Robin Banks talks about how to be a great radio host or podcaster by investing in your passion. You’ll learn how to improve your radio show in this episode.
Who Exactly Is Robin Banks?
Robin is a radio renegade, not content with sticking to the rules, he makes the rules! As you’ll learn in this podcast episode there is plenty of planning and preparation that goes in to making those funny and memorable bits of radio that listeners will remember years later. He’s been working in the radio industry for over 25 years and reached the top of his game hosting the national afternoon drivetime show for Virgin Radio UK, memorable radio shows on Xfm and Kiss 100 in London along with a multitude of regional radio experience.
He’s now a successful one-to-one radio hosting coach, runs his own radio presenting workshops and travels the world helping radio stations to improve their game and sound great. Recently, Robin has launched a VIP email newsletter with free tips for people in radio, podcasting and anyone who wants to create memorable audio.
What Makes A Great Radio Show?
There is no set way of being a radio host. It is what goes into your show that counts – the content. It is important that you get another person’t point of view on how to do it right. They will see the way you do things in a different way and help to skew your thinking.
How To Become A Radio Host
Professional on air personalities put hours of planning in to making a great show. Each piece that Robin does on the radio sounds like he just comes up with it and does it there and then but Robin explains that there is much more too it than that. He uses the STEP method – stop, think, evaluate and proceed – this helps him to give the impression that it’s something he just came up with on the spur of the moment.
The magic of being a great host is the ‘theatre of the mind’ of his audience buying in to the face that you just come up with things and sound spontaneous.
Radio Presenter Bad Habits
Some of the worst habits that radio presenters and podcasters have is that they don’t listen to a critique recordings of their own shows. Try and listen to your show like you’re listening for the first time, pick out your bad habits and remove yourself from the knowledge that it is YOU that you’re listening back to.
Many radio hosts, especially, rely upon crutches to get from one point to another when talking on the air. We put something in the middle – a transition – which we don’t need. It’s giving our brain enough time to get from one place to the next.
A basic bad habit example is a presenter coming off the back of Katrina & The Waves with I’m Walking On Sunshine saying “speaking of sunshine… here’s the weather… plenty of sunshine today!”
Telling A Story Creates A Picture
When you tell a story on your show each listener gets their own picture in their head. If you can tell a beautiful story, especially when podcasting, you bring that listener who has an earphone in their ear into your world. It’s easy to imaging when you’re on the radio that every time you open the microphone on radio the world stops and listens to you. It doesn’t – create compelling radio and make sure your listener won’t want to miss it.
How Do You Deal With Callers?
Lazy radio is when a host says, “give me a call and let me know what you’re doing and what song you want to hear”. Get to know your listener, be like their best friend, ask them about what they’re doing, joke with them, you don’t have to agree with them (as long as you don’t bully – that’s uncomfortable). This will make great sounding radio.
Working Within A Radio Station Format
It’s easy to blame the format, the music, the management, the on air sponsor reads you have to do. You can take the rubbish bits, the bits that everyone hates doing on the air and make it sound good. The amazing radio is the memorable radio that you do within a format – take a format and make it YOURS.
The Future Of Broadcasting
Robin thinks the future of broadcasting (not radio) is streaming – it’s in our pocket. Robin has thought about podcasting and likes the idea of it. He draws a comparison of the transition from old media to new media as the way it was when nobody wanted to move from AM to FM as there was no audience on FM… at the time. Streaming is the future and it is not the traditional AM or FM signals we know and love.
Advice For Future Broadcasters
Have a backup plan. It’s so easy to get started and get excellent equipment. We all think we’re going to be the next best thing but there will only be a certain amount of people who will really make a living out of doing something they love.
Robin had some great coaches when he was starting out. Paul Kavanagh of Atlantic 252 helped Robin get to grips with the basics of radio broadcasting. He also put himself in the top 1% of on air talent simply by reading books on the subject and learning.
If you’re serious about being the next big audio star (radio, podcast or something else) you need to invest in your passion. If you are training to be a brain surgeon, sell real estate or anything else you will learn from courses. Why not do this to improve your chances of becoming a great on air host?
We remember radio where emotion is involved.
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