Do you love making playlists, listening to radio and podcasts, or just talking about pop culture with your friends? If you’ve ever considered getting your own radio show, this simple guide by Jojo Jones is aimed at helping you get into the world of broadcasting…
Brainstorm your interests
You may think the first step into radio broadcasting is walking into the BBC or sending out a ton of emails with your CV, but in order to get to that point, it’s good to go back to basics.
My advice is sit down and think really hard about what it is you want to talk about if you got behind a mic. What do you care about? Is it music, certain topics, a sport, or just pop culture? Figure out what makes you tick. Pssst, the answer is probably what you talk about regularly already with family and friends!
The reason this is the first step to getting into radio is when you decide on a topic or area that you love, you will sound completely authentic on the mic, and you will find it incredibly easy to talk about. Radio broadcasting can be scary, so knowing yourself and your interests makes things a lot easier.
Utilise free online programmes
If you have access to a laptop or a computer of any kind, you will be able to utilise some free online programmes which will help in your radio broadcasting journey. These will both help you practice talking as if you were live on air, and give you content for your demo.
The programme Audacity is a DAW (meaning, digital audio workstation), which allows you to record and edit audio. Make sure to use headphones with a microphone when recording to avoid feedback or background noise. You can also download music or audio clips as MP3’s and drag them into audacity. Alternatively, you can download the Anchor app which is focused on podcasting but is a great way to practice recording yourself.
Try talking about content and just have some fun with it! Think about what your favourite radio presenters do on air and how they structure their talking around music, or other segments. And guess what, when you’ve got some of this recorded, you’ve already pretty much made a radio show!
Get your demo together
The next step is to listen back through all the amazing content you have recorded, and get together a radio demo.
A radio demo is a condensed version of your on air experience. They vary in length but often range from 1 minute demos to 3-5 minutes long. Your demo should be made up of you talking, showing off how you would sound on a real radio broadcast. A demo is clips made up from different moments in a recording, put one after the other (with a gap or transition sound in between to mark a new clip).
This is your opportunity for radio stations to hear what you would be like on a real radio broadcast, so show off your skills! There is no right answer to what your demo should sound like because different radio stations want different qualities.
Make sure to stay true to what you explored in the brainstorming stage. If you want to talk about entertainment and pop culture on your future radio show, include moments in your demo where you laughed or told a funny story, or told an anecdote about a recent pop culture event. Equally if it is music you love and a music show you want to create, show off your personality, what kind of music you love and why! This will make great content.
Release some content
You’ve already made some content – whether that be a one minute demo or a whole hour of radio content – and it’s time to share it.
When contacting stations, which is the final step in this guide, they will be looking for people who have a social media presence or a personal ‘brand’. This also gives them an insight into your personality, which will compliment your demo.
The best place to start is with the website Mixcloud.com where you can upload audio content of any kind for free. Once you start making more content, Mixcloud is a great place to store all of it, so people can log onto your page and check out all your audio. Alongside MixCloud you could create dedicated social media pages to your show, or you can hype up your new radio content on your personal accounts.
If you need to create visual content to go alongside this, Canva is another free website which is easy and quick to use.
If you want to start practicing broadcasting live, you can use platforms like Twitch or even Instagram Live.
So now you’ve sussed out your interests in radio and had a practice, you’re ready to get your name out there. Everyone has to start somewhere, and although the end goal may be the BBC or Capital FM, the best way to start out is to take advantage of the local stations around you.
Do some research to find the community stations around you. Nearly every big hospital has a radio station in it that broadcasts to its patients, which is a great way to get some experience live on air, so do have a look into them.
If you are a student, look into your student radio station as there is bound to be one at your University.
There are many community radio stations, especially around London, who are keen for fresh talent. Most stations will have a contact address on their website, so you could just send them an email introducing yourself, you can attach your demo, a link to your MixCloud page, and your socials if you’ve been posting about your radio content.
You can also aim high and send your demo to the BBC or bigger stations, no harm in shooting for the stars!
Don’t be disheartened at this stage if you don’t hear back from any stations straight away, keep working on your content, sending emails and posting on your socials. Persistency is key as it shows commitment. And remember, you can always go back to any of these steps to help you; keep brainstorming and recording and connecting.
Words: Jojo Jones
Listen to Jojo Jones on the first Wednesdays of the month 12-2pm on Voicesradio.co.uk