Radio Dreams

Comment by Jen Seyderhelm

The night before my first solo shift as a news reader I had the most vivid dream.

My PD called me into his office and told me there were fundamental change to bulletins that started immediately. From now on, each news story had to be accompanied by a plasticine model depicting it, to be built by me as I read. Off I went to the news booth where I began reading about a house fire, while furiously creating a plasticine building. But, before I even had time to create the flames, my story was over. I stopped. Did I continue moulding or start on cat containment zones? Oh, the stress!

The night before my first solo shift as a talkback announcer I had the most horrible nightmare.

I dreamed I was in the studio and nothing was working. The computers had crashed, there was no lights, no screen images and no sound. All I had was a functioning CD player and a copy of the Lionel Richie single, Say You, Say Me. I put it on. By the time the final strains of, “Say it together, naturally” had finished, nothing had changed. So, I did what every desperate person does; I played Say You, Say Me AGAIN. About half way through the song I remembered. This was a TALK station. I could open the mic and say you, say me, say something! Here I was playing Lionel Richie on repeat! I was going to be in so much trouble………

Many times, I’ve awakened with a start after dreaming I’ve fallen asleep at the panel and the silence in my bedroom is actually dead air.

In real life I think that I cope with the pressure of radio fairly well. It is my subconscious that lets me down. Because of my outward relative calm several of my colleagues over the years have tried to find out what they need to do to hit my panic button.

One morning, just before my shift finished, my Music Director and General Manager came in to the studio after a talk break and, with very serious faces, told me that I was required in a meeting in the GM’s office with the two of them IMMEDIATELY once I finished on air.

Oh God, even as I write this, I still remember worrying what I had done! Was I going to be fired? I overanalysed my prior talk break and underprepared my next. By the time I took the long walk to the GMs door, it may as well have been the gallows.

They sat in front of me like the judge and executioner. I sat down in front of them, nearly in tears. “CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve passed your probation! We love you! You’re doing a great job!”

Bastards. It was like the evilest surprise party ever.

Far earlier in my career, on April Fools Day, so I should have known better, one of my tech colleagues snuck into the studio while I took a bathroom break and made it so that when I returned it appeared, we were off air. More fool him though. I pressed so many buttons trying to fix the situation that I REALLY put us off air and closed down the archaic computer too.

Afternoon Delight, by the Starland Vocal Band had also been totally ruined. It is the first song on our emergency tape at a station I worked at. I was responsible for panelling an automated program on one station (with the emergency tape) and we often had our other classic hits stations running at the same time. One day I was focussed on other work when Afternoon Delight started up. I got up with such haste I managed to run full tilt into a wall. Long story short, Afternoon Delight seemed to play WAY too frequently after that.

It’s little wonder then that my radio stresses manifest in dreams. But they’re not all bad. I, um, do naughty things in my sleep too. One morning I woke after doing unmentionable acts with one of my great radio mates. When he arrived at work that day, I blushed scarlet and couldn’t look him in the eye. After several hours of silence, he approached me to find out what he’d done wrong. I found I still couldn’t look at him, so I told him there was this dream, and I’d be fine tomorrow. I was. He’ll see this article and now know for sure what he’s always suspected. But, he’ll do well not to read into it too much as I’ve also made wonderful love with Mr Bean on the front bonnet of his mini.

I was working alongside Jodie who is a relative newbie to the industry the other day. She vividly described how much went wrong for her as she learned her role. I asked her if she had radio stress dreams. “Oh my God! So many! What? Don’t tell me you have them?”

Yep, and I’d love to hear yours too.

About the author

Jen Seyderhelm is a radio announcer, producer, news reader, lecturer, Rockwiz victor and podcaster.

Her podcast, 20/40, celebrates friendship and conversation between two women with a 20-year age gap. In her spare time, Jen does stand up comedy, is writing her first book, and posts music trivia around her vast collection of vinyl singles daily, online.