Create Great Radio Packages with BBC Radio 2’s Tim Johns

Tell engaging stories and build an identity for your station with radio packages. Tim Johns, expert producer and report for The Jeremy Vine Show, joins The Internet Radio Podcast to cover what exactly goes into crafting great radio packages.


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Breaking into The Radio Industry

Tim Johns currently works at BBC Radio 2, but didn’t start off in the radio industry having taken a geography degree in university. However having spent time in student radio he says it’s vital to head down the right path.

I always wanted to work in radio, student radio was vital through the contacts you make and the experience you gain.

Having a place to be creative and build up your radio skills is key if you want to land a professional gig in the industry.

What Goes into Producing The Jeremy Vine Show?

Tim John’s is part of The Jeremy Vine Show, a lunch time current affairs program, which covers top news stories throughout the week.

Every day they run through an intense scheduled of discussing how topics which should be covered, who they should talk to, contact people, put scripts together, and work out any other logistics. Radio packages are then put together around these stories to summarise events for listeners.

How Do You Make Sure Reports Are Accurate?

Firstly, it’s about putting the nerves to one side. You get used to what you’re doing, wether that’s reporting on current events or putting together a radio package on a short deadline.

If there’s a fact I can’t verify, I’ll leave it out.

Sometimes you can be vague in reports, as long as you communicate the topic effectively and do it justice. If there’s something you’re unsure about then it’s best to leave it out.

Producing Radio Packages

Tim uses radio packages quite often on The Jeremy Vine Show, saying that they’re a brilliant way to stitch events together to tell a short story the best it possibly can for your listeners.

A radio package was created specifically for an event as shown in the video below.

Producing & Presenting

If you want to make the transition from producing to presenting then it can be a bit of a shock as you have to go where the stories are, stay up late, and take it very seriously. On the flip side, if you’re a presenter going into producing then it’s important to put a side the ego so you can help others look and sound good.

The radio industry are always looking for those that can do a bit of both, present shows whilst having the skills to produce, which Tim did to cover The Jeremy Vine Show.

Advice on Developing Radio Skills

It’s all about doing it yourself. It’s very rare when you get offered a full-time job on what you want to do it, so in the mean time you want to be practicing skills you want to use professionally, whether that’s presenting or producing.

It’s all about doing it yourself.

Write a blog, make a podcast, create a video and upload it to YouTube. All of those things, if no one reads it or listens to it then it doesn’t matter as you have a portfolio you can point to; plus you’ll just get better at doing it and then excel once employed.

Tim John’s 3 Essential On Air Tips

  1. Common Sense: Always use your head and make well thought out judgements when presenting on air, for instance don’t say anything you shouldn’t and research topics thoroughly that you’re covering.
  2. Be Yourself: It’s said too often, but not a lot of people follow this advice. Relax and be yourself when presenting on air as the listener will know when you’re not.
  3. Practice: Got a spare hour to kill? Use it to practice and hone your radio skills.

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