Radio DJs have a similar role to presenters in that they are the voice the listeners hear when they tune in to the station. All presenters would have once been called DJs because they would have to physically play CDs. However, now there is a bit more differentiation between the two. Here’s all you need to know about radio DJs.
Disc Jockeys, or DJs, host live or even prerecorded shows for the public through radio stations. Their main duties include playing music, discussing noteworthy events and conduct interviews.
They play music for the audience, which can be hand-selected by themselves or indeed the station’s Music Director, or even requested by the audience. Different shows may have different themes and the music will match this accordingly. For example, an 80s radio show will play only 80s music. A rock radio show will only play rock music.
DJs will be expected to interview people, whether in studio, over the phone or indeed through online forms of communication. They need to steer the conversation in the right way and get the information that listeners will want to hear.
As well as this, members of the public will also be able to phone in to the show and DJs will be expected to chat to them. Conversations with the public can often turn in strange directions, so it’s important that you are light-hearted and laugh with them, not at them. It’s vital that you have an understanding of media laws and broadcasting regulations in order to cut off an interviewee if it takes a bad turn.
The calls from listeners could be about anything from requesting their favourite song, to talking about something they love or hate or to build upon an ongoing discussion on the show. DJs will need to be comfortable with discussing current affairs and will need to be able to distinguish between real and fake news.
Competitions and live draws will also invite callers on-air and DJs need to handle these calls with fairness. They cannot be biased or award certain callers prizes for incorrect answers. Many radio shows have competitions that they repeat every day with different questions.
For example, it could be a guess the song quiz, where the DJ plays the intro of the song or plays the song backwards. Others ask a stream of quick-fire questions about anything from the news to history to music and beyond. Repeating a competition segment in every show will allow listeners to become familiar with it and will tune in to try and guess the answers.
DJs will have to read paid advertisements and provide links into pre-recorded ones. They will also be required to deliver traffic reports, news and weather forecasts.
To become a disc jockey, a degree in journalism, broadcasting, communication or radio is preferred, but it is not always necessary. DJs can work their way up through the station to eventually go on air. This can be done by applying to a lower job in the station and becoming familiar with everything in the studio.
It’s important to keep on top of the latest music and indeed older music too. It’s also essential to have good verbal communication skills so as to present a show that listeners will want to tune into.
Experience in radio is always a plus, so if you can volunteer at any stations such as hospital, student or online stations, then do! It will stand to you and will help you progress into local or national stations with ease.