Radio myths exposed

What are the 5 most common radio myths?

Radio Myths

Considered working in radio? What is the radio industry really like? There are so many radio rumours that in this episode Mike Russell attempts to lift the curtain on 5 common radio myths.

Myth #1: Radio Presenters Are Rich

The most popular myth about radio I hear is that radio hosts are minted, on six figure wages and lord it up like celebrities and royalty. It’s simply not true despite what car insurance firms may quote you when you tell them you’re a radio presenter! Unless you’re the presenter of a national radio show it’s unlikely you’ll be on decent money, in fact, some presenters are lucky to reach double figure pay for a single show!

Money is actually quite tight in the radio industry and many get into radio for the love of it because it’s their passion. You can hone your radio skills by working for a local or community radio station for free and work your way up the radio pyramid from there but don’t get into radio expecting to get rich.

Myth #2: Radio Stations Are Glamorous Places

If only this myth were true!

I can think of only a handful of radio stations that I enjoyed walking into each time I was due on air. Radio stations like to save money by renting somewhere on the edge of town for their radio studios (usually an industrial estate). I worked for a time at Mercury FM (now Heart) which was located next to a tyre factory close to Gatwick Airport – not very showbiz at all – inside the studios were lovely though.

talkSPORT is an example of a national British radio station that ‘s located down a dark side street in the south London suburb of Southwark. It’s tucked away in the shadows of the ITV tower and River Thames. You could walk past it and never know it was home to a national radio station.

The most amazing location I ever worked at in radio was when I was the afternoon drive host at national UK radio station Capital Life based in Leicester Square, London (the Hollywood of England!) I remember poking my head out of the studio window once to see the Harry Potter cast heading into the Odeon cinema next door for a premiere! Devon and Cornwall (two beautiful English counties) have radio stations in beautiful locations including the old Gemini FM (now Heart) that used to overlook Torquay Harbour.

Myth #3: You Can Get Your Song Played On The Air

In general it’s unlikely that you can mail or mp3 your track to a radio station and expect to hear it on air. Many radio station playlists are syndicated from a central HQ and the decisions are made by one, two or three people on a group level. If the radio station is local and not owned by a big radio group you MAY get your song played on an off peak or specialist radio show but in general radio stations play music we all know and love to appeal to the maximum amount of listeners.

Two websites to check out on music variety and radio station airplay are:

Compare My Radio – shows the variety of music on UK radio stations (not much).

UK Airplay Chart – see the top songs that UK radio stations are playing collectively.

Fortunately, if you’re a musician, it’s becoming easier and easier to get heard online. Here’s a podcast I found recently with great information that will help you get heard – the Marketing Musician podcast.

Myth #4: Radio Is A Closed Business

Surely everyone knows everyone in radio. Is it tough to get into radio? If you’ve worked in the radio industry for any number of years it’s likely that you know everyone or are just one degree away from anyone else (it’s a small industry). If you don’t know someone you can always find a person that does know that person and could connect you.

If you want to get into radio don’t be discouraged start at a local level with your own community radio station and get a demo tape created. Then keep in touch with influencers in radio, but don’t become a stalker, keep sending your audio out to the decision makers until you succeed. A professionally produced radio demo will help your chances. We can create a demo for you at Music Radio Creative and if you’d like one get in touch for the details. Gone are the days when you needed to record your best bits onto a C90 cassette tape, pop it in an envelope and mail it. You can now email your mp3 to any radio station controller around the world within seconds.

“It’s not what you know it’s who you know” can be true in radio. I got many of my gigs through my own contacts which is why it’s so important to reach out to people and make friends. It’s not impossible to get a radio job through a cold contact. Persistance always pays off.

Myth #5: It’s Difficult To Get Radio Jingles

This is what we do at Music Radio Creative. It’s always been my belief that everyone deserves high quality produced voice overs, sung jingles and music no matter what the size of order. Yet there are still many people who think it’s difficult to access quality produced audio.

The team and I at Music Radio Creative are working hard to change that perception and make it as easy as possible to access high quality voices, singers, musicians and producers when you need any kind of audio production.

It used to be that, back in the day, voice over artists would tour radio stations to do a voice over session. ISDN came along and started to change that and now many professional voice overs have their own high quality home studio. We also work with many session singers around the world who are able to record high end radio jingles at their premium studios much faster than in the old days of waiting months for a singing session to occur at one of the big studios.

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Is there a radio myth that I missed out? Tell me your radio myth in the comments!