Tuesday, 10 March 2009

#95 – Listen to the local radio

Or getting a sense of the people.

Local radio stations
In a similar vein to Tip #94 (Pick up local newspapers), listening to local radio stations whilst abroad can give an excellent insight into a destination. Many of the reasons are similar – you get to find out about news angles and get a sense of attitudes and priorities.

Sense of the people
But radio is even better for getting a sense of the people – you can gauge what sort of music gets played (ie. Is it reggae, calypso or generic 80s dirge?). You can also get a sense of what sort of people are allowed on the radio – ie. Personality DJs or formal, starched collar, Government-approved announcers?

Phone-in programmes
And sometimes you can strike absolute gold by stumbling across a phone-in programme, where members of the public call in to rant and rave about the issues of the day. They may not be coherent, and they may be speaking utter nonsense, but there are few better ways of getting a sense of local character and opinion. Especially when the DJ starts arguing...


wilscoop said...

Shrewd. I've never met a writer with business skills before. How does that happen? Presumably not through a creative writing course. Would be intrigued to know more background -- in a post about training perhaps.

David said...

Not much of a background. I did a degree in journalism (which is to being a successful freelancing what buying a bicycle is to becoming a successful Formula One driver).

In Australia I edited a small magazine, and due to the size, my duties crossed over to the marketing and financial side of things occasionally.

But most of the time it's not about training - it's about common sense.

As for creative writing course, anyone who needs a course to realise what is good and bad writing probably isn't going to be that good a writer.