PERFORManteau: The Construction of the On-air Identities of Disc Jockeys of Selected Mass-oriented and Manila-based FM Radio Stations
Being the most accessible of all media platforms in the Philippines, radio is still very much a part of our daily lives, sharing our experiences and instilling in us a collective memory and identity. Listening to radio, especially to stations on the FM band is not limited to listening to songs, but more importantly, it involves listening to the disc jockeys (DJs) who provide us with entertainment and education. These DJs often project identities on-air that may be different from their true identities, and this can be seen primarily in their constructed DJ names. Rhyming words or puns are usually employed by DJs when they present themselves over the airwaves. This play of words usually reflects or represents certain groups of people in society, especially those in the working or lower classes. Aside from using groups of people as basis for their on-air names, DJs also incorporate Filipino values or characteristics in their constructed identities.
This study titled PERFORManteau: The Construction of the On-air Identities of Disc Jockeys of Selected Mass-oriented and Manila-based FM Radio Stations aimed to determine how identities of DJs are constructed, how these identities are reflected in their programs, and what role do the listening audience play in the construction of these identities. Applying Bourdieu’s concept of taste, a large part of the population listens to these mass-oriented radio stations and find a connection with the DJs. With the audience constantly looking for something they can relate to in the overall performance that a DJ presents on-air, this connection demonstrates the application of the symbolic convergence theory by Ernest Bormann, particularly the construction of fantasy themes, which are reflected in the very programs and identities of the DJs. These may or may not be reacted upon by the audience. Since the radio stations involved in this study employed the strategy being studied, the theory of the culture industry by Adorno and Horkheimer is also incorporated; these radio stations use a method that provides a formula in the radio industry, aiming to establish brand recall and generate more profit by targeting a big portion of the listening audience.
Six DJs from three mass-oriented FM radio stations were interviewed for this study, their programs monitored and analyzed to see how their on-air identities are presented and reflected in the content. The posts of the DJs and fans on their Facebook pages were also documented to see what feedback the audience gives to these DJs.
It was determined in this study that the on-air identities of DJs are still based on their real ones, and that these identities are reflected in their programs through their spiels, language, anecdotes, and other creative performances. While these DJs target a certain group of people or attempt to represent Filipino characteristics and values, they still perpetuate a divide between themselves and the listening audience, with feedback only minimally answered or considered.
Pascual, J. T. (2013). PERFORManteau: The Construction of the On-air Identities of Disc Jockeys of Selected Mass-oriented and Manila-based FM Radio Stations. Unpublished undergraduate thesis, University of the Philippines, College of Mass Communication.
Keywords: identity, fantasy themes, mass-oriented, culture industry, taste
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