Figuring out how to start a radio show? Relax, because it is so simple!
Why do I sound so confident? Well, thousands of people have done it. And thousands more will do it, including YOU.
Plus, we have some great tips in today’s blog post. But first, you must be ready to:
- Put in the work.
- Give it your 100%.
- Never quit so easily, because you’re a fighter!
And with that pep talk, let’s start:
What is a radio show?
It’s an audio program that's broadcasted to live listeners. The listeners tune in to the station via its FM or AM channels, satellite, online stream player, mobile app, etc.
You can create a radio show that spans one series, particularly if it's associated with an event such as an upcoming Olympics.
Alternatively, the radio show can have recurring series and go on for many years.
Can you create a radio show without having a radio station?
There are thousands of online radio stations. Creating a station is easy and quick, and if that is what you’re aiming for, learn how to create a web radio station.
If you plan to create a single radio show that’s anywhere from 5 minutes to 4 hours long, you might have a challenge figuring out where to get it played.
Well, don't worry. We'll also talk about ways you can distribute your show.
One easy method is turning it into a podcast or even giving it away for free to internet radio stations that are always on the lookout for new content to entertain their listeners & fill up the broadcast day.
Am I qualified to create a radio show?
Yes, you are!
“What if I have a terrible voice!”
It doesn’t matter. You only need to have a clear voice and be well understood by listeners. The content of your show and its entertainment value comes first.
"What if I don't have any technical experience?"
Producing a radio show has certainly become easier thanks to modern technology. You don't need a dedicated radio studio with microphones, mixers, monitoring speakers, etc.
You can record your show using a cheaply obtained USB microphone or even your smartphone's microphone. But better equipment will make your show more professional.
With the internet and all the information at your fingertips, it's easy to play the role of the researcher, fact-checker, and writer.
People need to be entertained and informed. You can also change lives with your radio show. Inspire future generations, teach a valuable skill, and empower.
Who is my target audience?
In your mind, you should picture your ideal listener. Let's assume that our radio show will be a series titled: “*Avocado the Royal Magical Fruit.”*
For the Avocado series, the ideal listener maybe someone passionate about improving their health. They might be trying to exercise more, frequent the gym, or reduce their meat consumption.
It's vital to form an image of your ideal listener.
Before creating your show, take a moment, and research with the aim of finding out more about your target audience.
Find out what your target listeners know about your topic? Is it next to nothing or a lot?
Examine the information and shows about your topic. Stay updated by offering your listeners the most recent information.
Know which shows they are likely listening to. Regardless if you're creating a radio show or podcast, it's important to prioritize the listener.
9 Steps to Start a Radio Show
1. Choose a format & structure for your show
Radio shows notoriously adhere to set schedules. Or often focus on a particular type of content. For instance, here is how a morning drive show could be segmented:
- 07.50 AM Music
- 08.00 AM Traffic news
- 08.05 AM Ad break
- 08.10 AM Introduce morning guests
- 08.15 AM Music
- 08.25 Interview
Get familiar with broadcast schedules and know how to prepare a broadcast clock for your radio show.
There are many established formats you can delve into including:
Talk, adult contemporary, classic hits, rock, oldies, gospel, comedy, Christian radio, radio dramas, sports talk, weather, education, free-form, conservative, progressive, documentary, among others.
2. Find a home for your radio show
Everything needs a home. Ants have nests. Bears have caves. Radio shows have studios.
There are two ways to go about this:
- Find a studio equipped with all you need
- Build your own small studio
You could find a friend or relative who owns a studio or has the audio gear. Renting out the equipment another choice at your disposal.
Here is a tip to find studios near your area…
Visit your favorite search engine, for instance, Google or DuckDuckGo, and search “Professional sound studios near me.”
In case interesting matches don’t pop up, refine your search phrase.
Just ensure that the studio has all you need and that you’re not booking a photo studio!
“I want to have my own equipment.”
Great. Building your own small studio is a fun quest. And with many people such as podcasters & YouTubers finding themselves in need of audio equipment, there are many entry-level microphones, audio mixers, headphones, boom arms, and other parts for your choosing.
Visit Amazon, your local music shop, or other websites online to find what you need.
Your goal is to record the highest quality sound you can. Sound that is free from background noise, passing cars, wailing babies, etc.
For more tips, also check out our blog on radio station equipment.
3. Build a team
You can go it alone. And at first, it might be your only choice. But as you advance, build a great team.
But I don’t have money? Well, ask people to volunteer their time. Community and college stations are run by volunteers and there is great content there.
And here is a great explainer that talks about how radio stations find volunteers.
Seek people that are:
- Honest – they promise to get the job done & then do it.
- Hand’s on – they know different stuff because they have experience with it.
- Filled with ideas.
- Some of your recruits should be keen on current trends such as social media.
4. Find your topic and come up with episode ideas
Every radio show starts with an idea. For instance, we have the clever idea of creating a radio series on avocados. So why would we create a radio series on this topic?
Maybe we like avocados. Also, millions love avocadoes, but very few have the right facts on this royal fruit.
Next, we need to generate a list of topics or episode ideas:
Title: Avocados: Everything You Need To Know
Episode 1: The curious origins of the humble avocado
Episode 2: From the farm to your table: The avocado trade
Episode 3: Amazing avocado recipes
Episode 4: Avocados vs other superfoods
Episode 5: National Avocado Day: The holiday you never knew about
Episode 6: Conversations with real avocado enthusiasts
These are just quick examples. You can make your radio show about any topic in the world.
Just aim to spread credible & factual information to your listeners. That’s your mission, after all.
5. Book your guests and use these interview tips
Every person is a gold mine of knowledge and information.
Setting up interviews and asking the right questions helps you bring these ideas, facts & experiences to your listeners.
Quick tips that will help you host killer interviews include:
- Go for guests that you find interesting
- Book your guests early
- Prepare for your show and don’t wing it
- Be willing to listen intently to your guest. Give them your full concentration and seek to understand what they are saying
- You can find more interview tips here.
6. Prepare your first radio show script
When you’re trying to figure out how to start a radio show, it's paramount to write scripts for your shows.
“But should I script my shows? That’s cheating!”
Well, no. Most shows on TV or Radio are scripted to some degree because it's what professionals do.
Now, I’m not saying that every word that gets out is first written down.
You can prepare for your radio show by writing down talking points, outlining ideas, or noting down interesting facts.
Soon, you'll find out that coming up with super original things to say spontaneously is difficult. The best comedians in the world also have routines.
Becoming more creative is a process. Your thoughts need time to form, mutate, and solidify.
Learn more about preparing radio scripts.
7. Presenting your show: On-air tips
Do you want to start a radio show that people can engage with?
Well, when you present your show talk directly to your listener. Shine with your personality because listeners want to connect to you directly.
Don’t go as far as becoming a talking caricature, but be authentic.
Have high energy during your presentation. Let it infuse your colleagues, guests, and your fans.
If you’re dully and boring, how do you expect to rouse emotions?
Enunciate every word clearly. If you can find ways to incorporate listeners to your shows, go for it!
People are always curious about what fellow fans think about the show. Social proof is a big part of how we live our lives.
Host phone-in sessions or have people send voice notes. Encourage listeners to also engage with you on social medial.
Discover more ways to become a great radio host.
8. Post production of your radio program – the technical side of things
Producing a radio show may require additional post-production if it's pre-recorded.
You'll need to perform audio editing, add sound effects, music bed, speech, jingles, promos, etc.
“How can I become good at audio production?”
You just have to do it to become good at it:
First, try working with different audio recording & editing software like Audacity.
Know where to find sound effects, music beds, royalty-free music, or paid music sources.
And each time you start the show…make sure you’re recording it. You will be a lot safer if you can record and save more than one copy in an external hard disk or flash disk.
You don’t want any blue screen error pages taking your effort away. And you might accidentally delete your original recording.
Know how to operate the broadcasting desk even if you’re the host/interviewer.
There is a lot that goes into creating a perfect sounding radio show:
Instead of hopping from one tutorial to another, we suggest that you find a course that can teach you all the steps of audio recording & editing from A to Z.
9. Distributing your radio show
Syndication is a popular way to distribute your show to existing radio stations.
What is the first step of syndication?
First, you need to produce a marketable demo. You can send this demo to program directors – who are in charge of the content that gets played on air.
Secondly, you can find websites online dedicated to connecting radio show producers to radio stations. For instance, On Air, Key Networks, etc.
Also, remember that you can offer your show for free to a radio station.
Some syndicated content is offered on a bartered agreement where instead of cash, the show’s producer may ask for time to run ads.
You may also distribute your radio show as a podcast series. Many radios including the BBC create podcasts.
- Creating a website for your radio show
- Creating social media pages e.g. on YouTube, and then upload footage from your show.
More resources & final send off
And remember you need to work hard to pull this off!