Today marks the first anniversary of my inaugural appearance on radio. Since then I have hosted a daily morning show on Local radio for three weeks and done a weekly show on hospital radio for the last six months. It was something I’d been interested in doing since I was young, so what have I learnt?
Well I’ve only done about 80 hours on air so I’d be arrogant to say I can teach you how to be a radio DJ, however perhaps I can pass on some tips new comers might be interested in.
Firstly most of your creativity is stifled from the word go. Thanks to various laws and regulations you have to be careful about what you talk about. Then you have the radio stations identity to live up to - i.e. you can only run features they want you to run and only play records they want you to play. It is a limiting problem but sounding original under these conditions is what makes the best jocks shine.
Forget glamour. Most radio studios, especially local level are nothing more than portacabins or single grubby rooms in an office block. They will either be freezing cold or stuffy and hot and at times you will be left on your own with a full bladder and no one to talk to.
Forget morals. It is an industry centred on backstabbing and slagging people off - well that’s if you want to get anywhere. You also seem to have to shag around to make friends and get jobs. Slagging off and shagging around are two things that aren’t me so I’m resigned to not getting anywhere in radio but to be honest with these two things being your main credentials I’m not bothered.
That said when a station works - it works well. In just three weeks the local RSL I was involved in built up a very strong sense of being in a team - if it was full time we would have made a great station.
To this day people are shocked when they learn I’m not bothered about pursuing radio – despite having in interest for quite a while. About 9 months ago one jock thought I was out right lying and refused to believe me. She’s one person that is slowly making progress in the industry and I’m happy for her but to be honest I’ve found my niche in hospital radio. In the studios are a group of people that are genuinely doing radio shows for the love and passion of it. There’s no pay & no fame thus no egos and certainly no falseness.
That said my main tip is that content is key. I find it far easier to do a show when I arrive up with pages and pages of news stories, trivia and observations. Failing that if you’ve nothing to say then don’t. After all apart from the likes of Chris Moyles or Scott Mills the majority of people listen to radio to hear the music – not you. That’s one lesson a lot of jocks could learn.
P.S. Happy birthday mum!