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How to break into the radio industry

How to break into the radio industry

Published on 07.09.21 at 15.32 by Virtuoso.

So you’ve got your heart set on the lofty heights of your own primetime slot on a big station? That’s amazing, but you need a plan of action for how you’re going to get there. It’s not likely to be easy, nor is it always glamorous, but, with any luck, all that hard work is going to pay off.

One thing you’ll definitely need is a demo tape to blow away any prospective employers. It’s got to really grab the attention of any station you send it to, so make it snappy. Pick some example tracks that suit your style. Introduce the tracks you’d play but don’t waste time playing them in full; just short clips of them will suffice here. You should consider the audience and tone of the station and how you’ll fit in, but you still need to let your real personality shine through - they’re not looking for a cookie-cutter copy of a current presenter.

Presenting a radio show

For most people, their first taste of broadcasting is in some voluntary form, such as college or hospital radio. Start out here. You’ll learn the day-to-day operations of a station and how everything and everyone works. At first, be ready to take on odd jobs and errands but consider this as experience and a key stepping-stone. Eventually, you can wind up in a more broadcast-focused role.

Another way to get your foot in the door is taking on an internship at a commercial station. Even though it’s unpaid work, it’s not always easy to land these roles. The key here, like with going for any intern role, is to focus on what you can do for them rather than what they can do for you. Stations are inundated with people who feel as though they are entitled to get their own show. Write an email about how much you can add to their current output and show off your passion. You may need to keep plugging away at lots of different stations before you can get a position anywhere, but keep going and don’t be afraid to follow up with the same people after a few weeks with no reply.

DJ on a local radio station

In today’s age of internet-focused radio, do you actually need the big companies to start making waves in the industry? The barrier for entry has certainly never been lower. You can get going with just a laptop and a microphone really. There are plenty of microphones available for the budget-minded presenter, such as the £119 Blue Yeti. A few extra pieces of equipment like DJ controllers and mixers are handy to have but don’t think you need all the gear early on.

You can stream your show live on YouTube, Twitch, or a specialist radio platform like Or, if you’d rather, you can record the whole thing beforehand and edit it up. Whichever way you choose, you’ll need to stand out in a very crowded market. Build a unique identity with how you put together your show and branding. Visual branding can be easily overlooked in audio-based media but getting everything on your socials to be clear and coherent is crucial. Your social media presence should be popping off and you should drive the interaction with fans as much as possible. Get them involved, whether it’s shoutouts, requests, or call-ins.

Having no listeners on radio

At first, like everyone, you’ll find it slow. You can’t expect massive numbers right from day one. The key here is perseverance. Even if only 3 people are listening, you should be performing like there are thousands tuned in just to hear your voice. Make it super special for the small crowds at the start and, with any luck, they’ll tell their mates.

So you’ve got yourself into a position where you’re putting out a show. But how are you going to make sure your show is the most electric must-listen show on the radio? B.Traits knows how to get the audience on-side and deliver perfect shows week in, week out. If you want to learn how she rules the radio, check out her video course HERE.