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Tips to becoming a radio presenter

Contrary to popular opinion that online music streaming services are killing off the radio, radios are actually alive and kicking. Most radio stations have been able to adapt with the changing times and new have a social media presence as well as online, meaning you can have a listen wherever you are. There are even radio stations on some online music streaming platforms!

With the radio still alive and well, there are lots of opportunities to become a radio presenter. It takes a special kind of person to become a successful radio presenter. If you are just starting out in the industry then don’t expect to gain a position in one of the most popular radio stations around.

Firstly, you will have to build up your experiences and connections in the industry and work from there. Just getting your foot in the door is one of the most important things to do. So if you are applying or asking around for open positions, make sure you look at all radio stations that might be relevant to you.

Remember that all radio stations have a different offering to try and gain listeners. So it probably wouldn’t be in your best interest to apply for a radio station that exclusively plays classical music if you don’t like classical music and don’t know much about it! Find radio stations that match your interest, you are more likely to get your foot in the door that way.

So, if you are looking to break into the industry or are looking to ensure you are the best radio presenter you can be, have a read on below at some of the most useful tips to becoming a great radio presenter:

Be interesting

This is the most important (and most difficult) thing to do. If you aren’t interesting enough then people aren’t going to listen. Make sure you have a good team around you to bounce ideas off, remember that something you find interesting, others might not. Therefore, getting together with your team to develop ideas is the best way forward.

Try and look for ways that you can stand out from the crowd and make yourself memorable. If you have listeners that keep coming back this will reflect in the stats which show how well (or not well) you are doing. The more listeners you can gain in your slot on the airwaves, the better your opportunities are likely to be.

Be active on social media

Social media was touched on in the introduction, but it is important to note that it shouldn’t be undervalued. Being active on social media these days is extremely important as so many people of all ages and backgrounds use social media almost on a daily basis (or more regularly).

There are lots of businesses, and radio stations, that are active on social media, so if you aren’t then you are one of the few. Make sure you post regularly and engage with your audience, this means if someone comments on a post asking a question, you actually reply in a timely manner.

These days a lot of radios are online, so make sure you include links on your social media account back to the website. A lot of your potential listeners are out on social media just waiting for you to find them, so make sure you are as active as possible.

Radio presenter tips
Photo: David Bartus, Pexels.

Listen back on your shows

While you may think you did a stellar job, there is almost always room for improvement. One of the best was to pick up on potential improvement is through listening back to your most recent shows.

It might be the couple of little tweaks that really helps to make your show stand out from the rest. You might even be doing something in the moment that you weren’t even aware of until your listened to your show back.

Striving for constant improvement is vital as it shows you are actively trying to make the show and yourself better. Not resting on your laurels and the desire to always improve is a great quality to have in any industry, including radio presenting, and it can help you become more successful.

Know the script

It is vital that you read the script before you hit the airwaves. If you are the one that wrote the script, then great; but it won’t hurt to have another quick read through before going live. There would be nothing worse for listeners to have a mumbling presenter who kept stumbling over their words.

Having a good script (and knowing it) also help provide direction and clarity for the particular session of the radio show. A script means you are less likely to go off on an obscure tangent and it will help you get the message you are trying to get across in the allotted time you have. At the very least, it is good to have a few points on things you would like to touch on during your time on air.

Be prepared for the unexpected

Just like is the case with live TV, on the radio anything can happen. So, it is important that you are prepared for anything that can potentially go wrong. The ability to think quickly on your feet will be immensely important in live radio.

There are typical things that can go wrong during a show, so before something bad happens it could be a good idea to problem solve as much as possible beforehand, so you don’t end up like a deer in headlights.

For example, if you have guests on regularly, you should put together a plan if the guest is late or is uncooperative, or if you take callers a plan of attack would be useful to outline how to deal with any angry callers. While you cannot possibly prepare for every situation that can go wrong, but if you are on your toes this will help you to deal with the problem faster.

Do your research

No matter what you are going to talk about on your show it is important that you do some research. This is especially important if you are going to be talking about something that you are not 100% aware of, or not an expert of sorts.

While your radio show may just be about opinions, you are likely to need facts to back up what you think. Also, if you are stuck for ideas for your show, then research will help you find some great topics to talk about and really help to get listeners engaged (and even calling up if that is something your radio station does).

Be on time

Nothing is more important that being on time for your radio show. But you should also be on time for other things like meetings etc. If you are the only presenter for the show, then it is critical you are on time otherwise nothing will happen on the station.

Being late and unprofessional can really paint you in a negative light and if you want to be a successful radio presenter, these are things you cannot afford to be. Excuse after excuse probably isn’t going to cut it, so remember to always be on time.

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