Presenting Tip # 8

In Presenter Tip 6, we covered Word Economy & read the story about Irene winning at the bingo.

As a music-based radio presenter, your main job is keep people listening.

The beauty of finding a story that has more details than you need is that sometimes, you can use this to your advantage by utilising something called a Crunch & Roll or Hook & Tease.

A Crunch & Roll is the technique of speaking between non-stop songs and having the ability to finish what you’re saying before the vocalist in the next track starts singing – Harder than you think!

Many presenters use this type of link to grab/hook the listeners attention and tease what they have coming up later in the show.

By using Irene again, an example of this could be;

*ending of song*

Coming up, we’re going to be talking about a woman called Irene who had one of the most memorable birthdays ever & I’ll play you some *artist A* & *artist B*, straight after *song name* from *artist* on *station*

*Next artist starts singing*

By doing this, you can set yourself up to move on and present the link we created in Presenter Tips 6.

This is a tricky technique to do & there have been many times I’ve tried it only to find I’ve “crashed the vocal” or finished my sentence after they’ve started singing. When that happens, it sounds awful but when it works – it sounds like you’re a wizard!

Presenting Tip # 7

In Radio, there are many types of formats. These describe the main type of content that would be broadcast on a station.

Three of the more common formats that you may have heard of are;

  • Sports Radio (TalkSport)
  • News Radio (LBC, BBC Radio 5 Live)
  • Music Radio (Capital, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports XTRA)

One radio format I’ve always loved is Music Radio. Whether it’s Clyde 1, Capital FM, Kisstory or Scotland’s newest station, PURE Radio, I can always find something to listen to.

The one thing that draws me to these stations are the presenters – their passion for the product is fantastic and we can all learn something from it.

If you’re wanting to work at a music-based station, one thing I would advise you to do is become passionate about the music the station plays.

There’s nothing worse than tuning in to a radio station and hearing a presenter “not care” about the next track they’re playing. To be honest, you may have heard the brand-new Selena Gomez or Jax Jones tune 50 times in the past week, but it might be the first time the listener has ever heard it, so your job is to make the listener want to keep listening!

In previous tips, I’ve told you all about knowing your audience. This ties in well with Music Passion because if you’re playing a song that doesn’t fit with a certain demographic, they will more than likely change station.

An example of an OK link could be;

“… Coming up I’ll be telling you all about how to *insert ridiculously boring topic here* after Jax Jones”

In some people’s eyes, that might be a good link (It’s not) but look at it again & analyse it through a programme director (PD) or presenter’s eyes.

What’s wrong with that link?

  1. What’s the name of the song?
  2. Has it been in the UK charts?
  3. If it’s been out for a while, are there any relevant facts you can tell the listener about
  4. Is the topic you’re going to be talking about relevant to the audience you’re speaking to?

If you don’t provide the listener with a reason to listen to the song and to stay listening to you, they will turn you off!

One song I really don’t like is Pitbull – Timber.

As radio is a “performing art”, If I was to play this, I would throw all my feelings aside and put on the best “performance” I could.

That link would sound something like this;

“… In the next 10 minutes I’ll be playing you some Pink and a bit of Lewis Capaldi, but who doesn’t love this! It’s the ultimate party tune & he’s the only man I can think of that could rhyme Kodak with Kodak. This is Pitbull with Timber on *station name*”

On the other hand, a song I really like at the moment is Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy – Own It.

I tweeted him a few weeks ago to say it was one of the ebst produced tracks I’d heard in 2019, he replied by saying “Thank you” – This could give me some content to use for my link.

If I hadn’t had that interaction & I’m on-air looking to bring some music passion for that song, it could sound something like this;

“… I’ve got some Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi on the way for you but first, this is the BRAND-NEW one from Stormzy, he’s teamed up with Ed Sheeran & Burna Boy for it & I think you’re gonna love this. From his BRAND-NEW album, Heavy is the Head, it’s called ‘Own It’ on *station name*”

However, if I try to inject that interaction into the link with the passion, it could turn out like this;

“… Coming up in the next 10 minutes, I’ve got some Lizzo and Post Malone for you, but last week I tweeted this guy saying how much I loved this song, he tweeted my back saying thank you, so I think that makes us best friends now! This is the brand new one from Stormzy & I think you’ll love it as much as me. This is “Own It” on *station name*”

Depending on how long you’re link has to be and whether you’re talking up to the vocal (or hitting the post), you don’t always need to rhyme off every collaborator for a song.

As long as you get the necessary information in there and show that you really like the song, you’re on to a winner!

Give this a try the next time you’re on-air. It might just make a listener become a fan of how you present.

Presenting Tip # 6

What is word economy?

It’s the art of using less words to get your point across.

One thing I noticed when I was presenting my own radio shows was that admittedly, I wasn’t the best at this because sometimes I didn’t prepare as much as I should have!

By preparing properly, you have the chance to look at your notes, bullet points & stories, and reword it so it can be understood by anyone.

Word economy is a skill that you will need to build up over time and a skill I am still trying to master to this day!

Let’s say you find a story that you want to share with your listeners, but there are far too many details to share in a short link. The simple and most effective things you can do is take out the details that don’t need to be there and reword it so that anybody can hear what you’re saying and understand it.

For example:

“This week, a woman called Irene has celebrated her 100th birthday by winning the jackpot at her local bingo hall in Glasgow. She took home the grand prize of £250,000 after getting a full house at 8pm on Tuesday.”

The story is good, but the content would sound strange on-air if you were to read it straight off the page because;

  1. It’s written like a news story.
  2. There’s a lot of information there – Some important, some not important.
  3. Can you put your own spin on this?

We’ll cover point  3 in future post, but for now, let’s make a note of the most important information.

  • This week
  • Irene
  • Glasgow (local?)
  • Wins £250,000 (Jackpot)
  • 100th Birthday

From these bullet points, you can see the full story in short form & structure your link using word economy;

“This week a local woman called Irene has hit the headlines because she won the £250,000 jackpot at the Bingo! Why is it a headline? She won it on her 100th Birthday!”

Immediately, you can see (and hear) that you’ve got the most important points over quickly and most importantly your listener can still understand it!

Presenting Tips # 5

In the past 3 years of working in the Radio industry, one of my jobs has been teaching students how to get started in Radio. This would often mean giving people their first experience of being in a Radio studio environment, which can be a strange mix of being excited AND frightened at the same time.

The first time I was taken in to the studios of Radio Clyde on a Bauer Academy course, I sat in front of the microphone and zero noise came from my mouth. I was frozen with fear, which is strange because I normally love the sound of my own voice!

This was an experience that I was able to use to relate to the students I was coaching on how to use their voice to their best abilities as a Radio presenter.

When you’re presenting a radio show, there are many things that can run through your head. You might feel a need to “perform” and act like someone you’re not (BE AUTHENTIC). Other times, you might become nervous if you think there are lots of people listening to you at any given time but the one thing that I personally use to get around this fear is a technique called “narrowcasting”.

Narrowcasting is based around the idea that you’re talking to just ONE person. This might give the listener a better connection to you & it’s a technique that I’ve heard be put to good use on national platforms because the audience feels like they already know you and they might be experiencing whatever you’re speaking about.

For some, Narrowcasting doesn’t work – It’s down to you to make the decision about whether it’s for you.

Presenting Tips 4

Presenting Tips # 4

One of the golden rules for broadcasting is that you need to be authentic.

Had a bad day? The person listening might be in the same position.

Made a mistake? Everyone does, we’re only human.

Got the name of a song or an artist wrong? I do it all the time!

Don’t be afraid to show your personality and have a laugh on-air (within reason).

One of the best tips I got on being authentic from someone who’s had over 15 years of experience is when you’re presenting you show, you could speak as if you’re talking to one of your mates down the pub (minus the swearing, of course).

By showing your personality and the fact that you’re only human, it gives the listener a stronger connection to you, it makes the listener be able to relate to you & makes them feel like they’ve known you for a long time.

Sometimes, what I like to do is produce social media content to work hand-in-hand with the radio show because these days, Radio is no longer a one-dimensional medium.

Examples of this can be;

  • Shoot a video before the show (in the studio, at home) giving a sneak peek into what you’ll be talking about and what artists you’ll be playing.
  • Do you have any prominent features as part of the show? Film it.
  • Do you host a specialist show? Curate your own Spotify/Apple Music playlist for people to get an insight into your music taste.
  • Enable listeners to listen to your show whenever they like! Get the recording of your show, edit out the music (for licensing purposes) and create a podcast! Personally, I love to listen to Australian radio station KIIS 101.1’s Breakfast show – Jase & PJ’s Podcast. Give it a listen if you can!

In 2019 & heading into 2020, the world is really your oyster.

Be authentic, be yourself and connect with your listeners because it will help you out in the long term.

Presenting Tips # 3

We covered this slightly in the last presenting tip, but this saying does what it says on the tin – If you fail to prepare anything for your show, it will be a disaster!

When I first started presenting, I would meticulously plan every single hook, tease & content link I would be doing throughout the show, down to the second (I even made my own Power Intro’s and Sweepers!). This wasn’t a very clever thing to do because if something went wrong with the system, a song was dropped from the system or the adverts ran longer than planned, it would throw everything off!

The most effective method I use to prepare consists of the following;

The day/night before, I will sit on my phone or laptop and look through all of the major news sources, including tabloid newspapers, forums (mumsnet, believe it or not) and social media, looking for some stories that are light-hearted, peculiar or make me laugh.

– I will open a word document & note down each headline

– After reading the story more than once, I will write bullet points under each headline based around the most important parts of the story that I want to talk about & also make a judgement call on whether the story is going to be happy, sad, strange, outrageous etc

– I will often include a link to the story under the relevant bullet points so I can refresh my memory before the show or during the songs before I am talking about it

– I will also research the artists that I’m playing, because if I can sprinkle in some information about what they’ve been up to recently or let the listener know when they’ll be coming to town on their latest tour, the listener will get better value from your show

Having worked in production on Breakfast shows and phone-in shows before, the topic of preparation is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Without preparing your content, you’re destined to deliver a sub-par performance.

Presenting Tips # 2

When you send in your demo to a radio station, one of the MOST IMPORTANT things you should do is make sure you KNOW. YOUR. AUDIENCE.

Let’s paint a picture. 

You’ve landed a gig on a radio station that’s aimed at the target demographic of 40 and upwards. You’re on-air and you’re going to be talking out of ABBA into an ad break. The topic you’re covering is what happened during the latest episode of Love Island. How long do you think it will be before people start to turn to a different station, the numbers drop and the boss gives you your P45?

Right, I understand it wouldn’t be as brutal as that – but crazier things have happened!

If you’re serious about wanting to be a radio presenter, one of the most important things you need to do is listen to the radio station you want to present on.

What do you think you could bring to the station? How creative can you be? How well do you think you would fit into their schedule? Could you hold the listeners attention between the songs?

Like the graphic points out, would your granny want to know about Love Island? Of course she doesn’t. More often than not your granny/mum/dad/uncle/anyone above 40 won’t care about what people get up to in a villa somewhere in Spain.

That topic would be more suited to a radio station with a target demographic of 16-30 & plays the latest Ariana Grande and Post Malone tracks.

This is where Radio and Podcasting are two totally different mediums.

If you’re starting a podcast, GREAT. You can sit and speak about any topic you like because you will more than likely be aiming for a particular audience, but if you’re wanting to get that job in radio, you NEED to understand what the listeners want, what they respond to best and why this appeals to them.

Main points to remember are;
– Listen to the station you want to be on
– Take their target demographic into account when you’re preparing your demo
– If you get a slot, research the content you want to use carefully & make sure it’s appropriate for the listener
– Use your common sense


Presenting Tips # 1

When you’re driving to work & listening to the radio, you might sit and think “that person sounds far too happy for 8am”.

More often than not, this IS the case because let’s be honest…. Being on the radio is the best job in the world, BUT, sometimes that’s not the case.

A presenter might be tired, they might have had a disagreement with their co-presenter/producer/management OR they might even have things going on in their personal life that even the toughest of us would struggle to function normally after.

The reason you would more than likely hear a presenter sound happy is because…. THEY SMILE!

Through presenting and coaching students over the past 3 years, it’s one of those tricks I’ve used to prove a valuable point. In a moment where the student has doubted their abilities I’ve always encouraged them to try it. When they do, the penny drops – They can hear a big difference in how they sound and they gain a small boost of confidence from it.

You may not think something so simple can work, but there’s a huge difference between speaking with a frown and speaking with a smile. Aside from your posture (which helps your breathing), a smile opens the face up and allows a more positive sound to come from your face.

Have you ever been walking down the road and someone has smiled at you? What do you do? You smile back!

Next time you’re presenting a radio show, a podcast or even having a conversation with someone – SMILE while you’re speaking.

You might just make their day.

Never underestimate the power of a smile.

Easy?! You men have no idea what we’re dealing with.
Easy?! You men have no idea what we’re dealing with.

The Choice of Champions

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