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Carl Hughes. Former Programme Controller & Drivetime Presenter. Wessex FM
Carl has been a presenter at Heart, Capital FM and Nation Radio. He is currently the Programme Controller and Drivetime Presenter at Wessex FM for Bauer. Here are his top tips if you want to be a radio presenter.
Be yourself. What sets you apart from all the other presenters on radio? What is your unique selling point? What are you going to add to my radio station? Also, don't try and emulate other presenters, or try and sound like a radio presenter! Be you! Be real! Drop that D-Jaaay voice!
Graft! Put in the hours. Treat radio like a sport. Constantly analyse your performance. How can you make it better next time? Just did a great show? Brilliant! How can you make it an amazing one tomorrow? Just had a bad show? Don't beat yourself up about it, you're human after all but make sure you learn from your mistakes and perform better tomorrow.
Discover how to be a producer. This was a game changer in my career. Build some great ideas, make them happen from scratch, and then shout about them with some PR. Take time to understand what makes great content and why. Then, teach others how to make it. I promise it'll completely change your mindset and make you a better presenter. Better still, it will add different skills to your CV making you much more employable in the future.
Be flexible. Say yes to everything when you're starting out and be prepared to work unsociable hours. Radio is not a 9-5 job. In fact, it's not a job at all. It's a lifestyle. Be prepared to move. Over the past 15 years I've worked and lived all over the country and worked with many different people. I have former colleagues who are now working all over the world. You have to be committed to succeed.
Never give up. Radio has always been a tough industry. If you want a secure job, it's probably not for you. At some point your contract won't be renewed, you will be made redundant, you will take it personally. Don't take it personally. It's not personal. It's just business. Brush yourself off and go again. Make a habit of proving people wrong (but being respectful). I was once told by a Programme Controller that I would never be a presenter again. I went on to host national shows and a regional breakfast show. If you believe you can do it and put the effort in, you will!
Good luck and remember to have some fun along the way. It literally is the best job in the world!