How To Get On The Radio
The steps for how to get on the radio is not easy. You're going to have to put in a little legwork to get there. There are the obvious routes of a short-term professional school or a college or university where you may be able to weasel your way into a thankless role spinning records or as a news reporter covering a student government meeting for a feature piece. If you don't have the luxury of youth or the means to quit your job and pursue your dream of being the next Howard Stern or Ryan Seacrest, here are some steps that will help you stand out from the crowd and just maybe get your foot in the door.
- Whether you want to work at a news desk or as a disc jockey, the first thing you need to do is practice reading out loud (preferably newspaper content). It sounds silly and like something out of "The Sims," but the most important part of radio is sounding credible. Do you like listening to a news anchor who stumbles over every word? Probably not. You will quickly find that not many stations will take a chance on you. You should also make it a point to read through the major stories in newspapers and magazines every day (i.e. "The New York Times," "Wall Street Journal," "USA Today," "Time," "Sports Illustrated," etc.).
- When you feel comfortable talking about news/sports stories, you should practice rewriting some of the bigger stories as fifteen or 30 second stories. The ability to take lengthy news stories and condense them into something suitable for radio will prove to be an invaluable asset regardless which part of the industry you go into.
- After you have familiarized yourself with global, national and local events, it's time to put together five minute newscasts. Use some of the stories you've put together and compile a five minute news script that includes global, national and local news, a commercial, sports news and weather, preferably in that order. Spread your stories out evenly and don't spend too much time on weather.
- When you've put together your award-winning newscast, it's time to record yourself reading it. All you need is a standard tape recorder. If you insist on getting fancy you can get a microphone for your iDevice. Even if you're the only person who will be listening to the recording, you may still find that you're a little nervous at first. That's perfectly normal and you'll get used to it. You just need to practice and get comfortable around a microphone. When you listen to the replay of your newscast, take notes. Things to listen for include pace, volume, diction, clarity and confidence. Remember, at the end of the day you are merely relaying information. You don't have to make anything up on the spot.
- After you record that perfect newscast, hang on to the tape or CD. At this point you've definitely put in more work than half of the people applying for a standard job as a news/sports reporter, anchor or disc jockey at a small station. You're well on your way to radio greatness. Bundle this up with your resume and submit it to the station of your choice. Be sure to make copies of your tape, as you probably won't be getting it back. If you get the job, congratulations! If you don't, don't be discouraged; it's a tough business. Simply call the station, tell them thanks for the opportunity and inquire what you could have done better.