10 Things Every Radio DJ Says

Witty remarks, heartfelt anecdotes, and relatable banter can be hard to throw out on the fly, so presenters get repetitive from time to time. Here are 10 things every radio DJ says.

Aaron Corkin

by Aaron Corkin in Tips

Last updated 16.05.2021

10 things every radio dj says header

Listening to DJs can sometimes feel like groundhog day. Common stock phrases and rehashed topics are byproducts of the same routine day after day. But filling up airtime is an art form. Get to know 10 things every radio DJ says (and what to avoid). At the end, let us know which ones you’ve heard in the comments.

10 Things Every Radio DJ Says

Full disclosure. Every industry is prone to repetition, especially content creators live on a regular basis. Just look at rolling news channels or popular shows like The Joe Rogan Experience.

Point is, treading the same ground isn’t always a bad thing. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good laugh, so enjoy.

10. Name Dropping Like There’s No Tomorrow

Probably the most obvious thing every radio DJ says is their own name and/or station name, typically in between tracks or segments. But you want listeners to know who they’re listening to, right?

Hey there! This is [presenter] on [station name], playing the best [music type] all day long!

9. Getting the Last Word In Edgewise

Every radio DJ is lying when they say they don’t have an ego. And co-hosts and guests inflame it tenfold.

8. Accidentally Broadcasting Dead Air (Whoops)

“Silence is golden”, said nobody ever in the radio industry. But dead air can happen from time to time, which is the equivalent of a black spot, aka pirate mark of death.

Toast of London in the sound booth

For traditional commercial radio, the consequences of dead air can be devastating. In the US, the FCC fines stations for silence over 5 seconds. Along with other penalties like reconsidering their broadcasting license. Not something that’s a concern with online radio.

7. Not What You Say, But How You Say It

Sometimes, it’s how you say things, not what you actually say. Commercial, dance, talk, and even classical all have very distinctive presentation styles. Whether upbeat, soft, or something else entirely, shows fit the tone listeners come to expect.

6. Becoming the Speaking Clock

Saying the time throughout a show is a relic of old. Back in the day, listeners didn’t have fancy smartwatches or high-end phones at hand. So radio DJs were a good source of information, from local news to the current time.

Alan Partridge in the studio

Another cause for the lack of time checks is the rise of automation, making it difficult for DJs to get the right time using tools like voice tracking, but not impossible.

5. Glossing Over Mistakes

Whether technical, a poor choice of words, or falling back in your chair, radio DJs tend to avoid pointing out mistakes. Instead opting to move on like there’s nothing to see here.

KISS FM DJ falling off chair

4. Reading Out Funny Messages (By Accident)

Some things pass Radio DJs by. Take listener shout outs. Slipping in silly names, puns, and just generally funny wordplay can turn a good show into a great one. And the general public never ceases to amaze.

3. Having One-Sided Conversations

And expecting the listener to talk back…

How’s your weekend been?
Bart Simpson laughing

But they are good icebreakers and it makes shows flow more naturally. Definitely a must for morning drive-time presenters thawing out listeners.

2. When Debates Get Out of Hand

Radio DJs have a responsibility to wrangle guests. But conversations can go off the rails, fast. Talk radio and political shows are rife with guests speaking their mind, sometimes with hilarious results.

1. When In Doubt, Talk About the Weather

Light, casual banter is great for warming up an audience. And what’s more casual than the weather? But overplay your ‘weatherman hand’ and you’ll come across a bit cheesy.

Quick-Fire DJ Phrases

Radio isn’t short of presenters hitting the same beats day after day. So as a bonus round, find some of the most common phrases ever to be uttered live on air.

I wanna hear from you!

Surprisingly, asking listeners to call in works. And it makes for great unscripted content, fostering a feeling of community in your audience.

Up next...

A tried and tested link to the next segment. No DJ would be the same without it.

We're live from...

A common phrase from news stations transitioning to a presenter on location.

I hope you’re having a great time!

Although radio is often one-sided, wishful messages tend to engage listeners more, especially when direct and to the point.

Have you heard the news?

Segue into the news. But listeners like knowing DJs have their finger on the pule, whether national or local.

Essential Skills Every Radio DJ Needs

So what exactly makes a good radio presenter? Honestly, it's difficult to say. There’s no one specific set of skills needed, and presenters each have their own style. But worth keeping the following in mind.

  • Prepare Beforehand: Guaranteed failure is not practising enough. Structure your time, take notes, and do the work beforehand to produce awesome shows.
  • Be Authentic: Listeners can spot a fake from a mile away. You won’t appeal to everyone, but authenticity and confidence can attract loyal followers.
  • Talk to One Person: Engage with listeners by talking like a friend. The closer people feel to you, the more likely they’ll come back.
  • Have Something to Say: No one wants to listen to a boring person. Make listeners laugh, make them think, and be passionate.
  • Air Check Shows: Replay live broadcasts. What went well and what didn’t? Analyse your shows like a post-match analysis for next time.

Conclusion

Broadcasting day after day can become repetitive. Common phrases and topics echo throughout most stations, but it’s easy to paint presenters with broad strokes when they’re at the station’s helm.

But are there any phrases that you think should have been included? Whether you’re a content creator, avid listener, or something in between, share your top picks for things every radio DJ says in the comments below.

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