Becoming A Communicator – Lesson Four

Your main goal as a radio announcer is to communicate with your audience. Whether your telling them the name of the last song you played or the facts about a late breaking news story, you must communicate it to you audience in a fashion they will understand! Be yourself when you’re on the air. Talk the way you talk in everyday life. If you don’t normally say “We’re rockin’ the house down tonight!” don’t start saying it just because you’re on the radio. Listen to the best announcers and you will see that they are talking to you in a one to one fashion. They want you to feel like they put together a million dollar station just so could listen to the music and everything they have to say is directed right at you! This should be your goal as an announcer too. Talk with each person in your audience on a one to one basis. Most radio shows are built around five basic ingredients. Some announcers add more to their shows, but these five basic ingredients will always be present. Those five ingredients are:

  • Time
  • Temperature (weather)
  • Station call letter and sell line
  • Song title and artist
  • Your on air name

Let’s look at each of these points individually and then we will put them all together in one radio break.


The time of day is a vital ingredient in any radio show. A lot of people tune into the radio just to find out what time it is. This is especially true in the early mornings or late afternoons. You wouldn’t think so, but there are several different ways to convey the time to your audience. The station you will work for may have one particular way that they want you to give the time. For example, the last station I was working for only wanted the time given digitally. In other words, we could only say, for instance, it’s 9:10 (nine-ten). We could not say it’s ten after nine. How many ways do you think you could say the time 9:40? Well here are some various ways.

“It’s nine-forty.”

“It’s twenty minutes away from ten o’ clock.”

“It’s forty minutes past nine.”

“It’s a little past half after nine.”

“We’re shortly coming up on the ten o’clock hour.”

You could probably think of a half a dozen other ways to give the time. Be creative, but remember to be communicative. Your audience must understand what you are telling them.

Temperature (weather)

Everybody wants to know what the weather is like or is going to be like. They want to know whether they should wear a jacket or bring an umbrella. When you give a weather forecast on the air you don’t have to give it in it’s entirety every time. You could give the temperature along with the time. For example, you could say “9:40 … 35 degrees with cloudy skies.” You have just given a ton of information with that one sentence. Your audience knows the time, that they should wear a coat, and there might be rain or snow today. They learned all of that from one little sentence. That sentence was communicative and one to one. It said something to each individual in your audience. Do you get the idea on how to be a communicator? Get your point across in a communicative one to one fashion! Here are some other ways to give a short forecast.

“50 degrees … we’re looking for a high near 70 today”

“50 degrees with light showers, but the sun should be coming out later on this afternoon.”

“Showers continuing today … 50 right now with a high near 70 today.”

Be creative, be communicative, but by all means get your point across.

Station Call Letter and Sell Line

The station call letters and sell line are vitally important. After all, most stations live and die by the ratings. If your audience doesn’t know what station they are listening to they won’t be able to record it when the rating books are distributed. The station call letters and sell line usually go at the beginning and ending of every break. More than likely, the last words you will say before you go into music will be the station call letters or sell line. A sell line is like: “Radio for the way you live” or “Light rock with less talk.” The station call letters are like: “KBBC” or “MG1200. The sell line and call letters usually go together. Here are some examples.

“KBBC … Light rock with less talk.”

“Light rock with less talk … you’re listening to KBBC.”

You can vary these with the temperature, weather, and time. Again, the main thing to remember is to be a communicative announcer.

Song Title, Artist, and Your On Air Name

All of these are pretty much self explanatory. How many different ways can you say your name, a song title, or an artist? I guess, if you thought about it for a while, you could come up with some pretty creative ways, but they probably wouldn’t be too appropriate to use on the air. Here are some examples of all five of the ingredients put together. I think you will see how they make up a break in a radio show.

“Light Rock … Less Talk. Elton John and “Your Song” on KBBC. 9:40 … 50 degrees with light showers. I’m Nick Nash and coming up we’ll hear from the Eagles and the Guess Who.”

“Elton John … KBBC … Where you always hear Light Rock With Less Talk. Good morning Nick Nash with you. Light showers and 50 outside … coming up in the next hour we’ll hear from the Eagles and the Guess Who.”

Remember, your main goal is to get your point across in a one to one communicative style. Talk with each person in your audience as if they are right there in the room with you. You should be talking only to that one person. Communicate with them. Here are key words you should always use with your audience on a one to one basis.

our … we … let’s … you … I’m … you’re

Using contractions makes you sound much more personable and much more intimate. If you say something like “You are going to win.” you sound to formal instead say “You’re going to win!” This gives off a much more relaxed feeling to your audience. It will draw them into your conversation and make them think you are talking to them alone, on an individual basis. You should try to avoid words like:

everybody … everyone … all of you

These words make you sound like you are talking to a whole bunch of people. Remember, the idea is to draw each person into your conversation for an individual intimate conversation. Be one to one with your audience. I can’t stress this enough. The secret to making it or breaking it in radio is the way you communicate with your audience!

One other major point to remember is to always introduce yourself as “I’m” and not “This is — as in “I’m Nick Nash” not “This is Nick Nash.” Introducing yourself this way will make you sound like a person and not an object as in the “This is” example. I know it’s a small point, but it’s all of these small points that make one big point to help you communicate with your audience on a one to one basis!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ritu September 6, 2011 at 10:55 am

Hello Sir/madam,

i have much interested to become a RJ and i have degree in Journalism and mass communication.
plz let me know how can i achieve my goal to become a RJ. What type of coaching is required??
plz reply on my email id.



pooja patel July 5, 2012 at 3:20 am

good morning sir…

this is pooja from jabalpur,i want to become a rj and i want to do professional training which is provided by many institute,so can u suggest me to choose best institute and any radio channal ,near jabalpur and bhopal.

thank you sir.


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