The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Better Radio Talent
By: Carli Cole, Blazin 102.3, Tallahassee, FL.
I received my first paid radio position in April of last year. I could not believe I landed a position with a station I had listened to for more than half my life. Though I was excited, I was BEYOND nervous. I would playback my breaks and truly cringe at times. I knew I could not make my listeners continue to listen to my lackluster conversations much longer if I didn't change something. I began trying to find ways to evolve myself into an energetic personality that listeners would not want to miss out on hearing. If this is something you are struggling with, I came up with 10 tips to help you become a better radio talent.
10. Be Well Read & Never False
People like to listen to personalities that know what they’re talking about, so it’s important to find time to research topics for upcoming shows or guests that you have invited on. One thing you want to avoid is coming across as false, for instance reading an article on Wikipedia right before a show. Also if you’re reporting news on air and your co-host asks you a question about the story you may not know, DO NOT make up an answer or guess. Say it was not stated but you will find out. Make sure to come back on the next break and address the question with the CORRECT answer.
9. Listen to The Rest of the Radio Station
Do not just stroll into your station and get on your mic and then stroll out when your shift is over, not once ever tuning into your station before or after you leave. Instead you should know what the other personalities are doing on the station. This is important because it lets you get a closer grip on your community of hosts, so you all can feed off each other.
8. Be familiar with your script
On numerous occasions personalities have said the wrong thing or constantly stumble. This was a major issue for me when I started. I would get my script printed and think I could read it for the first time once I was live on air. No. No. No. You will most likely sound like a jumbled mess, and your listeners will have no idea what you are trying to say. Reading your scripts before you go on air helps you know what you’re going to say in advance in a clear way.
7. Rep the Town
Radio hosts move around all over the country, and some broadcast worldwide. This can be difficult at times to appeal to a wide variety of listeners. However, you should NEVER act as something you’re not. Audiences love genuine people. Always be proud of who you are and where you come from. With that said, don’t only show love to your hometown. Acknowledge where you are at the time, and show the listeners’ hometown love as well. I can show Quincy, Florida love all day when I’m on air, but I also need the city of Tallahassee to know I love their area and where I am just the same.
6. Always Be Able to Laugh at Yourself
Never take yourself too seriously, instead learn to kick back and laugh. Sometimes you will make mistakes on air. It’s inevitable. WE’RE HUMAN. Mistakes make you easier to relate to your audience. If I beat myself up over every mistake I made on air, I would probably have quit my job. So, never be too embarrassed, embrace your mistakes
5. Hangout in the Community
Don’t just talk about it, BE ABOUT IT! Get outside in the community and interact with your audience whether it be hosting events or just volunteering at a local organization. It’s a perfect way to get to know who you’re talking to and allows your listeners to know who they are listening to. This will form strong connections between you and your listeners.
4. Use Your Words to Paint a Picture
Radio is unique; it’s the only medium where you paint pictures with words. We do not have the convenience of visuals like a newspaper reporter or television anchor have. However, we can bring our shows to life with the power of storytelling to engage and inspire our listeners.
3. Become Social Media Savvy
The world is now more connected than ever before – Tweet, ‘Gram, Post! Everyone from around the world can see and respond to you when you post on your social media. You need to have a presence, and be able to talk to your audience, so they’re up-to-date and can follow your station’s activities.
2. Talk to One Person, Not The Entire Audience
Don’t say things like “Hey Guys!” “Hi Listeners!” instead say hello with no audience tied. Do not say “you all” just say “you” when addressing the listeners. Have yourself sound like you are talking to only one friend. This will make your listeners feel special like you are speaking with them directly.
1. Have Something to Say
Radio personalities should have something to say, and be passionate when saying it. It will help build your personality, and lets people have an insight of who you are- ultimately, branding you. My sweet friend, Amber Stone, is a radio personality in Fort Wayne. She is always preaching love and light on her show. People associate these values with her. They know she will always make them feel good every day. Above all else it’s fun to hear someone who genuinely has interesting stuff to say live on air. Pick a message, and stick to it through your shows.