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How I prepare myself before going live on air to ensure a successful broadcast

Photo by Sylvano Mbatu for

Hosting a radio show is one of the most fascinating careers one could aspire to. Growing up in Africa during the 90s, I was always captivated by the voice of a radio journalist emanating from a small receiver. It was a mystery to me how they could speak to us without being seen. That curiosity sparked my dream of becoming a journalist. Yet, to this day, many are unaware of the preparations a radio presenter undertakes before broadcasting. As an entertainment show host at Phoenix FM in Dublin, Ireland, I’ve decided to share a brief, personal glimpse into my pre-show routine.

In preparation for musical shows, the playlist is compiled beforehand and provided to the studio operator well in advance to ensure it is uploaded into the system. This process also allows the Programmes Coordinator to review the playlist and verify that all songs meet broadcast standards and comply with the Irish Broadcasting Authority’s code of conduct.

All these processes are meant to gate keep and ensure that all programmes meet the required standards and policies set by government. Going against the set policies will amount to a station paying huge fines that might even lead to losing the station’s broadcasting license.

Once I arrive at the studio, I use two software applications: Spotify for streaming music and Adobe Audition for recording audio. I make sure that both software applications are open and check my playlist to ensure that it has been approved. I also check the time stamp to ensure that the playlist will not go beyond the stipulated time. Once I confirm that the playlist is ready, I open Adobe Audition. On the console/mixer, I designate two audio channels, one for my microphone and the other one for the music.

Once both programs are ready, it’s time to confirm the audio levels for both my voice and the music. This is important to ensure that we adhere to the prescribed levels for the best quality sound on the listener’s end. At this point, we have checked Spotify and Adobe Audition, as well as the audio levels. Now, everything is set for me to go on air.

There are different formats for entertainment shows, with some programmes being hosted by multiple presenters who have different roles to play. However, on the Afro Vibe show, I am the solo host and my main focus is on playing new generation music from Africa, commonly known as Afrobeat. Since I am alone, I am in charge of all the details of the show, which means I need to be well-prepared before I start the programme and remain attentive throughout.

Bearing this in mind, I make sure the studio is quiet, hit play, and the show’s jingle begins to play. Then, I cue the first song before my initial segment and segue back to music. It’s an intriguing concept that always leaves you wanting more. My aspiration is to evolve this idea into a radio or television program soon. In the meantime, join me on 92.5 Phoenix FM every Saturday from 2 to 3 pm for your entertainment fix.

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