Basic Radio Announcing – Lesson Three

Well, we’re here. The reason you came to this site. In this section I will show you the basics to becoming a radio deejay and the elements that make up a good radio show. If you have mastered the voicing skills you have three-quarters of the battle already done!

You are now ready to learn how to become a radio deejay. There are five points about radio deejaying that you must etch on your brain. If you remember and follow these points you will have no problem finding and keeping a radio job. Those five points are:

Always be communicative with your audience when you are on the air.

  • The best ad lib is a written ad lib.
  • Never have silence on the air.
  • The best ad lib is a written ad lib.
  • The best ad lib is a written ad lib.

Let’s look at each one of these individually. Always be communicative. If you are not talking to your audience, they will tune you out. Don’t talk “at” or “down” to your audience. Each person in the audience wants to feel like you are talking specifically with them. Never refer to your audience as everyone or everybody. Doing this makes your conversation less intimate. Your goal is to make each person, in the audience, feel like you are talking to just them, on a one to one basis. I’ll show you more on how to do this in the section on being a communicator.

The second point is probably the most important rule you can follow in radio announcing. All of the shows you listen to on the radio that sound spontaneous and unrehearsed usually aren’t! Any good radio announcer knows that the best ad lib is a written ad lib. The shows that sound spontaneous are written and rehearsed to sound that way.

Always write down everything you are going to say on the air! You can either write it verbatim or in point form. You don’t have to read it, but it is there in front of you if your mind goes blank or something else happens.

I know this may sound strange, but it is very easy for your mind to draw a blank, especially when you crack the mic open. It’s happened to me before and I was just lucky enough to have something written in front of me to read. At most radio stations clients, advertisers and management are always coming in and out of the control room or asking you questions. Their timing is always immaculate too. The questions come right as the song is ending and you have to go on the air! So always keep at written ad-lib in front of you.

You can always tell an announcer who doesn’t have anything in front of them because they start to hem and hah and say “uhm” and have long pauses between their words. Most of the time it won’t even be your fault. A hard drive fails, a cart sticks, a tape gets wrapped up in the player, etc. If you are prepared you’ll sound that much more professional!

As you can see it’s easy to get distracted when you’re on the air. Unless you work in Los Angeles or New York you will be doing everything on your shift. There won’t be an engineer to start the records, (actually by now most stations have gone completely to compact discs, digital audio tape, or hard drives) punch up the commercials, turn your microphone on and off, and so on. So, as you can see, being a radio announcer doesn’t involve just talking. It involves a lot more that takes thinking. If you have everything you are going to say written down, in front of you, that’s one less thing to think about!

Finally, the last point has to do with silence on the air or more commonly known as “dead air.” Two seconds of silence on the air sounds like twenty minutes to your listening audience. Having too much dead air is the surest way to lose your job. When you have no dead air you are referred to as “running a tight shift.” Most program directors will look for this in their on air staff. Program directors do the hiring and firing at a radio station. If you can be communicative and run a tight shift you will go a long way in radio.

You’ve listened to the radio before, ask yourself what you did and didn’t like about a particular announcer. Most people tune into the radio to hear the music. That’s why as an announcer you have to enhance the music and not take away from it. Part of doing this is being a good communicator. Communicating with your audience is all a part of bringing out your personality in your announcing style.

Figure out who you are and what you are all about. Bring this out in your announcing style. Your audience wants to know who you are! They want to feel like you are their good friend playing the music they want to hear. It really is true. You’ll find this out, especially when people call you on the phone. They will talk to you like you have been friends forever. This is because they know who you are by the way you have been communicating with them. Each one of us is a unique individually. Find out who you are and communicate that to your audience.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shwetha October 17, 2011 at 1:47 am

really awesome information to get a radio deejay


Kannan October 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Nice explanation but still something think to leave me away from radio jockey and little doubts remaining .


Agni January 17, 2012 at 6:10 am

please send me ur contact details plz


dik.ahir June 18, 2012 at 7:49 am

I am dik(shraddha)……and 19 year old.
I am from gujrat……my dream…..i become a rj.
And allso my voice………like 5year baby…..very sweet……..plz help me


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