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Is it Better to Pre-Record Radio or Broadcast Live?

In the changing media landscape with more on demand content and ever more radio stations, is it better to pre-record radio in order to sound more polished.

Jamie Ashbrook

by Jamie Ashbrook in Production

Last updated 04.08.2023

Pre Record Radio

When we romanticise about radio, we think of turning the faders up; the big red ‘mic live’ sign lighting up and great improvised links and discussions. However, the reality is often different. Much of the best radio that we consume is meticulously planned and prepped in order to make it sound slick and professional. As radio is not necessarily as freeform and improvised as the listening experience suggests and in the age of on demand platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, is it time to ask whether it is better to pre-record radio?

More than meets the ear to live radio

Radio comes in many different shapes and sizes from speech to music to phone ins and more. Part of the illusion and attraction of radio is the combination of slickness and content that sounds effortless and instantaneous.

However, even daily breakfast shows on music stations often use prerecorded content from interviews to traffic updates. This helps to create a polished and professional sound to their radio.

Even on some of the biggest radio stations, aspects or segments do not need to be live. One of the most regular features of radio that can seem live but often isn’t are phonecalls. Phonecalls are used in radio shows to add interaction and immediacy. However if you go behind the scenes of the show, they are often prerecorded, sometimes minutes or hours before. If the top stations are using prerecorded with the illusion of it being live, this is something that new and upcoming internet radio stations can take into account.

The landscape is changing

The way we consume radio, music and media is changing. Podcasts are growing, meaning speech content is now consumed on demand. Music is now often consumed through streaming services. If this is the case, why does radio need to be live?

Pre recording can be an effective way to make sure your content sounds professional and slick. As mentioned previously, you can even pre record in such a way that makes it sound live or immediate. When there are many radio stations emerging on the internet, pre recording and scheduling content can be a great way to add a level of professionalism that rival stations do not possess.

Even the next generation of radio stations including Apple’s Beats 1, NTS Radio and Monocle 24, pre record a big proportion of their content. Often this is due to the talent not being used to live radio and it is better to tighten the links to make it sound slicker. Just because it is radio, it doesn’t need to be live.

Is it better to pre-record radio?

Prerecording can give you opportunities to hone your skills and add a level of professionalism. The benefit of time, editing and reflection can make output, especially from smaller stations better.

When starting a station, many like the idea of live radio and this is still a wonderful aspect of radio as a medium. However, the audience is used to polished content, rather than stumbling and poor live output and therefore being clever with prerecorded content is a fantastic way of taking your station to the next level.

In, if you want to insert a prerecorded package into the playlist and still sound immediate or up to date, you can insert an uploaded audio into the queue quickly and easily as shown in the gif below.


If you wish to prerecord music shows, speech shows, podcasts or DJ sets, makes it super easy to upload your prerecorded shows and schedule your content to broadcast when you want.

For more information on how to set up playlists and schedule pre recorded content, click here to read more or watch the video below.

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