What do you think is the number one priority if you want to be a radio jock or a radio newsman? Got it – your voice.
It may seem obvious that a radio man’s (read woman’s) voice is his most important asset. At the National Broadcasting School, it’s my job to see loads of graduates who want to train to be radio presenters and radio journalists and let me tell you, you’d be astonished how many aspirants just don’t get it.
Own a dodgy voice and you’re going to find it hard making the grade – unless you have the mountainous confidence and talent of the brilliant Jonathan Ross. Conversely, own a great voice and the world is your lobster!
Now, let me be clear. I’m not talking about accents – regional accents are big pluses in most radio stations these days. RP, formally ‘Received Pronunciation’, is just not fashionable. No – I’m talking about the ability of radio jocks and journos alike to ‘sell’ stories to listeners by being clear, and by talking at an attractive pitch and at an accessible speed.
Now, here’s a truism. Radio’s about sound! So, the sound of a voice is a tad important if it’s in listeners’ kitchens and cars day after day after day. But how much to attention to my radio colleagues pay to their voices? Not a lot.
Perhaps the reason that radio people have not cottoned on is because they don’t know how much a good voice coach can help with breathing or pitch or engagement or colouring or speed or clarity or exercises or warm-ups? I confess to being just as ignorant for many, many years. But let me tell you – at the National Broadcasting School I have woken up to just how much a good coaching can improve even a voice in just three months. 사설토토
A few radio companies have had the vision and understanding to organise voice training for their broadcasters in radio schools or in house. But rarely do I hear of radio people investing in themselves by hiring personal voice coaches. After all, it does seem an essential part of a broadcaster’s toolkit and it’s only thirty quid or so for a session.
Improving your voice is something that, with a little investment, is achievable. Much less so thinking radio, being creative, being memorable – those qualities are natural. So why not focus on an area which, with a voice coach, will deliver results fairly quickly.
It’s not just rookie broadcasters who need specialist help. For those of us who’ve been in the radio business a while, we forget how easy it is to lapse into bad ways. Like professional sportsmen or actors or singers, broadcasters are performers. Pretty well without exception, coaches help professional athletes, thesps and warblers stay at the top of the game. There’s a lesson there.
Radio is easy to do – but it’s really difficult to do well. That’s why all of us need all the help we can get. If the starting point for a radio broadcaster is ‘voice’, why ignore voice coaches? Go on, give it a try! You may be amazed and might think of take radio courses or any radio training.
Rory McLeod, is the director of the National Broadcasting School. A Radio school providing Radio courses and really good radio training to start a career in radio.