then open different windows for the topics and opinions, surely we need to have control while doing so. The necessary skill for this profession is: to start a topic, talk about it without boring the listeners and once you have said all that is to say about it bring all back to square one. Of course one important thing about the things said on the topic is that examples related need to be real and things listeners can relate to in their private and everyday life.”

When it’s time for the program we head towards the studio together, as we expect to meet the studio management team Cem Arslan begins Gazor. The series which has Fatih Cagdas as Editor is a one man show by Cem Arslan who informs: “We do have an editor to manage and handle the program with his valuable contribution but everything else is my job. If you think of all my successful colleagues you will see that most are those who use all technical equipment in the studio themselves. Surely they do get help at times, however they are the ones who decide and operate the sound effects, song intros and back-ground music. The self-operation by the radioman provides better audio variety. You need to be able to think and apply the things you want broadcasted within seconds. The programmer should press the needed button and have it all under-his fingers when needed. In broadcasting if you are not involved in a stagnant, single topic program the complication of the  environment is related to the number of people involved. To be clearer, for programs that are related to specific topics it is possible to work with a studio management team, but for my program and others like mine it is not so possible.”

It has been said that as technological development which enables reaching sources on the media at will, television and radio would be left on the shelf. However radio and radio programing have taken technological advancement behind their wings and continue as they continue to improve broadcasts. With the help of the “live broadcasting” of social media we can now see where the program is made from and what the radioman looks like other than just hearing his voice. With the applications developed we can now have access to radio programs not just from our radios but also from our PCs laptops, tablets and mobile phones and we are not limited to land transmission, we can listen to them where-ever we are. “As we now broadcast live our listeners can see the environment the program is made and the mechanism to deliver the program. I have been broadcasting for 24 years, before this we had CD, Winamp, Flash Memory and now phones have unbelievable qualities and everyone was expecting to see the end of radios. But radio has gained strength and transferred land transmission to the Internet making use of technology. The internal ethics of radio programing continues as always traditional radio programs are valued and respected however there is continuous development in technology. Radio broadcasting which was said to vanish due to technology is in fact getting stronger as it is reaching newer listeners and masses. If we compare it to television we can say that radio is the medium that has integrated technology the best way possible, because content improves along with its technology. Before we needed high technological equipment to play an effect in between songs but now we can have the song playing in the back ground as a group of people are talking on it, we can play the side and the main song together, we have a studio where we can have the commercials and other records on air. This provides audio richness, which in return increases listeners’ interest and help radio programing stay in the game” said Arslan. Cem Arslan, said that he liked the risky side of the radio programing profession, “In my opinion the higher the risk of a work the more beautiful it is. Risk is something that increases adrenalin and melatonin hormones which will keep you alert. As the Risk reduces the work produced is monotonous and in my opinion it is not preferred much.” As a matter of fact as we leave the studio we do feel energetic despite the late hour and head towards home as we listen to the radio.

By: Dilara Özdeş / Photography: Yağız Karahan

*This article was  published in the  September – October issue of Marmara Life. 

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