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19 Secrets Radio Presenters Will Never Tell You

It’s more than just talking rubbish between songs.

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2. You really are just sitting in a room and talking to yourself.

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It takes a special kind of person to listen to their own voice for hours a day. You wonder if people are listening, and on some stations – especially student radio – they probably aren’t.

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3. Presenters can be chronic oversharers.

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Presenters love to tell a story any chance they get, so friends and family often get thrown under the bus for a tale. There is no privacy: Nothing is sacred in a radio presenter’s life if it’ll make the perfect link.

4. Everyone lives in fear of an “Accidental Partridge” moment.

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Everyone has done it. As soon as you open your mouth with an unintentional pun or a rubbish joke, you know you’re about to sound like the fictional radio presenter – and there’s nothing you can do to stop yourself.

5. A lot of co-presenters actually don’t get along.

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A mutual dislike can be fun to listen to, though, and negative pairings can still be successful if the co-hosts paint a convincing picture of being BFFs.

6. There's an insane amount of competitiveness.

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You sometimes find yourself hating someone for coming up with a great idea for a link, feature, or giveaway. It’s violent admiration. No matter how good of a friend they are, a part of you still sees other hosts as a threat.

7. There's a constant fear that a guest or caller will swear on air.

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Many talk radio stations have a “dump” button that will remove the last few seconds of audio, which is handy if an angry caller decides to drop an f-bomb.

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9. A presenter probably doesn’t “absolutely love” the song they’re playing.

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If you think playlists are repetitive, how many times do you think the presenters have heard what's being played?

10. There are many rules and guidelines.

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It's not just a case of chatting idly between songs; there are quite often stringent rules and style guides to follow, even for the silliest-sounding shows.

12. Everyone is always chasing the perfect link.

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A link is the talking bit between the songs. There's a surprising amount of planning that goes into having to calculate the time allowed so that the news happens at the right time, or you don't "crash the vocals" (talk over the point where the lyrics start).

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14. Callers can make or break a show.

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Some regular callers are a joy and you're thrilled to see their name flash up. Others.... not so much.

16. Everyone knows everyone, so it's important to be nice.

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It's an incredibly small industry. The person interning with you now might end up being your producer in two years. This is especially important to remember when just starting out, as word travels fast and you don't want a bad reputation.

17. Most presenting jobs are never advertised and making a demo is the worst.

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For most careers you see a new job advertised, so you write a CV, or show what you can do at an interview. For radio, you make a lot of demos and send them in to a lot of stations in the hope of catching their interest. This means spending hours going through your shows to pick the right clips until you hate the sound of your own voice and everything you've ever said.

18. There’s a lot of “imposter syndrome” and angst about being good enough.

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Even the biggest, most popular presenters still feel like they're doing it all wrong sometimes.

19. But most of the time, it's the best job ever.

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You get to play music and talk for a living, some of the callers are hilarious, the regular contributors can feel like your best friends, and even on the bad days it's still a lot of fun.

Note: This post is based on several people’s experience of working in the industry. Thanks to all who contributed!

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