Monday, December 25, 2006

How to become a Radio Presenter Part 1... Interview with Paul Orr.

My post on How to Become a Voice Over Artist inspired a couple of questions on how to actually make it as a radio presenter. Radio is presently a blossoming industry and hungry for new talent, but just like becoming a commercial Voice Over, it's a competitive industry.

I have only had a very brief flirtation with radio presenting, as Rolski on the Road for 107.2 Win FM. So in order to get under the skin of the radio industry, I've been lucky enough to chat to a few radio presenters and see what their stories are.

I start off with Paul Orr, who presents the breakfast show on 106.5 Sunny FM in East Texas. Aside from being a great presenter, Paul Orr is also a great Voice Over artist for both radio and TV and his website is a brilliant example of the sort of thing any aspiring voice over artist should have.

Without further ado, my interview with Paul. My questions in bold, his answers in italic.

How long have you been a radio presenter?

Wow. You guys say "presenter". That's cool. We say announcer, jock, on-air talent or just talent or dee-jay (but I guess dee-jay is old school speak, now). I've been a radio presenter since 1980ish. My family owned an AM station in West Texas and I got my start while still in Junior High School. I was really bad - good thing my dad owned the joint.

Could you give us a brief rundown of your career?

My career has led me from Texas (Dallas, Houston and other smaller cities) over to Florida - and lots of places between. I've worked in many different formats but was most successful in the Country format which is very popular in the US.

What ambitions do you have for the future?

I'm excited about a great deal in the future. I think the possibilities for building Internet stations for retail and churches are unlimited. I love radio and enjoy being on the air. I am most excited about voice over work. I'd like to eventually work from home providing imaging and commercials. Also, Pamela Anderson is single again and have ambitions about her. ;)

When did you first get into radio presenting?

My father was the General Manager of a station when I was born and I grew up in the business. I consider myself very, very lucky for that.

Did you always want to get into radio or did you only become a presenter when the career in taxidermy didn't pan out?

Yep, this is what I always wanted to do. We're were driving through Dallas, Texas on vacation listening to 97.1 KEGL (God rest its soul) and they kicked off a 40 Minute, Non-Stop Eagle Free Flight complete with a jet swoosh over the intro of the song (Donny Iris, Love is Like a Rock) and I was hooked.

How exactly did you get your first job?

Fact, if you find an excuse to hang out at a radio station long enough - you will land a very low-paying entry level position, eventually.

Did you send in a showreel?

Showreels don't help you get your first position. They can help you once you are accomplished. In the beginning, you must show that you have the passion and desire. Get to know somebody, anybody that works at a radio station and start working then.

Did you know anybody in the business first?


What do you think made you stand out from the clamouring crowd?

Eventually, they're going to need somebody at a station, you just have to make sure you are standing there when that time comes.

What's it actually like being a presenter?

It's great. In some ways, it's like having a small dose of celebrity. Some people recognize you (more so now with the web).

What's your routine like?

My day starts early. I'm in at 6 am.

What are the challenges?

We don't have as many people as we used to and that's good and bad.

Surely you must have days like the rest of us, when you hate your job.

On days when we're over-worked or stressed. What is it that makes you feel like that? Egos, lack of proper equipment, too many meetings.

What makes you have a GREAT day at work?

Working on successful promotion or campaign. Doing a really successful remote broadcast. Helping to bring in new customers and listeners with good commercials and programming.

What tips would you have for anybody trying to get into the presenting business?

Hang Around! Take out the trash, wash a presenters car, do whatever you have to do to get to know the folks at the station. Have a great attitude and be willing to do whatever it takes to get will be worth it.

Thanks, Paul, for your fascinating insights into the radio biz. And don't forget to check out Paul's show, which is on from midday in the good ol' United Kingdom and you can listen to it online.


Pamela Anderson said...

wuhooo! nice post here.. :)

Celebrity Wallpaper

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog and quite like it., I am a radio presenter in the UK.