Radio disc jockeys, also known as radio DJs, play and mix music and discuss news, music or other topics of interest. An on-air personality, on the other hand, is not responsible for actually playing and mixing music. Most radio DJs focus on one particular type of musical genre or artistic style that reflects the affinities of their listening audience.
A radio DJ’s duties may include:
A high school degree is the minimum educational requirement for radio DJs, though they can improve their chances of landing a job by getting a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in broadcasting, journalism or media communications. Aspiring radio DJs benefit from on-the-job training and internships with college radio stations or broadcast media outlets. Courses in public speaking, voice and diction, and electronics are helpful.
Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended:
Damelin TV and Radio Presenting Certificate
Radio and Sound Engineering Courses
Boston Media House College
Media Courses and Diplomas
DJ Mix Club
African Freelancers’ Association – www.safrea.co.za
Why did you choose to work radio broadcasting?
I love entertaining and conversing with people. It is my aim to share what I have learnt and experienced in life, with the intention of uplifting others.
What training did you undergo?
I did an introduction to Radio Broadcasting course through INTEC College.
Is there a type of personality best suited to this type of work?
Yes – an outgoing individual who is as much a talker as they are a good listener. A person invested in serving the community.
Is experience as important as formal training?
Yes, definitely. There has to be a balance between both formal training and proper hands-on experience in the industry.
Describe a typical day on the job
My day starts off with doing relevant research, contacting the guests featuring in upcoming shows, and then compiling my show in preparation to go on air from 4pm to 11pm.
What do you like the most about your job?
I enjoy and get fulfilment from interacting with my listeners and making a difference in their lives.
Anything you’re not enthusiastic about?
Honestly, I am enthusiastic about everything, so I can’t really say!
What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I started off as a technician, and then joined the Presenter’s Team as the Drive Home Show presenter and Night-Time presenter. Other proud achievements include my winnings at the MTN Radio Awards: 2012 – Best Night-Time Presenter and Best Night-Time Show; and, 2013 – Best Drive Home Show Presenter and Best News and Actuality Show!
What are your goals for the future?
I aspire to have an entertainment company all of my very own.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in radio?
My message to aspiring radio presenters is: to always be hopeful and never give up in life because every hurdle is just a learning curve. I almost gave up my dream, but through the grace of God, my studies and solid work experience, I was given an opportunity to build knowledge and skills, and went on to become one of the top community radio presenters in the country! I would encourage young adults to further their studies through INTEC College, who offer convenient studies with realistic payment plans.
Which three words describe your job best?
Exciting • Stimulating • Fulfilling
Why did you choose this profession?
I’ve been listening to radio from a young age and over the years my interest grew stronger and stronger. I did some research and found out that I could study a radio-related course and hopefully get a job in the industry. I’ve always had a keen interest in world affairs and daily news, and I happen to be quite outspoken as well. The aforementioned factors gave me enough clout and inspiration to pursue a career in radio.
What training did you undergo and where?
I did a Diploma in Media Practices, majoring in Journalism, at Boston Media House.
Is there a type of personality most suited to this type of work?
You need to be inquisitive and always eager to find out about ‘happening stuff’. You need to enjoy talking to people, and you need to have an interest in current and world affairs. Finally, you need to have a firm grasp of the society that surrounds you.
Experience vs formal training?
Sure, experience is important, but training gives you the competitive edge over other people who may be gunning for the same position. It is important to train because education gives you a solid knowledge base that helps you become more efficient. Boston gave me both the theory and the practical knowledge to get ahead in the industry.
Describe a typical day on the beat
Wake up at 4am and get to YFM at 5am; start the radio show at 6am; do a voice-over at 11am; klap a few meetings during the day; get home at 8pm-ish and hopefully squeeze some TV in before bed.
Your favourite parts of the job?
The fact that I can make a difference in people’s lives using my platform.
Which aspects of the work are you least enthusiastic about?
The politics of the industry… but I just choose to ignore that aspect.
What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Getting to host a breakfast show on the biggest youth station in the country. Its been an awesome four-year run.
Your goals for the future?
To eventually work for a national radio station, to host more TV shows, and to own a multimedia company focusing on audio-visual and marketing communications.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career?
Establish whether or not the career you want to get into will make you happy. If you see it as just a job, then don’t do it. Rather get into a career path that interests you all day, every day.
Your job in three words
Exhilarating, exciting and rewarding.