Many radio presenters start their careers in local radio, often as studio runners -- making drinks, running errands or working as receptionists. Although there is no set route to becoming a radio presenter it is important to have a keen interest in music and current affairs, and a willingness to start at the bottom and work unsociable hours.
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Many radio presenters will work alongside a producer to develop their shows. It is important to work well with others and have plenty of ideas. The presenter is responsible for playing the music, talking between the songs and interviewing any guests on the show. The presenter will usually work in the office of the radio station before the show starts in order to prepare any scripts or interviews.
No formal education is required to become a radio presenter. Some presenters come from media or journalism backgrounds and have taken related courses at school or college. Others may work their way up via different jobs at the station. It is valuable to gain as much presenting experience as possible. This can be achieved by volunteering at a hospital radio station which broadcasts to patients or a community radio station. Both are excellent places to practice without the pressure of a large audience and to gather material for a demo.
To get a job as a radio presenter the station manager will probably want to hear a demo. This is a CD or MP3 of you presenting a radio show. In the first stages you should record yourself talking about something that you are interested in. This will give the station controller an insight into your personality. This does not have to be professionally made and should simply show your skills and potential.
All presenters must have excellent communication skills. A presenter will need to be confident, have an outgoing personality, work well under pressure and have great listening skills. Although some technical skills such as being able to work a sound desk may be useful, many presenters learn this on the job.
Traditionally brand new presenters often host shows that air late at night or very early in the morning. Once more established, presenters will be moved within the radio stations schedule to a time slot with a bigger audience.
Salaries vary widely, depending on the size of the radio station and the popularity of the presenter. Therefore, salaries for radio presenters range from a meagre £14,000 per year on late-night local radio shifts to more than £100,000 per year for primetime slots on national stations.
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