1. Listen and Learn.
Radio is changing every single day and some of the best teachings come from actually listening to other announcers. I’m not asking you to copy them, but listen to what they do. You might like the way certain announcers do things, tactics they use for connection, how they integrate the stations music or their generic style. The announcer you will one day become is made up of those announcers that have influenced you along the way.
2. Seek Feedback (but not too much).
I talk about it a lot on the Air Heads Podcast that Feedback plays a key role in your development. There is another component to that statement though and it’s not to seek too much of it. Have you ever heard the term “Too many cooks in the Kitchen spoils the meal”? Well in radio it’s exactly the same.
See Content Directors around the country always have a different views on how to create great radio, none are any more correct than the other it just comes down to perception. You can imagine getting too much feedback might be confusing so just pick 1 or 2 mentors to work with you along the way and stick with them.
3. Apply that Feedback
There is no point seeking feedback if you are not going to action the points you get back from your mentor or a Content Director. Remember Feedback comes from a place of encouragement and empowerment and will only help your develop into a better announcer.
The Key to feedback is to try not change everything in one foul swoop, you just can’t – it will drive you up the wall. Just attack one point at a time and once you have perfected that then shift your focus.
You’ve probably heard me talk about flying hours alot on The Air Heads Podcast too and there’s nothing more important than this.
A champion football player doesn’t become elite just turning up on the weekend, it’s the hours he/she puts in behind the scenes that builds the foundation for his successful career. As an announcer it’s the flying hours that will allow you to hone your skills and experiment with what works and what doesn’t.
5. Take Risks
Some of the best radio I have been involved with over the journey is off the back of throwing out the rule book (once I’ve read the rules) and trying different things.
The beautiful thing about this industry is you get another shot after a tactic fails or a talk break falls flat.
You will learn more from your failures than you will you success stories.
6. Air Check Yourself (Be honest)
One of the best way to develop is airchecking your own work. I’m not talking about listening too it and saying “Geeeez I’m good, just ask me”! You have to listen from a constructive perspective. Always be asking the question – “What else could I have done with that break to make it better?”
Listen for these things – Word economy, length of break, creativity, speed and Clarity.
7. Shut out external noise
This is one of the hardest things to do as an announcer. Believe me in your career there will be plenty of external noise that will present itself, you just have to take the constructive criticism and throw out the feedback that comes from the people that don’t have your best interests at heart. After some time in the game you’ll spot those people pretty easily.
8. Keep your little Victories
From positive feedback from Content Directors, Job interview letters and nice comments from your listeners it’s important that you file and keep all of the little Victories along the way.
This will serve you well later in your career when the chips are down (it’s not all tulips and roses – there will be tough times too). It’s always great to look back on the Victories you have enjoyed along the way to draw inspiration from.
9. Make note of the lessons learnt
As much as you will have some little victories along the way you will also have some time moments that will prove to be valuable lessons in your career.
If you have read the Air Heads book you would have read about a friend of mine called Mike Zon. Mike has worked with me at every radio station in my career reminding me that while in the studio the MIC IS ON! It was a very important lesson I learnt early in my career while I was working at Magic FM/ 5RM in South Australia.
For the full story down load the digital version of Airheads – A guide to great radio
10. Apply for Jobs
Applying for jobs is another great way to develop your skill set in radio. There’s a few great benefits to applying for industry jobs.
– It gets you infront of the industry people that are doing the hiring. It puts you on their radar.
– It’s a great opportunity to ask for some feedback off the back of an unsuccessful application
– It’s an opportunity to start building a relationship with people in the industry.
It gives you the experience of going through the job hunting process which will give you valuable experience for later in your career.