If you have a penpal in prison who has access to a radio, they probably know about Sunday Night Slow Jams DJed (and practically everything else done) by R Dub!. Slow Jams plays current and past R&B and hip hop love songs nationwide and in 13 other countries.
The show is famous for its Oral Expressions, where lovers’, family members’ and friends’ messages are played. There’s no “shout outs” – an Oral Expression has a clear format:
“This is (your full name) in (city and state). My oral expression is for (your pen pal’s name without the name of the prison). (Your message; example:) I hope you have a great Summer Solstice! Thanks for being my friend. Many blessings!”
You can re-record your oral expression up to 5 times. You can leave an oral expression every day in hopes that one will be chosen for the show Sunday Night. The toll free phone number in the US is 1-877-209-0631.
Here are some hints on how to get your Oral Expressions on the air from R Dub!, and here’s my own guesses:
I think that being in a very low population area in the whitest state which also has the 2nd eldest population (ie people probably not aware of Slow Jams) gives me a slight edge. Naturally, Slow Jams wants to represent everywhere the show airs. Although they receive 10,000 Oral Expressions each week from which to choose, if most are from the West coast that week and you live on the East coast, your odds of being chosen are probably higher. Every week is going to be different, so taking the 3 minutes to leave an Oral Expression each week is worth it.
You don’t have to worry that it will seem romantic if your pen pal knows up front that you don’t want romance and sexual content, and your message isn’t romantic. R Dub! commented on one woman’s oral expression to her male best friend, noting that you don’t hear a lot about men and women being friends. He seemed quite happy about their friendship, so he may want to air more of those. It is often very difficult for men who recently left prison to know how to speak to women and children. Your friendship teaches them how to be friends with women while in prison which is really helpful.
Oral Expressions is a good way for your pen pal to hear your voice. Of course, it’s really reaffirming that they exist in the outside world, too, when they hear their names.
Remember that the Christian holidays are going to get more callers, while Pagan holy times will not. Wishing your pen pal a happy Winter Nights, Beltain, Games of Apollo, Oshun’s Festival, or Imbolc is a nice way to let the many other Pagans know that Pagans do care about prisoners.
Make sure that you told your pen pal that you’re doing this, so they’ll be listening. I would first ask if they listen to Sunday Night Slow Jams. There’s not much in the way of national radio shows anymore so Slow Jams has a big following in prison. However, if they can’t hear the radio or modern hate R&B, it’s not worth doing.