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How to become a Radio DJ

Radio DJ
avg. starting salary

Does a career in radio sound like it’d be on your wavelength? Then why not tune in now… (And other terrible, music-based puns). A Radio DJ uses electronic sound equipment to broadcast music, using the breaks in between songs to discuss music, news, and currently trending topics. Their job may also involve interviewing musicians and other guests live on air. In order to keep the audience engaged, Radio DJs also interact with their listeners through phone-ins, texts, and by carrying out competitions. Other key duties for a Radio DJ include:
  • Discussing ideas with the show producer
  • Writing and preparing a daily schedule
  • Adding songs to the playlist, and choosing what will be played
  • Keeping to a strict timing agenda
  • Attending events to promote the station
  • Using social media and engage with their audience

To succeed as a Radio DJ, a good speaking voice and likable on-air personality is essential. You will need to be able to work flexibly, and accommodate to the timing schedules of the show you’re presenting. A keen interest in music, as well as a high level of commercial knowledge and an awareness of current trends (both music related and otherwise) are also vital traits to have for this role. Other skills and qualities needed to be a Radio DJ include:
  • A good sense of timing
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • A positive attitude and a good sense of humour
  • The ability to ‘think on your feet’
  • Good interpersonal abilities
  • Basic knowledge of sound systems

"I first got into DJing at University, when a few friends and I had our own radio show. I gained valuable experience in operating computerised sound systems, and got to grips with the sense of timing needed to be a good Radio DJ. With these skills, plus a bit more experience volunteering in various areas of the DJing world, I finally got a job at my local radio station. I really enjoy it, and although it has required a fair bit of adjustment in terms of my body clock (the morning show starts at 4AM), the hours are short so I get quite a lot of free time – and I get to listen to loads of new music while I work. It’s pretty great."

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