My 'day in the life' essay for my expository writing class.
| “Good morning, it’s 5:47 and this is Stafford D, getting ready to sail off on the Fun Barge!” Thus begins the on-air day of Stafford D. In the four hours after this greeting, Stafford will play many ‘happy’ country songs, read a multitude of fun facts, break for the news and sports, and entertain a wide variety of people who all tune in everyday to listen to the Fun Barge on 93.1 FM, The River. Stafford D. puts on a radio show that is interesting, informative, and gives one a reason to wake up in the morning. It is a show that one looks forward to beginning and may be sad to hear come to an end.
“If you’re not tired after a four hour show, you’re not doing it right.” Stafford seems to be highly motivated and extremely good at his job. He is very mellow and can put everyone at ease. If asked what he likes most about his job, it’s that its just playing around; “That’s all it is, is play.” At one point, he seems to lose his show prep, but finds it. Somehow, he wasn’t all that worried about it, probably due to his years of experience. The studio is a small room with a U-shaped desk. On the inner part of the desk is the main computer, Stafford’s microphone, and a multimedia player. On the outside is a computer which Stafford can set up to show everything he’s doing and the others who come in during the show can use for their purposes. There are two more mikes and a window pointing to the lobby as well as another window pointing to another, smaller studio. There is a tall, wide bookcase in the corner with hundreds of cds and two squeaky, rubber rats, that are the River Rats. On the wall opposite the bookcase there is a bulletin board covered in memos, announcements, and a calendar. On the calendar, Stafford chooses the day for the birthday game. The birthday game is when Stafford picks a day and if a listener’s birthday is that date, no matter what month, they can call in and win a prize, which is usually a rose in a bud vase from Flowers of Joy, which is located in Lexington, NE. Usually, Stafford designates a certain caller for the winner to be. Not only does the winner have to have a birthday on that date, but has to be caller number three or whatever strikes Stafford’s fancy that day. Stafford puts lots of energy into his show, chattering away on whatever he has found on the internet. Considering that it’s only a four hour show, he puts a lot into it.
“Standby....” As far as readers know, Stafford walks into the studio minutes before his show starts, but in all actuality, Stafford is up at 4 am and arrives at the studio at 5:00 am. Stafford is the captain of the Fun Barge on 93.1 FM ‘The River.’ He is also the program director of both the AM and FM sides of the station. Adam of the ‘Drive at Five’ is his assistant director. Stafford is only on the air from about 5:45 am to 9:45 am or so, but he still puts in a full shift. After he is off the air he attends meetings and works to make sure the station is running smoothly and is appealing to the listeners. At about 5:30 am he begins his show prep, which involves checking his Facebook page for birthdays and comments from friends. He also surfs the ABC Network to look for famous birthdays. He checks sites like Ha Life and the Comedy Calendar for tidbits of news or fun facts that may be amusing. He quickly looks through the web sites, cutting and pasting onto a program that was created by his son so that all of his information is in one place and he doesn’t have to waste time looking for it. In fact, he seems to be the master of point and click. He can also paste sound effects he may use so that when he gets to that point, all he has to do is push F3 and the sound effect will play. He cuts and pastes here and there, skipping over things that aren’t well known to his target audience of adults, and is always on the lookout for something funnier or more interesting. He points out, “If it’s not funny or important, don’t use it.” On the anniversary of the birthday of Thomas Edison, there were many amusing tidbits all over the place about his most well-known invention, the lightbulb. Stafford started out with a crack about Edison’s saying that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” By the time show prep was finished, the line about Edison read, ‘Thomas Edison was born on this day in 1847. Edison invented the electric light, the phonograph, and 1,200 other things. He once said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Which makes you wonder why he didn't invent deodorant.’
Stafford attended the Brown Institute of Broadcasting in Minnesota in 1983. He has been working in broadcasting for 26 years, on and off. He was originally from Kearney, NE, but moved around a little but moved back to Johnson Lake in 1998 and has been with 93.1 FM ever since. He started the Fun Barge about 6 years ago, before the station was country. Stafford’s son created Radio Web services, which is used by 93.1 FM. The program makes it very easy to put together a smooth program which is absolutely essential to making the radio station as successful as it is. There are very strict laws set up by the FCC, or Federal Communications Commission. The radio station’s doors close at 5 pm with no exceptions. If the FCC’s laws are broken, the offender could actually go to federal prison. Other than following laws, there are many other things that contribute to a good radio program. Stafford advises not to eat peanuts or popcorn while on the air, as this could lead to a choking or coughing fit. He checks to make sure all of the ads that are lined up to play are actually ready to go. If a commercial is missing and it had been someone’s fault, they would have had to fix it. He makes sure that his ‘people’ are protected and don’t get into trouble if they don’t have to. Because Fox News is prerecorded and played at a certain time, Stafford has to be sure to keep an eye on the time so he doesn’t talk or play music over the news.
“Coffeecoffeecoffeeneedmore(high pitched)coffeecoffee!!!!!” As Stafford reads material on the internet, or checks to see what the news will be for the day, he highlights words and phrases as if that’s how he keeps focused. It wouldn’t be surprising if he needed help focusing as his drink of choice in the morning is very strong, very black coffee. Another blurb that Stafford finds interesting and amusing is about Descartes. ‘The famous thinker and philosopher Rene Descartes died on this day in 1650. Other philosophers accused Descartes of illogical reasoning. They said he put Descartes before the horse.’ He points out that Descartes penned the famous line, ‘I think, therefore, I am.’ Or as Stafford puts it, “I think, therefore, I are.”
Although Stafford doesn’t know the exact numbers, he knows that, at any given time, there are literally thousands of listeners tuned in to listen to 93.1 AM or KRVN. Fox News plays on a regular business to keep listeners updated, and another personality, Frank, comes on to discuss more locally important news. KRVN prerecords agricultural market news and stock prices. Jayson, of sports, comes in to do the sports, Pam comes in to do some more news, and Adam pops in and out to argue good-naturedly with Stafford about whose ads are more valuable. Adam does the afternoon show and the Drive at Five, a request hour. Cup o’Joe comes in towards the end of the show to chat and tell an amusing anecdote about Stafford.
“Play. That’s all it is, is just play.” Of course, as program director, Stafford has to do much more than just have fun with his program. He has to worry about how the station sounds overall, if the (his) people are screwing up, and he has to get along with his boss. He seems to keep a very open mind. If he and his boss disagree about something, Stafford is very quick to make sure he looks at the issue from more than just his side so that he doesn’t interfere with the good quality that 93.1 AM has become known for.
After Stafford finishes his shift at the radio station, he goes home and works another two to four hours on an office computer and emails it in. If he goes out with his “beautiful, effervescent” wife, Jeanie, it’s usually at about four pm and he gets back home around 7. Then, it’s off to bed for Stafford, to be ready for the Fun Barge the next morning.
“Hey, Jayson!” Stafford loves his radio show, and the radio loves Stafford. He’ll comment on a 2-mile wind, “Don’t write home to Aunt Faye about it”, ask Jayson something about his material for the show, and argue whether dogs are supposed to wear human sweaters and if a white mocha is really coffee. But if listeners remember one thing, it’s “I’m Stafford D. and you’re not.”