Know your radio voice


December 2, 2014 by johnnyseifertradio

Radio is like talking a friend. Use simple language, the average Andrew down the road does not care what a segway is or if you can hit the vocals on an intro all they want to do is have a friend on the radio who has engaging content that relates to their interests and music to compliment their moods and tastes.

The story starts on October 10th 2011  when I became the host on my University radio station Scratch Radio’s lunchtime show along with a female co-presenter. With experience in driving the desk at hospital radio, I took charge of queuing the carts, pressing the buttons and controlling the mic levels. I came on air and made my first big mistake, I started with “Good Afternoon Everybody” in a Chris Moyles style voice.

When I was listening to a student radio show yesterday I could clearly hear that the presenters were trying to be someone and were not being themselves. Greg James is on Radio 1, Nick Ferrari is on LBC, Chris Skinner is on Smooth. These three presenters are very different in radio formats yet on their specific stations they are unique. Think of it like this from a PD’s perspective; do you want to have two presenters on the same schedule who are doing the same thing- no! It took me a good two years to realise my flaw and after many people telling me I started to accept I would not be the next Chris Moyles.

How do you create your own voice?

My advice is to speak on the radio as you do with your friends. It will take time to be comfortable with the microphone and trying to sound natural. Start by standing up and smiling. If you smile your voice will project its-self and the adrenaline of being on air will come through. However, this may not be possible if you need to sit down as your cart wall can only be seen sitting down. If this is the case, I learnt a good trick from drivetime presenter Dan O’Conell at XFM who does his links sitting down but tapping along with the beats of the beds and songs with his feet to keep the same pace across the output from his show. But, there is a flaw in my advice. I am known to go out for dinner with friends and need to go to the toilet after too much diet coke (served when the meal comes, no ice but lemon) as I state that “I need to go to the toilet, but after the break we will be talking about …..”

Are you going to be an anchor,a joint presenter or a co-presenter?

Move forward to January 13th 2014 and I was co-hosting the breakfast show for two weeks with a female co-presenter after presenting alone for two and a half years. In London on the Heart Drivetime show, JK drives the desk whilst Lucy does the travel and chips into conversations. On Free Radio in Birmingham, Gulliano drives the desk whilst Foxy (John not Neil) subs the conversations most of the time. The point I am making here is that each presenter has a role. One presenter will always naturally be louder than the other and can move the show in different ways, usually with the help of driving the desk. I remember when I did my show with a female co-presenter we were both driving the desk and competing for air time. It is true that we all if we could be on the radio talking for twenty -four hours a day and have all the attention but you need to know when it is someone elses time to talk. For example, you can not always be the one to make the jokes as it does give you a bit of an ego that does not come across well. I was listening to a student radio station yesterday as I had a friend doing a feature on the show which was my friend singing a song without a backing track. The song finished and the mic levels were open and then the presenters came back on air. The main presenter was ready to jump in and make the joke but instead their was a unanimous reaction, as it should have been after. What annoyed me in this link was that the presenter had rightly set up the feature but jumped straight into the result without thinking about the middle part. When you watch the X Factor, Dermot O’Leary does not start talking to the judges about the acts shocking over produced performance until a reaction from the audience has finished. If you think in your every day life, is someone makes a joke or says something shocking there will be laughs or a shock before you actually analyse what happens. The mics should be open ready for a big reaction and anyone can start the conversation as it is a reflex and does not need the main presenter to take the show into the next segment straight away.


2 thoughts on “Know your radio voice

  1. Steve Campen says:

    Yes Johnny always be yourself. I have known Nick Ferrari for more than 20 years and Off Air he is pretty much the same Nick you hear ON AIR (Only a bit louder lol) I taught the Telegraph’s Emma Barnett to ‘talk to the monkey’ – her lucky mascot – it’s a way to cut through the cart wall or general studio distractions and talk to just ONE PERSON as a friend. Keep up the good work.


  2. […] have gained the confidence to engage in arguments and discussions around issues such as advising on knowing your radio voice picked up by the SRA newsletter and the future of the Radio Academy. Again being the future of the […]


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