A Day in the Life of a Radio Presenter….
Hi, I’m Greg Clarke and I host the lunchtime show on Academy FM. I love this time
slot; listening figures, whilst not as great as at breakfast, still hold up well and it means that I
don’t have to get up at crack of dawn or have to worry about the odd late evening, or three!
My show runs 12 – 3pm, so I pitch up at the radio station around 10, grab a coffee,
walk past the PD’s office, just in case I’m in trouble for yesterday’s programme – We did have
a difficult caller on our phone-in and perhaps I was a little bit abrupt and I most certainly
did not cut them off.
However I make it past the PD’s office and end up in the production
office on the third floor, which is buzzing with excitement. News has just broken that Beyonce
is going to visit the UK, and that what’s more she’s coming into Academy FM. It’s not clear
yet which day she’ll appear, which programme she will appear on and whether it will be
pre-recorded or live – I’m sure her manager will have a say in that! – so I’m not going to
research and prepare questions until I’m sure she’s going to be on my show.
Jenny, my radio producer, is already deep in the daily newspapers and gossip magazines,
trawling through for items and snippets for today’s show – so I pitch in and join her, all
the time chatting with everybody about ideas, guests and items that might be good for
that day’s show – either today or in the future. It’s always good to remember that no oneperson has the exclusive right to good ideas.
As we develop the shape of the show, I check
the mail, emails and my twitter account to see if any of my many listeners have thought of
something we haven’t. Then about 11am I work out the running order (usually on a piece of
A4 with a pencil) drawing my ‘programme clock’ for 3 hours and adding all of the features,
both regular and occasional, and allocating them slots in amongst the music, ensuring an
even and enticing spread across the whole show.
There’s a lot to cram in; the competition, other features, stuff we’ve now culled from the newspapers and of course the special guest – today it’s Stephen Fry. I research him and his life after yesterdays show and am really looking forward to meeting him. Time’s running out by now so I hastily print out today’s music allocation for my show; most of it’s scheduled by the PD and Music Manager to fit the demographic of our audience and means that I and my producer get to choose 2 or 4 tracks a day – not ideal for me as a huge music enthusiast. The DJ’s who are on air outside the mainstream – 7am to 7pm get to choose most of their own music within the format agreed but, of course they don’t get the big listenership that I do.
With about 20 minutes to on-air, I dash down to the studio grabbing mail and new
record releases that have been left for me by ever-hopeful ‘pluggers’ (record company
promotion crews whose job it is to get the records played on the radio. Jenny is ahead
of me sorting out all the programme ingredients, checking running orders and generally
making sure all is in order. In the ‘good’ old days there was an engineer to deal will all things
technical, but now in the ever-increasing search for economies, I ‘drive’ the studio desk
myself with Jenny setting up the phone calls, feature playouts and all the really tricky bits.
These days a Presenter is so much more than a-voice-on-a-stick!
A glance at the clock tells me it’s about 2 min to airtime so I switch the studio
speakers to hear James Gordon going into the last ‘and finally’ story to wind-up the news. I
check the desk; opening jingle sequence – ready to go; first music – cued and ready to go and
James finishes with the words “….and now for the next 3 hours, to amuse and entertain you,
it’s Greg Clarke And we’re off.I never fail to get a thrill as I take over the airwaves. I guess when
I don’t, that’ll be the day to give in! After the opening sequence, I launch with the menu of what wonderful goodies we’ve got on the show today, tease the audience with the fabulous prize on offer to the winner of our competition and launch the first music track – Life in the Fast Lane by the Eagles (yes, our audience demographic for my show, and the station in general, is
35 – 65.).
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