Tom Ballard’s radio tips

Staff Writer

Triple J's Tom Ballard has offered some advice on his website for people who are looking to get into radio. We thought we'd share some of Tom's pearls of wisdom, or to paraphrase; 

"Tom Ballards Red Hot Flaming Guaranteed Tips For Radio Success".

So here's a couple of Tom's tips;


Listen to as much radio and broadcasting as you can possibly fit into your ears. Podcasts, international radio, breakfast radio, night radio, commercial, community (3RRR, SYN FM, 4ZZZ and FBi are all great), university, ABC (local, radio national, triple j), music-based radio, talkback, etc. Figure out what YOU like to listen to and what you think works.


I’ve never done a radio course (obviously – have you HEARD me?!), but I know a bunch of people who have. Some have loved them, others have considered them a waste of time and money. I think no matter what, there’s value in getting practical knowledge of how a studio works, editing programs, industry slang (mic breaks, resets, time calls, back announcing, teasing) etc; maybe you want to get that through a tertiary institution, maybe you’d prefer to learn all that by doing at a community station or a short course. Either way, being comfortable with all that junk is going to let you focus on saying things out of your face. Plus pressing buttons is fun!


Chances are there’s a community radio station near you that’s always on the look out for new people passionate about and keen to get involved in radio. Take them up on it and offer to help out an existing show, pitch a new show with yourself and a friend or solo – whatevs Trevs. Getting on air experience and doing it doing it doing it really is the crucial way to become better.


Make demos (practice recordings) of yourself (kind of easy to do these days what with all the technology around), listen back to them and critique yourself and, when you think you’ve got something strong, make contact with a station and ask the Program Director if you can send them some of your work. They may not always be able to give you feedback, but if you consistently show them high quality, considered stuff, they’ll definitely take an interest in you. Don’t spend your whole time waiting for a response, just keep up your presence and focus on increasing your skill set and time on air.


Radio is awesome, but I think there’s a danger of being consumed by your interest in it. The best part of radio is hearing about life outside of it, so I think a good broadcaster is someone who has a range of other interests. Your life can’t just be talking into a microphone, that’s boring. Read books and newspapers and the internet and listen to shitloads of music and go to plays and movies and football games and exhibitions and get drunk and have sex and make mistakes…then talk about it on radio and BLOW PEOPLE’S MINDS.

Tom has a few more tips, and you can read his complete article at his website here.


Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (0)
Post new comment


See all