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How I Got a Job in Radio

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

So, you want to become a Radio DJ? Congratulations! You have just chosen one of the hardest industries to break into. However, if you are passionate, persistent and willing to “pay your dues”, you are in for one of the most exciting professions in the world.

You could be rubbing shoulders with celebrities one minute, meeting your radio fans the next and introducing ministerial dignitaries on stage at a gala event by evening. You will be the voice that thousands will listen to on their way to work and that voice behind TV and radio commercials. Radio is an amazing medium that connects and engages with your audience in a way that no other platform can. It is also a wonderful springboard for all kinds of creative and entrepreneurial endeavours.

What will it take to become a Radio DJ?

Everything. You’ve. Got.

Radio DJs are a special hybrid of celebrity status and journalistic integrity. No longer are radio personalities just a voice hiding behind the microphone, or someone who merely plays songs. You are expected to be seen, be memorable, be marketable and be relatable. You are more than just an “influencer”, you are a content creator, video/audio editor, announcer, entertainer, writer, marketer, photographer and a treasure trove of random trivia. This is a competitive industry that will have you flying by the seat of your pants, but it will expand and push you to become more than you ever thought you could be!

If you are someone who needs structure and a corporate ladder to climb for you to stay motivated, this is not the job for you. While you can be employed full-time or part-time as an on-air personality, the level of success you reap is dependent on how much of yourself you invest into it. The pay scale can vary, and the rewards - whether monetary or otherwise - are not necessarily defined by your seniority or length of service, but by your popularity, network and consistent professionalism.

As you can tell by now, this is not a career for the faint-hearted. You need to possess a wide range of skills and the willingness to learn. You should be resourceful, highly self-motivated, open to criticism and borderline OCD when it comes to checking your work.

So how did I land a job in radio?

After building a name for myself in entertainment as an actress, TV presenter, emcee, singer and dancer over the span of 15 years, radio seemed like a natural transition. The opportunity presented itself in 2008 and I haven’t looked back since. There are many paths to landing a job on-air but the ironic thing is, many of those paths do not start with studying mass communications. While that will certainly equip you with the basic skill sets, you still need to bring something bigger to the table to give you an edge above the rest.

I look forward to our Chit Chat to answer any of the questions you may have about the radio business and to discuss how you too may carve a niche for yourself in this dynamic industry.

Cheryl Miles

Radio DJ and Cookbook Author

Let's chit chat over this, click the book now tab.

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