Radio producers are the people who, in the majority of cases, work ‘behind the scenes’ and are not known to the audience of a radio station. In this article I hope to sum up what radio producers do and answer what is radio production. A radio producer oversees the making of a radio show. There are two main types of producer. An audio or creative producer and a content producer. Audio producers create sounds and audio specifically, content producers oversee and orchestrate a radio show or feature. The content producer might organise music choices, guests, callers for talk radio or competitions, timings, and overall show content. They also may produce recorded content, from shows to radio commercials and commercial bumpers.
There are different types of radio production so let’s be clear about each.
- Audio Production – A an audio producer creates jingles, sweepers, promos and station imaging much like we do here at Music Radio Creative. The role can often involve script writing for audio, creating audio (such as sound effects, vocal effects, music and speech) and inventing new creative ways to get a message across in a limited amount of time.
- Show Production – Radio show producers work closely with the presenter of a radio show to come up with interesting content including researching topics, features, call in ideas and looking after the live show by watching song timings, choosing callers to put on air and keeping the presenter on topic. Producers of radio shows will often do a little audio production in their role too. Tasks can include creating daily promos for the show and writing scripts.
How Do You Become Radio Producer?
Whilst now there are many radio production courses at the universities and from private coaching companies in my opinion still the very best way to learn it is on the job. Whilst courses can be very helpful and I encourage to enrol to get the basics you really need hands on experience from other experienced radio producers. This is how my journey started. I have volunteered at a local Hospital Radio Station at 13 and have been very fortunate to have mentors along the way. Volunteer positions have eventually led to paid positions and I have progressed from there. Don’t expect to become top producer over night. It is a craft and it takes hours of practice. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Volunteer – Offer your services for FREE to local stations or internet radio.
- Produce – Practice as often as you can. You don’t need to be in the job to keep practicing. There are many well priced production elements available online – grab as many as you can and keep trying to make new productions. *** NOTE >>> If you subscribe to Music Radio Creative newsletter you will receive free sound fx, music beds and voice cuts every other week.
- Reproduce – Listen to productions on top radio stations in the world and try to reproduce the sound! It can be one of the best ways to learn new techniques as well as develop your very own.
- Learn from others – Attend courses in person or online (from reputable sources!) or simply watch online tutorials. At the time of writing I have over 600 free tutorials on radio production available on my YouTube channel.
Essential Elements of Radio Production
Every good radio producer needs certain ingredients to make outstanding radio production happen. Here is the list of things you will need in order to do a good job:
- Radio Imaging Elements – In other words sound fx, music beds and pads. Preferably 100% royalty free – the last thing you want to worry about at the start of the journey is having the right license in place. It has always been the most important thing for me to be on the clear side with the licensing. It should also be to you if you take this career seriously enough.
- Radio Production Software – Find the software you feel the most comfortable with. For me it has always been Adobe Audition (previously known as Cool Edit Pro). It isn’t free but in my opinion well worth the monthly fee. Whilst free alternatives are available, they can limit your possibilities and as a result create lesser quality radio production. Adobe Audition 3.0 (which is NOT the latest) is available free of charge as one of the products no longer supported by Adobe. If you do not have any budget I suggest grabbing this free version instead. It will be better than any free software you can get.
- Good quality voices – Great voice artists are absolute key to great sounding radio production. It is very easy to under-appreciate this, however do bare in mind the top professionals in the industry would have spent years in training and practice as well as education. This is noticed in the final quality. At the very least make sure that voices you use have a good quality recordings they can provide. If you are ever in a need of quality voices, here at Music Radio Creative we can help.
Community Can Help
Through the last 20+ years I have found that people who do the same thing often are willing to help! There are many Facebook groups and online communities you can join. Do provide value first, don’t expect free training and be willing to do the research. You will find that attitude like this will carry you miles into your journey. I have created a community devoted to radio production. Free to join for anyone willing to also provide value.