7 Mistakes to Avoid When You Present on the Radio
Hey, are you new with internet radio broadcasting? Pull your seat a little closer. There...
The industry is rife with opportunity. I'm mean there are people out there, dying to hear your radio. You'll find them on internet directories, checking out multiple radio streams, searching for quality entertainment.
Most radio streams don't have what it takes to be truly phenomenal.
They are making some basic mistakes, some of which, we’ll cover in this post:
#1. NOT HAVING A BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Radio stations have 24 hours...and each second must be filled with content. Silence is usually called dead air, and it's a turn off for many listeners.
Well, some stations run only for 18 hours, but the point is you need to plan out each second of your broadcast day.
The easy way...and it's dead simple...is to put all your songs in one long playlist and let your automation software do the selection & playback.
But there is a problem with this…
“Humans get bored easily.”
I for one, do. After listening to an all-music station, I tend to get bored with the music.
Even look at TV stations! Surely, they don’t broadcast the same show all day long.
There is variety, and people appreciate it.
Think of creating unique shows for your web radio station and avoiding this radio mistake. What’s more, there are numerous radio programs you can syndicate for free.
#2. WINGING IT
Do you prepare your shows?
If you said "no," here is a follow-up question: What would a little preparation do?
Planning is a critical part of making high-quality content.
You need to research topics you’ll be talking about. For instance, if you plan to touch on Justin Beiber’s wedding tuxedo predicament, go deep into your research. Find out how much his suit costs, who designed it, and why people on Instagram are saying it's ugly.
It’s very professional to write scripts for your music shows, talk shows, drop-ins, etc.
#3. BEING OUT OF TOUCH
Your listeners are more than your fans. Radio listeners need to feel a connection with their favorite radio stations.
Once a radio listener falls in love with your station, it’s very hard for them to consider your competitors. Anything out there no matter how good it sounds to you will pale in comparison in their eyes.
Now, most stations fail to make a human connection with their fans. Sadly to them, listeners are figures they see in the statistics section of their back-end.
How can you turn this around? How do you make listeners part of your family?
It begins with having a person behind the music. The voice of the station. The host should be there to educate, inform and entertain the listener.
“You may not have time.” Yeah, I get that but you can try voice tracking. It makes your show sound like there is someone in the studio 24/7 queuing up the music.
Remember also to speak directly with the listener. Use the word “You” a lot when addressing them. For instance, “welcome to today's show, I hope you're set to be thoroughly entertained. This show is all about you."
I know you can’t exactly see your listeners, but try to picture them as if they are in the studio with you.
If you are a practical kind of person not afraid of being deemed loco, have a cardboard cut out of a life-sized person, or strap a mannequin in a spare seat. Speak to this fictitious entity.
The worst mistake you can do is treating your listeners like numbers on a computer screen.
#4. TERRIBLE SOUND
It's still possible in this age of blazing internet speeds to encounter radio streams that are glitchy and buffer after every 10 seconds.
It’s a bad radio mistake...and you’ll lose listeners. You need a reliable stream that's clear, crisp, and buffer-free.
Some people will tune in with their mobile devices. And they may be on limited costly data plans. So think of offering them a lower quality stream (for instance 64 Kbps) to ensure they save their precious data.
Sound production is also key especially when recording your vocals.
Make your studio as quiet as possible (soundproofing to eliminate background noises such as passing cars).
You also need a microphone that captures crisp sound. The way you speak and enunciate words is also key to being understandable. You can check out ways to improve your radio voice here.
Also, think of how you can add audio compression to get that radio sound that is associated with FM radio stations.
#5: POOR INTERVIEW SKILLS: Impatience & poor listening skills
You might be thinking of inviting guests for interviews. That’s commendable. You'll be adding value to your broadcasts, and you can even upload your interviews on YouTube or turn them into a podcast series.
When you finally convince someone to sit and answer your questions, here is the proper way to run the interview:
Don't cut off the interviewee in the middle of their sentence. Let them complete their line of thought.
Listen intently with razor focus, and nod or smile when it’s appropriate. You can polish up your interview skills by checking out these interview tips. Also, I have three interviews for you to watch:
If you watch a master interviewer at work, you may get the impression that whatever they are doing is effortless and easy or that anyone can do it.
But a lot is going on, and you should take your time to note all that's happening. For instance, does the host use gestures? Do they interrupt a lot?
#6. MAKING YOUR SHOWS JUST ABOUT THE MUSIC
Here is another mistake to avoid with your internet radio station...see a lot of internet radio stations bank on music alone for success.
They don’t even have jingles or sweepers. It’s one song after another in a continuous endless loop!
In this day & age music is available on many platforms, be it SoundCloud, Pandora, Apple Music, MixCloud, Spotify, YouTube, etc.
If listeners can create their playlists, radio stations have to do more than play songs.
Play your music, but ensure you’re adding value to your listeners. For instance, take this short example:
Show Title: The Covers Hour
Link: “Oh man, what a wonderful song. Israel recorded it in 1988 at 3:00 am. You’d think it was an instant hit! The original record was filed away for five years.
Song 2: Higher Love – Whitney Houston
Now it’s not possible to link every song with a well-researched piece. However, try to introduce some songs by stating the songtitle and artist name.
The point is that a music show with extra content besides music is better than a cleverly crafted playlist.
You can also incorporate a little interactivity by asking listeners to submit song requests. Once I came across a station asking listeners to send in their name and their country of origin. Then, the host would give everyone a live shout-out on air.
#7. Robotic Voices
Okay, if you have never used robotic voices before, here are various scenarios where radio stations may choose to use them.
#1) When they are available in the radio broadcasting software
Some radio automation programs allow you to use an automatic robotic voice to announce the song title & artist name, weather, or time.
# 2) Making announcements
I've also encountered a station using a robotic voice to ask people to donate. The problem was that the robotic voice sounded too generic, too artificial.
There are solid reasons to use robotic voices. And it’s really easy as you only need a Text-to-speech converter. But try as much as possible to avoid a voice that sound’s utterly robotic.
Instead, opt for voices that sound a bit natural if you’re going down this path.
Technology in this field has advanced so much that robotic voices are starting to sound almost human. Check out the voices at NaturalReaders.com or even try IBM’s Watson Text To Speech.
Better yet, get your mic and record everything with your good old natural voice.
7 Deadly Radio Mistakes: Final Word
Avoid these costly mistakes, and you'll be one step closer to building a great radio station that attracts many listeners.
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