THE INSIDERS GUIDE: HOW TO BE A RADIO PRESENTER
Hello! Before you meet some of my radio friends giving you the best advice about how to be a radio presenter I have to warn you about something. Radio presenting is very competitive, its low pay and you will work extra long and unsociable hours. It may take you years to get to your ‘dream’ radio job and sadly you may never get exactly what you always dreamed of.
If you’re still determined, passionate about radio and want to be part of this exciting creative industry, then please read on! Yes it may be a ‘hard’ journey getting your first radio job but it will be worth it.
I’ve worked with all these top radio presenters, journalists and managers in this article and so I have first hand experience of how hard they work. Here is their insiders knowledge, especially written for you, yes YOU. Learn from the people working in the radio industry right now and then put all their wisdom into practice. Enjoy!
P.S If your only interest is to be ‘famous’ then please leave now!
The Insiders Guide – How to be a radio presenter or journalist
1) Don’t just listen to your favourite station – listen to lots of radio of all different types and from around the world. Listen and learn – Gerald Main, Programme Controller of BBC Essex
2) When you get your chance to shine in the studio, make sure you go for it – Nigel Taylor, former MD of 107.7 The Wolf, KFM, Passion FM and Six TV
3) If you want to get a job in radio broadcasting I would say take good care of your voice! Sounds obvious but don’t smoke or eat lozenges for a sore throat as it drys out your vocal cords. Strengthen them instead with regular exercise just like you do other parts of your body. You never know when you’re gonna get that call to go on-air! More than likely it will be a last minute request to fill in for someone at the station where you work. Whatever the scenario you want to knock it out of the ball-park!
How to be a radio presenter tip by Bea Hundal, freelance radio journalist living in New York
4) You can take as many media degrees or journalism courses as you want but nothing is as important as hands on experience. Do whatever you can to be involved in radio. Hospital, student, local – even doing it once a week but regularly is invaluable. If you show this dedication along with your passion for radio, an employer will consider this much more attractive than you wasting your time with a media qualification. (This applies to presenter or producer roles. If you want to be a newsreader, experience plus journo qualifications will be necessary)
Skak Siyya – Audio Describer for ITV / Channel 5 & Former presenter on X FM and Club Asia Radio
5 ) Want a job in radio? Here’s my advice for any budding presenter;
You will sound more relaxed and spontaneous on air the more prepared you are about your guest and the subject. Remember its not all about you! The guest has a story so let them tell it!
-Not all the shows will be great. Everyone has off days. As long as no one has committed libel then learn from it and move on. If you enjoy what you are doing it shows. If you worry too much then you’ll stilt the flow and cause unease.
Philippa Rae, Producer of children’s radio programmes for the BBC for over eight years
6) How to be a radio presenter? My biggest tip would be, don’t try and be somebody that you’re not and always have an idea of what type of audience you would appeal to – Sharj Ahmed, Broadcast Assistant at The BBC Asian Network
7) My advice for anyone wanting a job in radio is that you should train your voice! Get used to hearing your own voice day in day out, record it, see what it sounds like, and do voice exercises… read the paper out loud, just to get used to reading out loud a lot!
– Wil Davies, South East Asia correspondent for Agence France Presse
8 – If you’re looking to work in radio broadcasting, I think the best tip is to talk about what you know! If you are passionate about something it’s much easier to talk about it in an engaging way. Talk about your experiences, your thoughts, whats happened to you. There’s always big topical news stories, which everyone will talk about on the radio (ie. the Royal baby) but give the story a twist by offering your take on it. Crucially know your guidelines on air though. Once you know the boundaries of what you can talk about, go for it!
9) If you’re looking to get a job in radio, be prepared for a bumpy ride! The medium has changed significantly in recent years, meaning that radio presenters are expected to be more multi-skilled than ever. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means that competition is fierce and only those with real talent, passion and energy are likely to succeed in the long run.
Personally, I think the most important question for all budding radio employees is this – what do you want to do and where do you want to be in five years time?
If you’re looking to present, look up your student radio station and start your presentation career there. Apply early to do work experience in your local commercial radio station, and be prepared to do everything from making tea to writing scripts. You may not get the chance to be on air, but if you begin to understand the working process of radio and make good contacts, you’re off to a very good start.
Understand that you’re unlikely to be paid well in the early days of radio. If you make it to a network station or become a core presenter for one of the bigger local stations in the area, your wages will be significantly increased. The reality though, is that radio is often poorly paid. If you’re happy with this and feel that the “love of radio” supersedes the wage issue, then go for it – you’ll join hundreds of others who have done the same thing.
CLICK TO WATCH – 6 WAYS TO GET INTO THE RADIO INDUSTRY
If you’re looking to get into the news side of things, a post-grad diploma will take you a long way. The BBC and most other news organisations always look for this in graduates these days, and there are plenty of courses around the country where you can learn the skills. Try and be as focused as possible if this is the route you want to go down – it will get you places far quicker, and is far more lucrative in terms of salary.
The same goes for production – if you can learn the skills at College and implement them in work experience, you stand a greater chance of understanding the medium when you look for employment. I cannot stress enough though – be sure of which route you want to go down in broadcasting. If you can ascertain what you want to do from the outset, you have a far greater chance of being successful. You never know – in five years time, you too could be writing tips for others on Veena V’s blog too!
– Radio tip by Heather Dewar, Scotland Sports Reporter for the BBC
10) You want a job in radio broadcasting? These are my top two tips
- Do a broadcast journalism degree or diploma – these will teach you invaluable skills like how not to get sued, how not to get jailed for libel, how to write for radio and TV, and how to get that weird reporter’s voice that all broadcasters seem to have. Just don’t pay any attention when they tell you you’ll need shorthand.
- If you’re truly adventurous, go overseas. I don’t mean France, or staying with your aunt in New York. I mean Azerbaijan, Burundi, Ecuador, Kazakhstan… or somewhere else you can’t point out on a map. Once there, invent some reporting experience, and then call up the BBC, Sky, The Times, etc, and tell them you’re their new Freelancer in Azerbaijan, Burundi, Ecuador, etc. If you’re in one of the world’s really unheard of countries, you won’t have much competition and you’ll be the one they call when a bomb goes off or a plane crashes.
11) My biggest tip is: If you want to be a good radio presenter, only listen to good broadcasters/DJ’s.
Just like everything else we will pick up good or bad habits from others.
– Ray Khan, Radio Presenter at BBC London & BBC Asian Network
INVALUABLE radio advice on how to be a radio presenter from a very talented bunch of people. A massive thanks to them for sharing their top radio broadcasting tips and advice on how to be a radio presenter.
If you’re serious about making your dream a reality then download the EBOOK below – its free!
Veena V xx