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How to Become A Better On Air Personality

Mar 10, 2011 at 2:15 AM | Pottsie in Radio
This article is based on a post from several years ago. One of our members, Emmet< was kind enough to post this in our forums. It holds true for anyone that is looking to become an "On Air Personality" (DJ). Whether you're doing it on Terrestrial, Satellite or Internet Radio. Here is what Emmet suggests.

1) KNOW YOUR LIMITS - You are NOT Howard Stern, Bob or Tom, Valentine, Rush or any other major syndicated personality...Don't try to be. Don't copycat someone else's style, and understand the limits of your own talent. This goes hand-in-hand with number 2.

2) LEARN THE BASICS - Before you try any creative radio, you must have the basics down. You have to be able to sound convincing when you say, "That was--this is". You have to be able to give the station slogan a ton of different ways. You have to be able to make every break sound different, even if you're just saying the same thing over and over. If you can do that, you'll sound better than about 80% of the jocks I hear.

3) LOSE YOUR ACCENT - Yes, you have one. Learn to recognize it and get rid of it. I'm not talking about your overall accent (i.e. American, British, Austrailian etc.), I'm talking about your regional accent. I don't know much about accents for the rest of the world, but in the US, there are several accents that stand out...Northern, Southern, New England, Midwestern, Southwester, West Coast, Urban, Rural, Southeaster. Learn them. Learn to speak in all of them and then learn to speak in none of them. Local listeners won't notice if you have the local accent, but if anyone ouside of your area will hear your work, they may notice. Nobody will ever notice if you completely eliminate your accent.

4) LISTEN - Listen to jocks you admire. Listen to national ads. Listen to yourself. You are your own worst critic.

5) PRACTICE - Every day. In the car. At home. Read newspapers outloud. Do whatever you can to improve your skills. Practice breathing. Practice standing and talking. Practice sitting and talking.

6) BE CONVERSATIONAL - Listeners want to hear someone that sounds like their friend or neighber...Not someone that sounds like a top 40 jock in 1970. Stop yelling! It's not important to yell to sound excited. Talk from your gut, not your throat. Never say "all of you". You're not talking to a group, you're talking to ONE person. Put a picture of a friend in fron of you, if it helps.

7) PREPARE - Know what you want to talk about. Develop an outline for each break and stick to it. Don't fly by the seat of your pants. Once you've done it for many years, you may not need to prepare as much. Know the music, know the lifestyle.

8) CHECK YOUR EGO - Radio people have huge egos...Just like any other talent-based industry. Just remember, you are NOT the best. You may be very good, but there's always someone better. Be confident, not cocky.

9) STAY ACTIVE - Most jocks get to a point and think that they're the best, so they stop trying...Then they suck and get fired. Always learn new things, from as many people as you can.

10) DON'T USE CRUTCHES - If you use the same phrase more than once an hour, it's a crutch. It can even be as simple as saying your name too much. This will be a constant battle. Jocks who have been in radio for 20 years still use crutches. Watch out for them.

Absolutely SPOT on advice, I remember my first day broadcasting at a fairly large FM station and I just plain old SUCKED! (Some people say I still do ) But I swear the advice that Emmett gave was given to me and I followed it, maybe not to a T---I copied some people along the way, well borrowed a little from alot of people I admired and thought were good. With that you begin to get a feel for who YOU are behind the microphone and develop a style all your own. I did an Aircheck of everyone of my shows in the beginning and listened to them over and over, made my wife listen until she was ready to divorce me. I made a list of good and bad, she made a list and we compared. I spoke with my peers, asked their advice, took the criticism and improved. Spent time reading everything I could OUT LOUD until it no longer sounded like I was reading .

We will be talking specifically about this subject in up coming articles. We'll talk about branding your station and how to develop a station from the ground up. Use these suggestions with your 'Jocks" to help them get better and to help your station sound better.

Until next time...
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