Chapter 14: A late-night Segment has Actually Turned Popular!
“Those are the top three for ratings.” Zhao Guozhou was very pleased. He praised, “I would like to now commend the team for ‘Late-night Ghost Stories’, especially Little Zhang. For a late night segment to achieve a placing in the top three for its first broadcast, it is unprecedented and should be entered into the record books. I’ve seen the listenership ratings graph and there isn’t much of a difference between the upper and lower ratings throughout the program. Starting from midnight, it was always on a high and this shows the affirmation the listeners have about the plot. And because of the explosion of ‘Late-night Ghost Stories’, this channel’s overall rating also rose. Let’s have a round of applause for Little Zhang and wish that he would keep working harder!”
Bba Bba Bba.
Everyone reacted with applause.
But Tian Bin did not move; he couldn’t accept the truth!
Zhang Ye clasped his hands in appreciation, “It’s all thanks to the Leader’s help and everyone’s support; it wasn’t down to me alone.”
“Talk About the World” listenership 3.17%.
“Entertainment Daily” listenership 2.29%.
“Late-night Ghost Stories” listenership 0.98%.
“Laughter Daily” listenership 0.92%.
“People’s Broadcast Station News Highlights (Affiliate Broadcast)” listenership 0.89%.
Sixth place.…Seventh place……the ratings had very little difference.
This time, the segment in last place was “Old and Young Story Club”, taking over the last place position of “Late-night Ghost Stories”, with a listenership of 0.27%.
After Zhao Guozhou finished announcing, he summarised the previous day’s results before letting everyone return to their work.
Zhang Ye sat back down and got himself busy. On the surface, he was calm. But inside, he was bursting with excitement. If no one was around, he would have smiled until his mouth went crooked. Only after it sunk in did he calm down and analyze the reasons for the program’s popularity. The most important reason should have been because of market and environmental factors. The ghost stories and supernatural novels of this world was still in their infancy stages, so not many good works have appeared, yet. The ones that could be considered good numbered around 4 or 5 novels. In Zhang Ye’s view, these top novels would only be considered to be so-so; therefore, the market still hungered for more. Now, Zhang Ye had brought to them a story full of novelty about grave robbing, a story that was already tested and well-received in his world. The key was that this story was being first released on radio. It was an original story that was not available anywhere else in the market and so it was not in anyone’s imagination that it would achieve such great results.
That afternoon, the recording schedule was confirmed.
The female assistant, Xiaofang, came looking for Zhang Ye while holding a slip, smiling sweetly, “Teacher Zhang, it’s time to do the recording for tonight’s program. You have Room 7 from 10 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. Don’t go any later than 11:40 A.M., because there is another recording after that. Well, in the afternoon, Room 8 has a lot of free slots. If you are up for it, I will book the timings for you? We can book three hours at the most.”
Zhang Ye considered this, “Okay, then thanks for the trouble. Book it for however long it is available for. I will try to record three broadcasts by today.” Of course, it would be good to prepare a few broadcasts in advance while in good health and spirits, rather than to rush at a later time. Besides, in this line of work, having one’s voice in a good condition was imperative. If he caught a cold, it would definitely affect the quality of the broadcast, so it was better to be prepared.
“Sure.” Xiaofang blinked, “Then, should I help to prepare your manuscripts?”
Zhang Ye waved his hands, saying, “No need for that. I don’t have any manuscripts. Let’s go straight to recording.”
No manuscripts? Xiaofang couldn’t help but look at him admiringly. Even the colleagues around who heard that were impressed. Ignoring the composition skills of the newly-arrived Teacher Zhang, just his off script reading skill was one of a kind in the Beijing Radio Station. Even for programs that demanded spontaneity like interviews, the host would still require a script of some sort for a guide, not to mention a program like story-telling!
Tian Bin watched with envious fury. Look how everyone is behaving. It’s just a good result for the first broadcast and that’s to be expected. I don’t believe that the next few broadcasts will bring such high ratings. The station had been promoting it so strongly, so, of course, the first broadcast would be highly-rated. Tian Bin also had a broadcast for a novel last year and on the first day of the broadcast, he had received ninth place. But the next few broadcasts’ ratings dropped exponentially by the day. In the end, it became last place as usual. Such is the law of programs in the late night segment and no one has ever managed to escape the claws of this curse!
Wait and see what happens tomorrow and the day after! I will watch you cry when that happens!
Tian Bin was already confident of his judgement!
Other Literature Channel colleagues, even Zhao Guozhou, had similar thoughts. Luck probably played a part for its first broadcast rating. No matter what, this was a late night segment: a midnight segment, in fact. This timing had the lowest audience numbers, so the ability to take third place would be lost for sure. It would even be normal for it to slip to around the tenth place.
However, the way the situation progressed caught everyone by surprise!
There was a slight dip in the listenership for the second episode of “Ghost Blows Out the Light”. After all, even the best things would not be well-liked by everyone. If there were people who liked it, there would be people who disliked it. It could not be forced. After listeners who contributed to the first episode’s listenership rating left, the results dropped to the segment to sixth place for the entire channel. However, immediately following the third episode of “Ghost Blows Out the Light”, it ushered in another explosive breakthrough. It returned, once again, back to the third spot in the entire channel. Very clearly, although a small fraction of listeners had left, a large group of listeners gradually came in to replace them!
Zhang Ye’s deep voice flowed from the radio, “Thousands of pieces of timber were used to build up a pyramidal tower that stood above-ground. There were red sparkling stars above the tower and, using the weak light to see, the foundation of the wooden tower was about two hundred meters wide, made of cement. Thousand-year-old cedar wood was used to build the tower’s body and it had a total of nine floors. Each floor was filled with dried skeletons, wearing all sorts of strange ancient costumes. There were people of all ages and genders. Each piece of wood was engraved with Tibetan runes. Is this a tomb? Who could have built a tomb of this size underground?”
Many listeners in the city of Beijing felt an eerie chill while listening nearby their radios!
Zhang Ye was listening to his own program at home, too, while checking the internet for messages and comments, enjoying it thoroughly.
“I’m finished! I won’t be able to sleep, again, tonight!”
“Me, too. This part is too exciting!”
“Can you not leave us with a cliffhanger? Why did it end here today?”
“Strongly requesting for a bit more! I will not be able to sleep at ease!”
The listeners’ feedback was very positive. The posters included the old, the young, both males and females. It covered almost all ages!
About ten minutes after the program ended, Zhang Ye noticed on his Weibo a bigwig account’s comment. The verified account belonged to a famous Central TV producer, Hu Fei, who had a following of over 600,000 fans. He posted, “Yesterday, a director from the station recommended to me a late-night radio program called ‘Late-night Ghost Stories’, telling me that the novel being read was really awesome. At first, I didn’t quite believe it and, with a skeptical attitude, I listened to five episode broadcasts. But in the end, I was really impressed. I felt pleased, as I have read many supernatural novels, but none of those had amazed me this much. The country needs more of such great works.”
Below the post, many fans rushed to re-publish it.
“‘Late-night Ghost Stories’? Never heard of it. Is it that good?”
“If Teacher Hu says he is impressed, then it must be pretty good!”
“Haha, even Teacher Hu is recommending it? Looks like everyone’s aesthetic style is the same. I began listening to ‘Ghost Blows Out the Light’ from the first episode and cannot help myself!”
Seeing this, Zhang Ye felt good. This was the greatest affirmation he could receive!
The next day.
“Late-night Ghost Stories”’s ratings for the past few days had been released!
First episode: 0.98%
Second episode: 0.69%
Third episode: 1.01%
Fourth episode: 1.14%
Fifth episode: 1.27%
After nearly a week of broadcasts, even though Zhang Ye’s program was still in the top three, it was still a far cry from the second-placed “Entertainment Daily”. It was not likely to take second place any time soon, but it had already firmly rooted itself at third place, since it was comfortably above the fourth placing. Moreover, the rating was increasing ever so slightly by the day, meaning that there was still a lot of potential for improvement!
Upon the release of the rating results, many skeptics were shut down, including Tian Bin.
A miracle had been created! The success of “Late-night Ghost Stories” made it unbearable for many to lay their sights on it!
Colleagues expressed wonder and admiration. As an unexpected competitor, the rise of this late-night segment was too sudden!
Even the traffic, music and news channels knew of Zhang Ye! That’s how it was in the station; what secret could remain a secret?
“Hey, Ah Li.”
“Old Meng? What’s up?”
“I heard an awesome person came to your Literature Channel? He pushed the late-night program’s listenership rating to third place? It is catching up with the ratings of prime-time programs? Is that true?”
“Yes, it’s true.”
“Awesome, too awesome.”
“You have not heard ‘Ghost Blows Out the Light’, yet, right? If you listen to it, you will not be surprised. It’s a really good piece of work. And it has opened up the tomb robbing genre for supernatural novels. It is the founder! You may not know this, but for the past few days, the amount of letters sent in by listeners everyday is just crazy. There would be at least a hundred letters a day!”
“Really? Then I must really give it a listen!”
Zhang Ye was passing by, when he heard the discussion between the two. With a slight tinge of happiness, he understood now that he has firmed up his standing in the station. “Late-night Ghost Stories” had become a star program of the Literature Channel and by continuing to contribute to the listenership, Zhang Ye’s place as a radio host will rise, too!