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So You Want to Be in Radio?

"Have you ever thought about a career in radio?” A question I was asked years ago while working for the YMCA. During the spring of each year, I would be asked to promote the summer camp program on the local morning talk shows as well as the morning drive time radio. It never failed, after each show I was always asked the question as to whether or not I had considered a career in radio. At the time, I had 2 small children, an active duty husband and a full-time position as Program Director. While, the daydream lingered, the reality never manifested. It was not until years later when the question was asked again. This time, the reality manifested.

It was July 2014, I was a member of the board of The Hank Stewart Foundation, a non-profit organization that teaches our youth the power of giving back to our community. The Stewart Foundation hosts The Annual White Linen Affair where proceeds go toward the youth organization. As a board member, I was engaged in the events of the day. However, I noticed the area where the media was located. A particular gentleman caught my eye as he was conducting live interviews. I went about my duties but later returned to find him sitting at his station. I went over and introduced my self and inquired about his network. He introduced himself as the CEO of Survival Radio Network. He asked if I’d be willing to interview live and share with the audience, my role at the foundation. This was the beginning of my journey to becoming Paula G. Klarque Garrison would become my brother, mentor, friend, and collaborator over the next several years. He gave me the opportunity to have a radio show on his network. He taught me how to develop a quality radio program. He was a major influence in my radio career! He was passionate, dedicated, and focused on building a media platform.

Survival Radio Network was birthed out of an economic downfall. Klarque was in the real estate industry, an industry that crashed in 2008. This was a season for him to embark on an industry that intrigued him. He developed his own network and called it Survival Radio Network to reflect his surviving the real estate industry. Mentorship is such a valuable relationship. A mentor pours so much into the mentee, wisdom, experience, training, knowledge. This solid foundation in media, helped to develop my brand and foundation in media. The knowledge and experience gained has opened doors of opportunity, of which I have graciously walked through. So, how did I get to where I am in radio? One step at a time.

Practice makes perfect! If you want to become well-versed in something, you must practice. If you want to become well-versed in something, you must learn everything you need to learn about that “something.” Learn, practice, act. So,what are some things to consider when thinking about having your own radio show?

Here are 10 things you need to consider when developing a radio show:

1. Concept: What ideas do you have? What do you feel would be a great idea that you could talk about? What experiences have you had that you could shape and develop for radio programming?

2. Platform: Which radio platform will you use? There are many platforms upon which you can broadcast a radio show. Survival Radio Network utilized Blog Talk Radio as their platform. Google, make a list and search each platform and see which one works best for you.

3. Boundaries: What will you discuss on your show? What are some topics that you absolutely will not discuss? You must decide where you draw the line.

4. Time/Day: Here’s where the commitment comes in. Rain, shine, snow, sleet, hail, a cold, a headache, or a plain “I don’t feel like it,” can all hinder you from broadcasting. Each show is a commitment to your audience. Your audience expects to hear you each week on the day and time that you have established as ‘showtime.” Make sure you can make the commitment for the long run.

5. Longevity: Does your concept have longevity or is it just the “hot topic” of the moment and interest will wane? Give some thought to how long you want to be engaged as a radio show host. Is this just a hobby or are you in it for the long haul?

6. Guests/or not: Can you carry a topic for 30 to 60 minutes or do you need to book guests each week?

7. Music: Will you have commercial breaks in which you will play music? If so, you will need to consider ASCAP policies, copyright laws, and other legalities. Artists music has been playing on a variety of platforms for years without artist compensation. That is changing and you will need to be well-versed on the process before playing music on your show.

8. Opening/Closing: Do you have a custom opening and closing? What you open your show with and close your show with, makes a difference. Both have lasting impressions.

9. Logo: You can probably think of a couple of radio shows that when you see the logo, you automatically know who’s show it is. Consider a logo that reflects your show concept and reflects you.

10. Co-Host: Some work, some don’t. Consider which would work best given your topic and your own personal preference.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is definitely a start! Radio is a great platform for your voice to be heard. If you have a voice, if you have something to say, consider having your own radio show, and embrace the journey.

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