How Real should you be on air?
It's been said by every aspiring announcer in radio stations all over the world.
"I just want to be real". " I want to be the same person on air as I am off air."
Which is an admirable goal to have. No listener wants to hear a fake version if you, and I'm guessing you probably don't really like being the fake version of yourself on the radio.
But merging the real you and radio you can be hard, especially when they are sometimes different people.
I believe that being authentic on air, is just as much a skill as performing in a play. To truly maintain your on air character takes practice, commitment and determination, and should leave you feeling exhausted after every show. You see, being authentic is actually an act.
Any good radio performer knows that every time you turn on that microphone , you are acting. And if you don't believe me, can I suggest your on air persona should be an amplified version of who you really are.
You have to lift, project and imagine you're speaking to many people when you go on air, while maintaining the intimacy of speaking to just one person at a time.
Don't be confused by being a loud, outrageous and gregarious version of yourself, or being some wanna be shock jock and telling all your intimate tales, that's not being real. Being real on air is being true to yourself, while remembering you aren't the only person who your show may effect.
You may have a wife, mother, your kids school teacher , even a neighbour of yours tuning in, who could be horrified of the stories they passed onto you in confidence, that they're now hearing as an over the top bit, trying to get a laugh. Being real requires respect. The respect you must give to those who know you best who trust you won't abuse their support and who also feel the effects of your on air raves.
Being real is being honest whilst being discerning. Being real isn't about telling us about the fight you had with your husband, with exaggerated facts, trying to get listener support, rather, being transparent with your listeners, being willing to listen, having an opinion and knowing what to leave out, and knowing who you could actually hurt and possibly damage in the process of trying to prove you're as real as you can be .
Being real isn't as real as just being the real you at all.
Liam Renton is the PD and Breaky Host at 96five in Brisbane and writes for RadioToday.
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