Chapter 11 – Radio Day (3)

7:59 PM

From the other side of the glass of the radio booth, Producer Ahn’s finger went up.

“Sunsaengnim, There’s one minute left.”

When he heard this, Chulhwan Bae calmly organized the manuscript and put it in front of him. Then he put on the sparkling headphones that were around his neck. The manuscript had the starting remarks that would be used shortly. And it had the title of the segment ‘Part I: Let’s Meet on Friday’ at the top of the page.

Five, four, three, two… Producer Ahn sent the cue sign.

Energetic music flowed out for a few seconds. Chulhwan lowered the volume and brought his mouth to the mic.

“There was a person who was feeling self-conscious about not having a sense of humor. He studied and mastered the rules of humor. He said ‘Of course, a twist is the key even in the world of humor. And there are patterns in making people laugh.’ He then gathered some humorless people, all stick-in-the-mud types. And he cheerfully presented the humor that he had learned so far. ‘Now, I’ll give you an example.’”

As the music played again, Chulhwan rhymically continued with the opening remarks.

“‘A guy, who recently got married, made a difficult confession. He didn’t know his world view would change this much just because of a mere marriage.’ ‘So what changed?’ ‘Before being married, I  liked all the women in the world, but now…haaa.’ The newlywed man gave a deep sigh, as if the world was about to end, and said. ‘There’s one less woman that I like’”

Minho gave a laugh but Jin Q was busy preparing his lines.

“I imagine these stick-in-the-mud people giving blank stares. ‘Eh, what? What’s so funny? Why do I have to laugh?’”

Chulhwan waited a moment to breathe and spoke.

“Laughter finds itself in people who are ready to laugh. You must unlock the doors to your heart in order to laugh to your heart’s content. Music Journey, Part I: Let’s Meet on Friday. Today we have two very handsome young men to unlock the doors to your hearts. Let’s listen to the first song.”

Chulhwan finished his remarks in a well-mannered voice. Then following the producer’s signals, he put the music CD in himself and controlled the audio volume.

[The song is 3 minutes 35 seconds long.]

The text showed on the monitor.

Minho was watching the opening that progressed with lightning speed. Then he looked at the sparkling headphones Chulhwan was wearing.

“Um, Sunsaengnim.”


“Are those headphones something you cherish?”

Chulhwan beamed a smile and spoke.

“It’s a memory from my youth. They look funny, huh?”

“They’re rather familiar to me. I sat in the tournament seat with ones that look the same as these when I first started the game league.”

“No way.”

“It’s true.”

Minho was about to ask if he could try them on since the mood was good. But Jin Q, who had eager eyes like a hawk hunting, didn’t allow that pleasant mood between them.

“Sunbaenim, I heard that you graduated from Korea Aerospace University?”

“I did. I debuted after playing with the university band there.”

Minho lost his natural timing because Jin Q readily butted in. Minho shook his head and searched for the next chance. It was because there were less than 30 seconds left on the timer on the monitor.

Producer Ahn immediately gave the cue sign. Chulhwan raised the volume of the audio.

“Just as said in the preview, we are here with two smart TV personalities. One of them is a rapper famous for writing criticizing lyrics that hit the mark. Here, please introduce yourself.”

“Hello. Recently I ranked number one in the music charts with ‘Like it or Hate it.’  I’m rapper Jin Q. It’s a honor to appear in this show that has so much history. I’m very excited to be in front of an esteemed sunbaenim.”

“You’re very well-mannered. You’re not nervous but put on a nervous act. You have a good sensibility.”

“Thank you, Sunbaenim!”

Jin Q was making a pretentious expression that was completely different from before when he was showing his fighting spirit. Minho was about to snort with laughter but held it in.

“The other person is the one who recently won no less than 500 million Won on a quiz show in another broadcasting station. Please introduce yourself.”

Minho held the pocket watch underneath the table. Then he looked the listeners’ comments on the monitor one minute in the future.

  • If he’s a professional gamer, isn’t it his job to just play games? He must be comfortable. Maybe a gamer couch potato?

He found an adverse comment among the more accepting reactions and kept it in mind. Then he recalled one of the lines from the script he had memorized with Manager Gong.

“I’m a professional gamer, Minho Kang. There are probably a lot of people who are unfamiliar with this profession. There’s more effort needed to live off of just playing games than what people think. It requires honed reflexes and heightened sensory perception, to the point that you’re regarded as an old gamer once you pass the age of 23. Once you start practicing 16 hours a day, it’s difficult to bear unless you truly love this profession.”

Chulhwan looked at Minho and asked.

“16 hour practice you say. I know you’re 24 years old. Then are you treated as an old gamer?”

“Yes, but I am continuing my life as a gamer without a problem after returning from the army.”

Responses began to pop up on the monitor. Minho checked that the adverse comments had disappeared and nodded to himself. He was able to get results from only doing this much.

Chulhwan read one of the comments.

“Mr. 3453 says ‘I saw you win a tournament last week. Old gamer fighting!’”

Minho spoke into the microphone right away.

“Thank you Mr. 3453.”

Jin Q couldn’t hide his disappointment that the monitor was filled with comments about the professional gamer. Minho watched as Jin Q’s eyes filled with animosity. Then from the other side of the glass, Writer Shim sent a signal to go to the next sequence.

Chulhwan brought his mouth to the mic.

“Our writer wrote a fun piece. It’s called ‘How to be a smart person.’”

Chulhwan spoke after looking at the two people for some time.

“Everyone knows that Minho, who won the quiz show, is well informed. But as for the other young man, no one knows Jin Q had a perfect score on his college entrance exam.”

Minho understood that this was the official start. Half of the first hour would be composed of five minutes of interview, ten minutes of consultation about study methods and related topics, ten minutes of music quiz, and five minutes of closing.

‘The rest of Part I is filled with commercials and selected music to fill up one hour.’

Here, the study methods pertained to Jin Q while the music quiz pertained to Minho.

“We’ll return after the commercials. During that time, please send us whatever concerns you have about studying by using our notice board or sending a text message.”

Chulhwan lowered the volume of his mic, then took off the headphones and looked at them this way and that.  He hit them a few times.

“Maybe it’s too old? It keeps going dead.”

Chulhwan put down the sparkling headphones as if nothing could be done and put on the ones the studio had provided.

Minho fixed his eyes on the sparkling headphones sitting on top of the desk. They shone even more because of the mirror tiles. And they kept tempting him to put them on.

“Um…… Sunsaengnim.”

Minho asked directly because he felt rushed due to timer on the monitor counting down three minutes.

“Can I try on those headphones?”


Minho’s heart thumped, but Chulhwan casually handed over the headphones.

“Sure, try them on.”


Minho was rather surprised because Chulhwan had handed him the headphones more willingly than he had expected. Chulhwan chuckled when he saw Minho’s surprised look. Jin Q murmured ‘act so fake’ but Minho didn’t mind him. His attention was completely on the head set.

Finally, he had the sparkling headphones in his hands. He put them on with a trembling heart. The faint glow disappeared and Minho paused.


8:20 PM

[I’ve been preparing for several years to take the exam to become a police officer. I wanted to be a police officer since I was young and I couldn’t give up on that dream. I have an active personality so I like sports and being active outside. But the written test is holding me back.

The passion that I started with is turning into impatience because I’m staying inside just studying. I’m becoming timid and my health is going down the drain. I’m also getting old. I’m already 29.

I came to depend on TV because I’m getting stressed. I started watching  dramas and game shows one by one. I started to wake up late, became lazy and the time I spent studying decreased. And I hate myself for it.

It’s not easy to turn down all the worldly interests and make an effort. I don’t plan to give up no matter what you say. Please help me since you’re both smart.]

“He’s stressed because of studying. Studying, it’s not easy.”

As soon as he heard the first story, Jin Q’s expression relaxed as if he had become a psychologist. On the other hand, Minho sat there blankly with the headphones on. He looked like he didn’t have the consciousness to give consultation.

“I only looked at the standardized book and the sample questions. You get tired rather if you look at too many things. The written test is holding you back because you can’t concentrate when you study. There’s a lot of things to look at, such as multiple choice questions, practice tests, and internet lessons. But there’s only one thing that’s important when it comes to studying.”

Jin Q proudly finished his sentence.

“Your frustrations will decrease if you study efficiently. And eventually your stress will decrease.”

Chulhwan briefly made a disapproving expression at Jin Q’s words, but quickly composed his face and brought his mouth to the mic.

“That was Jin Q’s study method.”

Chulhwan paused briefly and looked at Minho.

“Is there anything you want to add, Mr. Minho Kang?”

“Ah, as for me…”

Minho met Chulhwan’s eyes. He fidgeted with the headphones and set his eyes at the surroundings. He was surprised because he felt as if he were sitting in this seat as a DJ who had been working for 20 years.

Familiar seat. Familiar mic. Familiar story.

There was a vast difference in perspective even though he was in the same seat. Minho recalled the story he just heard and spoke in an even tone of voice.

“Shouldn’t we ask this person a different question before talking about methods of studying?”

“You have a different thought?”

Writer Shim and Producer Ahn watched from outside with fascinated expressions as Chulhwan asked the question. Jin Q snorted. He was sneering as if saying ‘How can a mere high school graduate discuss study methods?’

“Do you truly want to become a police officer? I think you should confirm that first.”

“Hey. He said it’s the profession he’s been dreaming of since he was a kid.”

Jin Q made a ‘Don’t be ridiculous’ expression.

Minho softly laughed. Before, he had thought Jin Q was someone just selfish and uptight. But now Jin Q was just a rookie who was desperately trying to gain even a little popularity. It was just cute.

“Jin Q, what you said was correct. That is why I’m saying that he should think about it.”

Minho spoke leisurely.

“You said you hated yourself for relieving stress by watching TV, right? I’m curious if you’re obsessed with studying because of the way people look at you.”

Chulhwan nodded his head in agreement. Minho continued to speak as he fidgeted with the headphones.

“You said that you don’t plan to give up no matter what we say. I think it’s wrong to ask for help if you think that way. You are forcefully resisting even though in the corner of your heart you’ve already acknowledged it to a certain point. Is it bad to watch TV? There’s no reason to feel guilty for enjoying something you like.” 

This was the discernment of the DJ who had read many stories. Minho felt the vague outline of the way the man in the story was thinking being drawn in his head.

“I think you should change the premise of your concern. Is there someone expecting me to become a police officer? Will I be in great trouble if I don’t become a police officer?”

Writer Shim immediately uploaded the question the storyteller sent via text message on the monitor.

Chulhwan read that question.

“You make me wonder about my basic concern. I think I was too hard on myself for not trying more. I’ve opened my eyes thanks to you, Mr. Minho Kang.”

Minho spoke on the mic.

“If you’ve decided that you’ll definitely become a police officer, then try using Jin Q’s study methods.”

Jin Q became speechless because of Minho, who was laid back enough to take care of his rival.

[The reactions are good. And the text message count reached 10,000!]

Chulhwan got the signal from Producer Ahn and started the wrap up remarks.

“It’s been a while since our notice board for Music Journey has been this crowded. We’ll take more stories after the commercials.”


Author’s note:

The opening remarks and the consultation section are from an actual radio show as a reference.

  • Chulsoo Bae’s Music Camp/ A different clinic

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5 thoughts on “Chapter 11 – Radio Day (3)”

      1. Very cool, totally see the author’s later work “Chemistry” being reflected here.
        Got “Top Management” vibes too, mainly to all the recognizable korean programs =)

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