My car radio can only pick up two FM stations. The talkback station Newstalk ZB and the urban pop of Mai FM. I listen to Mai FM. The music’s ok but I still can’t stand Ja Rule. He really needs to give up the pop-rap thing and make bad films where he pours malt liquor on his dead homies’ graves.
But anyway, Mai has its own culture. A sort of South Pacific wannabe gangsta thing. It’s fun and there’s a real sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment. And unlike other radio stations, Mai FM’s DJs don’t annoy me or make me yell “shut up and play some music!”.
After listening to Mai for the last six months, I have learned the following things:
In America there’s hundreds of area codes. When Ludacris and Nate Dogg perform “Area Codes” and brag about how they got “hoes in different area codes”, it’s fairly impressive (they must do a lot of gardening). But in New Zealand there are five regional area codes. So having five hoes isn’t really all that impressive.
So if someone rings up Mai FM and wants to give a shout-out to their area code, shouting out to the oh-nine would include the north of the North Island, from Auckland upwards. And that’s a lot of people to be shouting out to. I think there may be a quota on the limit of people who may be shouted out.
To get around this major problem, instead shouting out to the area code, instead the first three numbers of a person’s phone number are considered to be their “area code”. For example, if I lived in Otara I may wish to give a shout-out to all my crew in the two-seven-four. If I lived in Kelston I would be representin’ the eight-one-eight, which would be extra cool because that’s the same as one of the Los Angeles area codes.
As it is, if I were to give I shout-out based on my phone number I’d be doing it to the six-three-oh, which would be a waste of time because most of my massive are in the oh-two-one (that’s the Vodafone mobile area code, y’all).
An important part of the Mai FM listening experience is the interactive audience participation activity known as the shout-out. This is not unlike when I used to ring up Kiwi FM and dedicate songs “to Catherine P from Matthew K”. Only, you know, they’re not called dedications, they’re shout-outs and therefore are hip and urban.
I think they have an answer phone type of set up where you can ring up and leave your shout-out. Then someone goes through and picks out the ones that aren’t obscene and they get played on air. It’s very exciting to hear one of the DJs say that the shout-outs are “being processed”.
A typical shout-out will go a bit like this:
“Um, I just want to give a shout-out to Tahli and Ana and Pete and Darius and Kelly and Sali and all of the notorious Mt Roskill Intermediate southside crew. Keepin’ it real.”
From listening to the shout-outs it appears that most 11- and 12-year-olds are ruthless criminal gangsta villains, flakin’ and perpetratin’. Yeah, that’s what I remember intermediate school being like.
If you ever ring up for a competition, near the end of the call the DJ will probably ask you what you are representing. The expected answer does not include any of the following:
- That you are representing Mt Roskill Intermediate in the interschools athletic sports tournament.
- That you are representing all that wrong with modern society.
- That you are representing yourself as you believe the court-appointed defence lawyer is incompetent.
Instead you are supposed to say that you represent one of the following:
- Your “area code”, i.e. the first three digits of your phone number.
- Your side. This will usually be southside or westside. Occasionally it will be eastside, but no one ever says northside. I’m not sure what happens if you live in the inner city suburbs. Centralside just doesn’t sound right.
- Your suburb. But only if it’s a cool, urban suburb. Like, don’t say Ponsonby, say Grey Lynn. Don’t say Botany Downs, stretch over a few kilometres and say East Tamaki.
So if I ever rang up to go in the draw for some Dickies pants, and the DJ asked me what I was representing, I could say:
- The six-three-oh
- South central AK (I don’t have a side but is in south central Auckland)
- Mangere (yeah, I don’t live there, but it sounds cooler than Mt Eden).
Most competition draws have some sort of skill component. This is usually a trivia question, but sometimes the winner will be required to sing a bit of an Ashanti song. I recommend that you familiarise yourself with the opening lines of “Foolish” and work on your best sweet soul seductress voice.