People responded to the recent death of top Irish broadcaster Gerry Ryan as they would to the death of a close friend. When you think about it, this is hardly surprising. He talked to them every morning, laughed with them, shared their pain, helped them find solutions to their problems. just as a good friend would. In turn, they laughed at his jokes, raged at him and praised him to the skies.
This is the power that radio has in our lives. More than any other medium, it is a constant companion to us as we go about our daily business. As I write, Morning Ireland presenters are delivering the latest news in calm, measured tones. What is it that makes radio so special? Relationships. Top broadcasters form a relationship with their listeners and communicate with them as if they were the only person in the room. The listeners return that loyalty by listening and contributing in large numbers.
Voice and Words
For a top broadcaster, their voice is their instrument. They know how to exploit its range to create a strong emotional impact. Depending on the story they’re discussing, they speed up, slow down, drop their voice to a whisper, or boom through the speakers. They are performers. On a technical level, a good broadcaster speaks at a pace and volume that ensures no word is lost. They can break a concept down to its simplest form, so it’s easy for listeners to understand.
The words a broadcaster uses are different from those used by print or online journalists. They are every day words, the words of the street. Our words. The formal words used in print articles just don’t work on radio. They’re too bulky. Instead, broadcasters paint word pictures with simple, bold brush strokes, using slang to add colour.
A lot of people are a little afraid of radio, because they think of all the thousands of people listening. There is also the fear that they cannot undo what they have said. If you’re due to appear on radio, the best way to overcome those nerves is to remember that a radio interview is really a one to one conversation, with someone who’s drinking tea in their kitchen, driving the kids to school or working in an office. A good broadcaster will further ease your nerves, making you feel as if you’re just having a cosy chat. And your words will have an immediate impact on them that they wouldn’t have anywhere else.
Also, remember that the less you worry about how you will sound, the better you will sound. Time is usually tight on radio programmes, so it helps to get an indicator of the topics that will be covered in your interviewr to make sure you can get your message across in the shortest possible time. But if you try to plan every word you’ll say, you’ll end up sounding scripted. It’s important to be flexible, so you can handle any question that comes up. You’ve been invited onto the show because you know what you’re talking about. That passion and expertise will come across.
But radio gives you a chance to talk to your audience in a direct way, as if you were sitting across from them. Next time you’ve got an event, a book or a business to promote, why not consider a radio station talkshow or businses programme? Radio is a valuable resource, just waiting to be tapped into.
By its nature, radio