Mistakes to Avoid On-Air: A Guide For Radio DJs

When broadcasting live, DJs must be prepared for anything as there are no opportunities for edits or resets. So how does one prepare for a smooth, live broadcast? Here are some helpful tips to help you prepare.

Unscripted Live Broadcasts 

Having a script prepared enables you to have more control over the show. A script provides structure and guidance to your live broadcast, and ensures that you don’t stray from the intended focus of the show. Additionally, your scripts can provide an overview of your show, including discussion topics, music playlists, infomercials, sound effects, and more. In addition, researching your topics in advance can greatly improve the quality of your show.

Speaking Inaudibly & Offensive Impersonations

Your tone and overall voice projection can have a meaningful impact on your listeners engagement. Be sure to warm up your voice prior to going live, and speak clearly throughout your live show in order to provide your listeners with the best possible experience. 

Additionally, fostering engagement starts with entertaining your listeners. Bring your personality on-air and create your own identity for your show. 

Understand Your Audience

When you understand your audience, you can tailor your content to their interests and sensitivities. For example, if your audience is young, you should avoid the use of profanities and other age-inappropriate topics and language. 

Dead Air

Long periods of silence on-air is one deadly glitch you should avoid at all costs as it usually results in listeners switching to other shows. To avoid dead air, make sure you insert smooth transition between your songs, infomercials, and talk to fill the space. 

Technical glitches can also result in dead air. To manage this, you can use a reliable fall back solution for your live streaming station such as Spacial’s SAM Broadcaster Cloud. No matter the cause of the disruption, SAM Broadcaster Cloud will detect the disconnect and resume streaming automatically so that your listeners will not experience a disruption in their experience.

Illegal Content Topics

As a broadcaster, it is crucial to be conscious of the topics you discuss on-air. Specific topics, with or without your knowledge, can have legal implications for the station and should therefore be avoided. Examples of these topics include biased political views, character defamation, and false representation of facts. 

Additionally, you need to ensure that the content you play is legal. If you play pre-recorded music from various artists, be aware of the royalty fees and royalty payment legalities within your jurisdiction. If you do not want to pay royalty fees, avoid playing recorded music, jingles, or voice-overs that have royalty fee implications and instead, use unrestricted audio clips, songs, and transitional material to spice up your broadcasting. You can also leverage websites such as Audiojungle that have thousands of royalty-free tracks available for you to download and use.

Low-Quality Sound 

Having a poor sound output including buffering, random pauses and clipping affect the overall quality of your show. As you may know, the broadcasting solution you choose has an impact on the sound quality and overall impression of your station, so you must select a solution with good sound output, such as SAM Broadcaster Pro. Our solution has an advanced audio processor that provides a high quality stream, and includes features such as an equalizer, gated AGC, stereo expander, bass EQ, 5-band processor, 2-band processor and clipper. Additionally, the multi-band processor contains a compressor, expander and limiter for each band. 

Forgetting to Switch Off the Mic

One of the most embarrassing mistakes a broadcaster can make when on-air is accidentally leaving your microphone on when you think you are taking a break during a song or infomercial. In addition to implicating your personal and professional image, leaving your microphone on will interrupt with your live broadcast. To avoid this mistake, we suggest that you keep your microphone switched off at all times when you are not actively speaking.

Background Sounds

A quality show requires clear audio. To achieve this, you need to eliminate background noise from your audio. One way of blocking background sound while streaming is by using noise-cancelling headphones. These types of headphones block out unwanted sound and ambient noise. There are a wide variety of noise cancelling headphones available today, including Apple Airpods Pro, COWIN E7 Active Noise and True Wireless Earbuds VANKYO X200.

Dominating Your Interviews 

If you are conducting a live interview, avoid dominating the segment. Instead, listen more, and let your guest do the majority of the talking. Letting your guest speak gives you time to think about what direction you’d like to take the interview in, and creates a more engaging environment where you can dive deeper into the topics that the guest is there to discuss.

We hope that you found these tips useful and that they help you avoid on-air mistakes. If you’re interested in starting your own radio station, sign up for our 7-ay FREE trial of SAM Broadcaster Cloud today.


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