How to become a better music radio host: #RDE22

radioinfo’s Wayne Stamm covered a number of sessions at Radiodays Europe in Malmö and thought this was one of the best, high energy parts of the conference.

 The speakers were, Nik Goodman Bounce, Stephanie Hirst Hits Radio, Ben Jones Virgin Radio.

This is a little of what they passed on to the capacity crowd in their workshop.


Show Prep

For Ben Jones it’s all about having a paper log. This is a part of the ritual he has and something he has been doing during his 22 years on radio.

He told the workshop “…I sort of literally scribble where they want me to speak and then I sort of, depending on how much time i’ve got, will annotate it.  Sometimes my paper log can look a little bit like the book that John Doe wrote on in Se7en, just full of sort of mad insane scrawlings, but this is my show bible.  

Ben usually gets his logs early on a Friday for his Friday evening show, and that allows him to jot down ideas, thoughts and notes for his program.

Stephanie Hurst works in much the same way, with pen and  paper,  writing out notes including shoutouts,  a throwback, notes about the breakfast show and more.

She says that a great part about working at Hit radio is that she is able to get the tracks up to four days in advance which then allows her to do some research, look for a clip or at the artist, to take a look at the socials to see if there is anything there. The only drawback for all of this is sometimes it is easy to over-prep and lose the spontaneity of Live radio.


Sense of the day

Nic Goodman brought up what he calls “Sense of the day” and made the point that “I’m really big on making sure that a radio show sounds like it should only be broadcast on the day that it is broadcast and if you can repeat a show at any other time of day and nobody will notice the difference then you haven’t captured the sense of the day.”

He then asked the other two what they have done recently in this regard.

Stephanie took a piece of the song Spaceman from the UK entrant to Eurovision, Sam Ryder, extracted the vocal, found a song in the same key in her log, dropped the acapella vocal into Zetta and blended it into the program.

She also has a studio in her home and enough audio software to allow her to undertake something like this.

Ben says it is all about putting that little bit of extra effort in, researching something that’s topical and timely and then shaping it because it can only make the show sound better on air and a “bit more premium.”

Nic’s point was “The difference between a good show and a great show is caring. If you care about it, it just sounds better.”

Ben confessed to pre-recording his first link, saying that this has also become part of his ritual to make sure he gets off to a great start each shift.



Be authentic in relation to the music. When talking about the music or selling it, share a bit of yourself or your relationship to the song being played.

Nic played this clip from one of Ben’s shows

And this was Nic’s takeaway: Ben added a personal reveal i.e his age when it was released, his relationship with the music, and right at the end a great little fact about the song being written in 8. minutes.

Stephanie says the real trick is to learn to be authentic in just 30 seconds, which can be difficult to do, but not impossible.


Selling the music

An easy principle to understand but can be difficult to deliver.

For Ben it is all about knowing the music, loving it and being naturally enthusiastic about it because this is the music of his life.

The difficulty can be the balance between natural enthusiasm without forcing it and going over the top.



Nic played a clip from Stephanie who has searched the net for the stems, or individual tracks for Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way, and then put together this teaser for the song.

Nic’s takeaway here is that there are loads of ways to be creative, it’s just about looking for something a bit different, and working at it.


Feel the music

The best music presenters will feel the music, get into its groove. Ben’s analogy is “You can buy two types of sausages, and they take the same amount of time to cook and eat…one just tastes better and you don’t quite know why.”

 For the rest of the workshop, watch the following YouTube recording.