If you’ve ever listened to the radio, you’ve heard a Radio DJ. They are the ones making us laugh with stories or bits, telling us about the weather or an accident and, most importantly, playing our favorite songs for us. So what do these charismatic people actually do as a Radio DJ and how does someone become a Radio DJ?
Continue reading to find out!
What is a Radio DJ and What does a Radio DJ do?
A Radio DJ is an on-air personality that plays music and entertains listeners with segments of news, music discussions, interviews and more.
When they are on air Radio DJ’s:
- Play and discuss music
- Conduct interviews with musicians and others
- Talk about news and current events
- Give traffic and weather reports
- Attend concerts or events in the community
- Advertise for the station or its sponsors
What Kind of People Make Good Radio DJs?
Since Radio DJs are broadcasting live to listeners, they need to be able to remain calm, especially in high pressure or unexpected situations. Live radio is unpredictable, so being able to think quickly and remain composed is a must. Multitasking is also a crucial skill for a Radio DJ.
Radio DJ’s need to be charismatic and suitable for the audience. For example, if you want to be a specialist DJ playing a specific genre of music, you need to be a fountain of knowledge and have a true passion for that specific genre. Specialist DJ’s are often prominent members of niche music communities. If you want to be a more general / ‘daytime’ DJ your personality and energy must be magnetic and really draw people in.
What do Radio Stations Look for in a Potential Radio DJ?
Employers will expect candidates to possess the following:
- Public Speaking – Being a comfortable public speaker with strong verbal communication skills is vital
- Strong interpersonal skills – a Radio DJ must develop relationships with their listeners and the people they interact with on a daily basis.
- Technical knowledge – a radio studio contains a great deal of equipment and computers, being able to identify and work with this equipment is key.
- Ability to Research – Radio DJs need to fill their air time talking about a variety of subjects, so any DJ must have the ability to research topics to discuss on air.
- A community member / leader – Many radio DJ’s are big characters within the music scene they want to represent on the radio.
- Music Knowledge / Passion – If you want to be a music specialist make sure you know your tunes!
What Qualifications or Experience Might Help Get Someone Become a Radio DJ?
Like most professions, there are exceptions to every rule, and just because you don’t have everything on this list doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a job as a Radio DJ. However, to have the best chance for success, this is what a radio station might look for when hiring:
- Having a Bachelor’s Degree
- Many colleges and universities offer degrees in broadcasting, communications or journalism. All of these are excellent options when hoping to pursue a career in radio.
- Completing Internships
- Music Internships are hands-on learning at a radio station. You’ll get to see the job up close and make connections with other industry professionals.
- Many colleges have campus radio stations & there are thousands of community and online radio stations. These are excellent places to start out and get practice. Any work experience you can find in a radio station or even music industry jobs or anything that shows your passion for music will be a big help towards getting a foot in the door at a radio station.
- Having a reel
- When applying for jobs in radio, the stations will want to hear your on-air sound, you’ll want to compile a reel with your best sound bites and submit it along with your resume.If you are planning to record your reel at home make sure to use a decent mic, a mic screen and the best recording equipment possible so you sound as good as you can!
- You should also curate a playlist showing off your music taste, your ability to filter Spotify playlist submissions and A&R skills will is a great way to impress radio station managers!
Every radio station will have it’s own set of requirement but ultimately it’s your passion and personality that will make the most difference. Get stuck in and find some work experience (even unpaid at the weekends or after work!). It’s a challenging career path but a rewarding one too!