When I was a kid, I always wanted to become a radio host – just like the hosts I listened to every day who sounded cool and fun. Sure, to be successful on air you need to have more than charisma; you also need to be lucky! But even without either of these things, with practice, it’s possible to excel. If there is one thing I’ve learned working in the internet radio business, hard work goes a long way.I’ve noticed it in my own shows. As time went on, I became increasingly more confident on air, so much so that I didn’t need to think a lot about what I had to say before turning on the mic to broadcast. Still, there are plenty of things you can do to transform yourself into a better radio host. And it’s never too early (or late) to learn. Whether you haven’t even started your internet radio station or you’re an experienced presenter, below are some of the most important questions (and answers) on how to be a great radio host and presenter.
What makes a good radio presenter?Let’s consider what qualities make a good radio presenter. Think of your favourite radio hosts. What do they have in common that makes you love their shows? Below are some of the most common radio presenting skills or qualities that would be worth emulating.A good radio presenter is what I called CARFIK:
1. ConfidentConfidence is one of the most attractive qualities in a person, and it can be a great quality for many aspects of life. As a successful radio host, you should be confident about the things you talk about on your show. Don’t question yourself every time you turn on the mic to speak. Nobody wants to listen to a shy presenter. It’s similar to courting. If a man approaches a woman and is shy and can’t form a single sentence, dinner and a movie are probably out of the question. But with confidence, the chances of a date go up. It’s the same with internet presenters. Confident presenters are more likely to attract more listeners, and entice them to come back for more.*By confidence I don’t mean arrogance. Confidence means you are not afraid to speak your mind on air and admit when you are wrong.
2. AuthenticFrom my point of view, this is the most important quality of all. It takes courage to be authentic, but being yourself is the most important gift you can give yourself and others. If you are authentic and you stand by your values and beliefs, people will respect you for who you truly are. That will make your life easier as you won’t need to try to be someone you are not (which, by the way, when people fake it, others feel it). Be passionate about the topics you present or the music you play and let the fans fall in love with you.
3. Respectful towards their listenersBe respectful with your listeners and listen to their views and concerns even when you don’t agree with them. Respect towards your listeners creates a sense of trust and a healthy relationship. For example, if your show starts at 8 am, don’t be late, as this shows that you have no respect towards the people who listen to your show. If one day you arrive late, that’s OK; apologise and move on. Also, if you communicate with them on social media or on air, try to understand their point of view. Respect is about accepting the other person as they are and not trying to change them. A common mistake strong-willed radio presenters make is that they think they are better than their listeners and act like it. That creates separation between them and their listeners and soon enough they say something that is not accepted by the public and they experience a backlash. Read here the 10 most common mistakes people make with their internet radio station.
4. FriendlyWho doesn’t like a friendly person? One of the reasons people like specific radio hosts is because they feel close to them – like they truly know them. Being friendly and kind with your listeners is a great way to form a genuine connection. Talk to your audience like you know them. Be open and honest. Also, listening to the radio is mostly a solitary experience. Most listeners will listen to your show alone, so talk to them in the first person.
5. InteractiveBeing interactive with your listeners on social media or through your radio station’s chat room is quite essential if you want to keep your listeners engaged and make them feel acknowledged. Nobody expects you to answer all the questions they ask, but you can selectively answer the most interesting ones. You can answer some questions live on air and other questions directly on social media or by chat. Interactivity is a key ingredient in forming a strong listener bond.
6. Knowledgeable (do your research on the topics you are covering or the interviewees you are hosting)Being knowledgeable about the topics you cover builds credibility around your name and show. First, it’s good to understand your audience so that you are able to share information and music they will like. Second, always do research about the things you want to talk about on your show. Some would argue that a good radio presenter talks about the things that inspire them and plays the music they like. I completely agree. However, I also believe that it’s always good to know who your listener is and what they like most from your show, in order to offer them more of that! Finally, be sure to check out our guide on selecting interesting topics for your online radio programmes.
How can I improve my radio presenting skills?A good technique is to realise what works and what doesn’t. One way to do that is to record your show and listen as if you are a fan. What didn’t you like? Maybe it’s the pace of your speech, a repetition of specific words or phrases that you weren’t aware of, the quality of the sound, or the sound of your voice. By listening to your own show you will find out all those things you need to improve in order to become the radio presenter you always dreamt of.One last thought: to be a good radio presenter you definitely need to have a good and clear sound. Your voice as well as the music that you play should be crisp, clear, and engaging. Consider using a good microphone and good quality MP3s. Experiment with the position of your microphone so that you find the best possible distance from the mic. If you have a condenser mic, it will pick up every noise you make with your mouth, so figure out the best distance from the mic and level of volume so that you minimise annoying sounds.That’s it! I hope you found the above tips useful and please feel free to share your own tips in the comments below!
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