When I was younger I used to listen to the music stations on the radio a lot. I had my favorite DJs, the ones who seemed to play the kind of music that I liked most of the time. Now I prefer talk stations and that got me wondering what makes a good presenter as opposed to a good disc jockey.
Surely the main difference is obvious – the disc jockey just spins the discs and in between has to say a few words about the artist or song. Well that is not all. If that is all that they did, they would not last very long on the air. They have to get themselves a personality and the better ones keep a lot more up to date about current affairs than the bad ones do. That is certainly true on the national stations although probably not so much on the local more specialized stations.
The presenters have a totally different role to play and here are a few areas of expertise that I like.
Good voice for radio
I have often been told that I have a good face for radio but a presenter needs a good voice. It must be one that the listeners can listen to for a long time without getting bored. I have heard some that are monotone and they send me to sleep.
If it is a phone in type program it should be a voice that people trust as they are often coming on for advice or to get something off their chest. They are not going to pick up the phone and pour out their hearts unless that trust is present.
The ability to argument both sides
The presenter has to activate the listeners. If an interviewee has a particular point of view the presenter should challenge that and then take the opposite side for another guest. If things are a bit slow to get going I like it when they put forward a controversial point of view which they know will attract a lot of callers.
The ability to think quickly
Talk radio is normally live and it is amazing what can happen during a live program. A caller may start using profanities which the presenter will need to deal with. A caller may be on a poor line or the line may even drop altogether. All these situations have to be deal with.
All in all I do like it more when things do not go smoothly. I like it when there is a bit of argument and controversy. It is good to listen to a good presenter handling these situations with a bit of wit and good humor.