If a station is properly voice tracking their airshifts, I’d wager that very few listeners would know or even notice the difference – IF IT IS DONE RIGHT!
Sure there are obvious giveaways especially to “radio people”, but most listeners still either don’t realize or don’t care that it happens on a daily basis.
Back in the early 1990s when automation and satellite systems were newer and less refined, there were stations where the generic banter and music were delivered in real-time via satellite link, and the local automation system in each station would be triggered to drop in positioning or just the local station’s frequency and calls.
On some stations it sounded OK, but on others in was clearly obvious that the local liners had been recorded at a different place and time due to the difference in volume, voice pitch or cadence, quality, etc.
I still have friends outside the business tell me how much they like the music on one station or another, and they even had favourite jocks.
When I explained how many stations were receiving that same content via satellite (or via internet link now) and that the jock was thousands of miles away (in another capital city) they ask how they were referring to that particular station’s frequency and slogan if they weren’t actually there. I would explain, and suddenly the ‘theatre of the mind’ of radio is shattered for them. I know – I am evil.
The thing is though – if you are voice tracking your show, it should be almost indistinguishable from actually doing it live. Apart from talking about major events that have just happened, your show should feel like you are there, enjoying yourself in the studio doing what you do best.
All too often I have heard pre-recorded and voice tracked shows, or parts of shows that sound flat, bored, and often – different due to the recording software and playback of the cart compression, or because the jock has recorded that segment 3 times before they got the timing for it right.
My top tip = record yourself at the highest quality that you can, edit if you have to – but try not to edit at all. Keep your energy up, keep your time calls accurate, and focus on having fun and doing a ‘real live show’.
Don’t make the mistake I heard yesterday afternoon on a capital city radio station who was getting their drive show from across the country, the jocks on-air made reference to a major breaking story as it was happening ‘here in the city’, when it was in the Jocks city, not where it was being broadcast to on our side of the country – OH NO!
Nothing destroys the illusion more than a mistake like that.