Have you been given the exciting opportunity to host your own radio show? Are you looking to get into the industry? Here’s a list of tips and tricks I hope can help you on this journey that I’ve picked up along the way from other presenters, station guidelines and my own personal experience.
1. Plan your show
Plan your show around a certain artist, theme or promotion if it can fit in with your station’s expectation. Have you got a feature artist? A guest DJ? Plan out some interview questions to make sure you keep the on-air conversation going and you’re never put on the spot or left hanging. Is there a theme to a week, an upcoming event, an issue to discuss or a story to tell? Is there a station wide promotion to plug? Map out your show so you’re prepared with content to keep people entertained and gripped to hear what happens next.
2. Acknowledge the previous show and thank the last presenter
Start your show with a shout out to the presenter(s) who hosted the show before you and take a moment to acknowledge their good work. It’s good manners and helps to create continuity across the switch up process for the listener.
3. Introduce the next show and talk up the next presenter
End your radio show with a wrap up that includes introducing the next show and that show’s presenter(s). Again, it’s good manners! And contributes to the smooth transition from one show to the next by letting your listeners know what to expect. Wouldn’t you like the previous presenter to do the same for you?
4. Keep a constant check on all channel volumes
You need to constantly monitor all your volumes and adjust where necessary. From the mics to the ads, the sweeps, the music that you play on any of the equipment available to you. Cue up and preview whatever you’re about to play before you play it on air to make sure that all your levels are at the same sweet spot. Sudden jumps or drops in volume are unpleasant and frustrating for your listeners.
5. Never talk about equipment faults or technical mistakes on air
Don’t bring up your mistakes on air. People forget these things easily so there’s no point reminding them! It doesn’t come off professional and you’ll end up announcing the mistake to all the new people who just started tuning in after the mistake happened. Complaining about equipment faults on air looks just as bad and doesn’t reflect well on station. Show respect for your station and the equipment they provide, especially when you’re live and on air to the public.
6. Always have a backup track ready in case of an equipment fault
Just in case things go wrong, the computer doesn’t recognise the file format of a track or you CDJ faults, have backup music ready to play on another piece of equipment. This will minimise any potential silence that could occur while you try to address the problem.
7. Speak at around a fist’s distance from the microphone (no further)
Keeping around a fist’s distance between your mouth and the microphone should keep your voice sounding crisp and clear for the listener. Speak too close and your voice will come out muffled, too far and you’ll be too soft. That fist width distance tends to be the magic spot that will have you sounding just perfect. Don’t forget to articulate clearly when you speak too!
8. Listen to your radio station actively and regularly
Listening to your radio station actively and regularly will keep you knowledgeable around what else is going on at the station and what the other presenters are up to. You’ll be able to reference or refer back to their shows on your own which creates a good brand experience for the listener and shows that you’re a team. You’ll have station events, promotions and themes on your mind ready for your show when it’s time because you’ve been listening regularly. This means you’ll be able to easily deliver on the items that your station wants you to.
9. Think from a listener’s perspective
From your point of view, it’s very easy to feel as if you’re presenting to thousands (because you probably are!). From the listener’s perspective, however, it usually feels like it’s just you and them as they cruise along in their car or have you in the background while they work. Talk to the listener as if you’re talking to one person to create a more personal experience, as that’s how they’re experiencing your show.
10. Listen back to your show and reflect on what you can improve
If you have the ability to record and listen back to your show (chances are your studio already records everything) then do it! I know it’s very strange listening back to your own voice but it can give you some serious pointers for continuous improvement. Do you need to pronounce your words clearer? Speak closer or further from the mic? Are your levels jumping up and down a bit? Are your transitions smooth? Do you have confidence and clarity when you speak on air? Have you got a good energy to your show? These are all questions you want to ask yourself as you listen back critically so that you can work on improvements for the next time.