With the recent increase in time spent at home due to school closures and remote work due to the new coronavirus, demand for radio has increased. The number of “radiko” users nationwide, who can listen to various radio stations on their smartphones and PCs, has increased markedly since March 2020 and has remained at a high level since then, reaching a record high in May 2022.
In addition to “radiko,” there are also a variety of free services such as “podcasts” that allow users to view various audio and video programs on the Internet. Even the younger generation, who have never touched the radio itself, can easily use it, and it has become one of the media that they can feel familiar with.
Radio announcers usually interact with listeners only through their voices. They are the ones who are behind the scenes, but have you heard that they have been attracting a lot of attention in recent years? The Nippon Broadcasting System’s “Announcer Calendar,” which celebrated its 68th anniversary this year, has been sold out and ranked first in the calendar category at Sanseido Bookstore for six consecutive years. It has been the center of attention in the industry.
The calendar features interviews with all four announcers of Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. We took a closer look at the world of radio announcers in the midst of change.
The first is Ichika Shingyo, 29, who joined Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. in 2015. She is an assistant on “Koji Iida’s OK! Cozy up!”, a two-hour live broadcast on weekday mornings starting at 6:00 a.m. She is also a talented radio announcer who has been assigned to special election programs.
On August 10, he made headlines when he announced during a live broadcast that he had married a company employee three years his senior. Shinkyo revealed that they had been dating for about three years when they hit it off by talking about their favorite special effects, and that they had nurtured their love through their shared hobby of “special effects” at hero shows and pilgrimages to sacred places, etc. Their “special effects marriage” was greatly celebrated by the public.
From musician to announcer, the moment her dream changed
The appeal of radio is that it can be easily integrated into one’s daily life. Just like music, you can listen to it while doing housework, getting ready in the morning, or going to work. Since there is no visual information, it is easy to “listen while listening. I myself often listen while taking a bath or cleaning the house.
Announcer Shinkyo was born in Akita Prefecture. Influenced by her mother, she learned to play the electone when she was in the first grade of elementary school, and her dream at that time was to become a musician. From an early age, she showed her talent by winning gold medals in competitions. In high school, she began performing as a semi-professional unit. However, she had trouble balancing her studies with her electone and felt that “I am not ready to make a living from music,” so she gave up on applying to music schools. Then came an event that made her aware of the path to becoming an announcer.
I gave a presentation with a microphone at a presentation contest held at my high school, and my teacher saw it and said, ‘Maybe you are suited to be an announcer. I gave up on music at the time and lost sight of my goal to become an announcer. At the time, I had given up on music and had lost my goal. It was a passing remark from my teacher, but the timing was right, so I thought, ‘Well, let’s give it a try’ (laughs). I decided to become an announcer with a flat heart.
She moved to Tokyo when she entered Japan Women’s University and began attending an announcing school in the fall of her junior year. While studying the basics, she continued her job search, and in April 2015, she became an announcer at Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc.
About a month after joining Nippon Broadcasting System, I had the opportunity to do my first “solo live broadcast” in my life. It was on an information variety show called “Happy with You! an information variety program that airs weekday mornings at 8:00 a.m.
I remember it was a beautiful sunny day in May, and the sun was shining brightly.
The day was an added challenge for the already nervous newcomer.
The staff knew that I could play the electone, so they asked me to bring a keyboard to the set and play what I was feeling. During the performance, I was so nervous that my hands were shaking and I wasn’t sure if I was good or bad.
I remember crying with relief after we managed to finish the broadcast without any accidents. It is a playful thing that Nippon Broadcasting System allows newcomers to do this kind of thing, but at the time I thought, “What the hell did they make me do that for? I thought at the time.
Covering the Koshien Stadium utilizing the mobility that only radio can offer
I have been with the company for eight years now. He has worked at numerous sites and accumulated many accomplishments, but there is one episode in particular that stands out in his memory. It was reporting on the summer Koshien finals in 2018, which marked the 100th anniversary of the event.
This was the time when Kanasoku Agricultural High School from his hometown of Akita Prefecture made it to the finals, creating a social phenomenon known as “Kinnou Fever. Of course, Shinkyo felt strongly about this and volunteered to go there.
I made two one-day trips to Koshien that summer, the first on a weekend and the second on the day of the final game,” he said. The day the final game was played was a weekday. Since I was already on live TV at that time, I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and finished the two-hour broadcast at 6:00 a.m. It was 8:00 a.m. I then headed to Tokyo Station and jumped on the Shinkansen. I also had to report on the finals, so I went alone with my equipment.
I was the only one to cover the event and deliver the voices from the field to the studio and listeners. This is the kind of mobility that only radio can provide.
Announcer Shinkyuki watched with excitement as the local Akita Prefecture baseball players battled it out. However, the game was won 13-2 by the powerful Osaka Toin High School.
At the entrance to the Koshien Stadium, he said, “Osaka Toin’s wall is so thick…! ‘ and I was crying so hard while reporting. I think the atmosphere in the studio was indescribable because I was crying so much (laughs). (Laughs.) I was really crazy about the tournament, so I still root for the Koshien members from that year.
The day after I reported from Koshien, the live broadcast started at 6:00 a.m., so I went back to Tokyo at night and stayed in the company’s dorm room to prepare for the next morning. I asked to be allowed to go. But looking back on it now, it was a very reckless thing to do.
Looking back happily on his memories of on-the-spot reporting, Shinkyo analyzes himself as “the type who gets easily carried away. He is passionate about what he is passionate about, and this passion is also demonstrated in his work.
When the main announcer of Cozy Up (“Koji Iida’s OK! Cozy up!”) takes a leave of absence, I am asked to take over as the personality of the show. Just the other day, I had the opportunity to fill in for him. I used to be very busy with the news that the director gave me, but this was the first time I told him what I thought of the news.
I used to think that it was a little bit presumptuous of me to share my thoughts, but it was a great experience for me to be able to work with the staff, including myself, to think about the news and the angle in which we would cover it. At that time, there was a news story about a debate on the minimum wage. From a worker’s point of view, I would like to see it raised, but I wondered how it would look from an objective point of view. I wondered. So we set aside time in the program for Yoichi Takahashi, a quantitative policy scholar, to explain the issue. We then received comments from listeners from all walks of life.
The program staff and performers are able to communicate closely because of the small size of the program, and listeners provide their opinions in real time. Through the connections that can only be made through a radio program, Anna Shingyo is gaining experience. What kind of prospects does she have for the future?
There are many ways to approach being an announcer. I wish I could be an interviewer who takes the time to draw out stories from professionals in their field. …… I hope I can be a conduit between listeners and various information.
As she makes a new start in her personal life, we hope to see more of her in the future.
Ichika was born in Tokyo on November 9, 1992 and grew up in Akita Prefecture.
After graduating from Japan Women’s University, Faculty of Human Sociology, Department of Contemporary Society, she became an announcer at Nippon Broadcasting System in April 2015.
She currently works as an assistant for “Koji Iida’s OK! Cozy up!”, a live broadcast on weekday mornings from 6:00 am.
She is known for her love of special effects and has appeared in special effects programs on other stations, and was even cast twice as an announcer in “Kikai Sentai ZENKAIJAR” (’21-’22, TV Asahi).
Official blog “Ichika Shinkyo’s Doremifa Blog
Photographed by： Katsuhiko Hanamura Stylist： Akane Matsushima Hair & Make-up： Shiho Kato