One of my favourites is a really old one that I first heard over thirty years ago:
“I’ve got a friend who’s a newsreader on a medium wave radio station. When we go for a drive he keeps fading out under bridges.”
…which probably doesn’t work too well in these days of DAB, FM and online – but never mind.
However, if you want an even older one (courtesy of a staff page at the Univesity of Utrecht) you could try:
Two women meet and one of them says, “Bonjour”. To which the other one replies, “What’s that?” The first woman explains that she’s speaking French: “I discovered that when I tune to Hilversum-1, and then turn the tuning knob a bit to the right, I hear a French station and I took this up from listening it.”
A few weeks later the women meet again, and again the first one says “Bonjour”. This time her friend replies: “Krgg, krgg, krgg, krgg…”
Then, from 1944 there’s the newspaper columnist J.B. Morton (“Beachcomber” of the Daily Express), in a collected volume of his pieces called ‘Captain Foulenough & Company’ (London, 1944, p. 65), showing his surreal wit to good effect:
A reply of Mr. Churchill in the House to a particular question might be given a wider application, as an answer to the people who waste their time in whining and grizzling about the boredom of radio. Mr. Churchill was asked for “an assurance that we shall not have to listen to the Italian National Anthem on the Nine-o’clock News”, and he replied, “There is no obligation to listen to the Nine-o’ clock News.” Many people seem to forget that, at present, listening to the B.B.C. is not compulsory. Good-day to those of you who have faces like the backs of cabs.
Or how about the one which really made me laugh out so loud that I had to put the book in question down?
If you’re doing an OB (outside broadcast) you’ll have a desk-driver back in the studio who operates your mic fader and the rest of the desk for you. Garrison Keillor, in his novel Radio Romance (1991, p.230), mentions one of the fictional radio station’s engineers – who has the job of operating the mixing desk for the presenters:
“His real name is Mitch but he was always a little late with the microphone, so we called him Itch – a joke he never got by the way.”
What’s your favourite radio joke? If it’s clean I’ll post it here and give you a name check. Let me know via the ‘comment’ button below.