So, you want to be a Radio Presenter

Before we get to that, I will tell you how my radio career started. With passing the local radio station weekly while listening to the same station in my car. I found myself intrigued by how a radio station worked and the technical aspects behind the door of the station. I started by texting the studio asking if there was anything I could help with on the I.T. side.

After not getting any response for a week or two, I then moved on to placing my business card in the station door while passing, I did this for about 6 weeks without getting any response.

I finally e-mailed the studio explaining I had been the one leaving business cards and texting and now I am e-mailing offering help. I actually received a short reply from the then station director asking when I could come in and sorry, they hadn’t been in touch any sooner.


So, I turn up to take a look behind the door and see all the bits and bobs that make an FM station broadcast. At this time I am imagining something out of an’80-’90s American movie where there are masses of computer racks and audio equipment all neatly nestled in the data cabinet with neatly patched cables and a massive transmitter and a really special antenna.

Well what I saw when taken through that building for the first time was computer racks with spaghetti junctions of cabling some cables just twisted together not even soldered, PC’s in the rack with open cases which I was told was to stop them overheating and the transmitter a little box at the bottom of the empty rack cabinet and an old antenna on a pump up mast, ohh and this room had no working light in it!


I was given the full tour around the rest of the studios and how things worked, mixing desks and playouts etc. remember at this time I only wanted to help with their I.T. and never thought I would be on the radio itself. I then asked what the plan was with their rapidly failing and outdated I.T. system. You may or may not know that many community radio stations run on donated equipment. At this moment I realized this, and the common expectation of masses of up-to-date equipment is mostly for the big boy’s


As days went on, I found myself popping in on the way home from work to see if anything needed doing and just making the presenter that was on air at the time a coffee or sitting in and watching the show.



So How I got in front of the desk and the Microphone.

On one of the many occasions of popping in to see the team, I overheard a conversation about the breakfast show presenter was going on holiday for two weeks and what were they going to do? I remember just flippantly saying over my shoulder “I’ll give it a go!” the response from the director was “OK 7 a.m. tomorrow you’re on the air!”  I went in the next morning  (see. The Feeling) with the plan of just putting the news on playing some music and letting people know about any traffic incidents we had in the area. I remember vividly from 8 a.m. that first morning I couldn’t stop talking, taking requests and just loving being on the radio. I then carried on producing and presenting my own breakfast show for 6 years. On various stations local and afar.


So you want to give it a go,

Well, first things first you have got to want it and if you have read this far you must have some of the determination that is needed. Never give up is rule number one. You will have off days miss cue points cut the news off play the wrong song. But keep going practice really makes perfect.


Be part of the team, go to the station when it’s not your show etc. I went to the station every night on the way home even after being there at 6:30 that morning for months and sometimes found myself leaving in the early hours of the next morning.

I found this time invaluable as we got jobs done and I learned other presenter’s tips and tricks. There is always something that needs doing coffee, tea, advertisement, recording or training.

When do you do a show?

Well, the answer here is when you feel ready, but the practice is the key or just even sitting watching others. I learned off watching others and getting stuck in with others helps presenters all collaborate on ideas for the next best show.


So, you want to do your show.

Plan and prepare when I have been coaching other presenters, I can not stress this enough. It will take you many years of presenting for you to be able to sit in the chair and just wing it, I promise even then if you do you will see yourself losing the ball and making mistakes. So get a piece of paper and plan the hour when you are going to talk about your feature “Album of the week” etc. once you find an hour plan that works for you. You can just repeat the hour for an hour on hour and so on.

Standard Prep for a Breakfast Show!

Losing the Ball??

I commonly will use this term while coaching and I will be saying “don’t let the show get away from you!” if you plan to do to much you have made a fun and busy show, but it is very hard to focus on everything when that extra request comes in or a technical hitch appears. If you lose the ball your brain starts to fog and you will end up playing catch up with your plan as more pressure piles on you start to miss things like faders being left up and cue points being missed.


Should I bring a guest in,

Well, the way I see this is you need to be really happy with distractions in your show. First, you need to be able to control your guest and get the best out of the interview.

I would definitely suggest you ask a fellow presenter to sit in first and talk on and off the air with you. This will save any embarrassment if you lose the ball.

You will know what I’m talking about when you have your first guest, and you need to go and get the refreshments and they want to talk and you have got two minutes until the news.

(It’s a buzz with a guest especially when they get involved!)


I have been waffling on here, but that is what we do!  I again will use the following explanation when trying to coach a presenter. Imagine a ball on the end of a string and while the music is playing you are spinning it around really fast.

When the music stops, and you talk your hand stops and the ball starts to slow down. Don’t let the ball stop!!

Sometimes talking over a musical bed will slow the rate that the ball slows down. Talk shows are different as you can imagine the listener is expecting a bit of waffle but keep it on topic.


Well as I do feel it is just far too much to write about on this subject and I do feel my waffle-O-meter buzzing right now. Some of the topics discussed here will give you an insight on how I could help with your radio presenting skills. I have coached all manner of presenters and all manner of show types. You just have to want to do it!


Feel free to get in touch for a friendly chat and see If there is anything I can do to help.

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