Radio is theater of the mind and air personalities (announcer, jock, DJ or disc jockey) are its actors. To become successful it requires passion, practice, a willingness to learn, ability to read, ego, ability to write, patience, desire, and sacrifice. The institution of radio has a responsibility to entertain and inform. Air personalities anchor the broadcast industry. A microphone is power. Becoming an air personality can lead to a career in or out of radio.
The announcer alumni list includes David Letterman of Late Nite; Allaccess.com President/Publisher, Joel Denver; Comedian, George Carlin; CBS Radio President, Dan Mason; Radio One President, Barry Mayo; Carson Daly of Last Call; Allaccess.com Urban Editor, Jerry Boulding; television icon Dick Clark; actor Donald Sutherland; Quincy McCoy, the Vice President of Radio for MTVN Digital Music; Service Broadcasting C.O.O Ken Dowe; Willard Scott of the Today Show; Sly Stone, the former lead singer of Sly and the Family Stone; and Bob Pittman, a principal in the Pilot Group, a private investment firm specializing in new media and Internet companies.
As a broadcast talent coach with a career spanning more than 30 years, I would offer the following for those interested in becoming a radio personality.
1. Anyone who can read and write has the capabilities of becoming a radio personality. It is important to vocalize written copy aloud. The sound of someone's voice has little to do with being a jock. Communicating succinctly in a warm and friendly manner is the ultimate goal.
In the beginning, one of the best ways to practice is to read front-page paragraph blurbs from the USA Today or The Wall Street Journal. Buy an inexpensive tape recorder and carry it around. These recorders have built-in microphones.
Another possibility is to download an audio software program and purchase a microphone. One of the better programs is Audacity. The software is free and used by many in the radio industry. It would be best to use the tape recorder and advance to audio software at a later date. 2. Choose five blurbs to record. Hit the record button, read a sentence, stop the recorder, rewind, and listen. This is how recording levels are checked. Depending on the loudness, either increase or decrease the volume. Make the necessary adjustments, sit up straight, and begin reading.