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Working with Copy as a Radio DJ

December 15, 2023 2:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

As a radio DJ, I often read pre-written scripts or advertisements on air. It’s essential to deliver these messages in a way that keeps my audience engaged and ensures the timing is perfect. So, how do you self-direct as a radio DJ and handle commercial copy like a pro?

Sometimes, I encounter scripts that could be more concise for the allocated time slot, meaning the ad agency or client might just be trying to fit in more words to say than is humanly possible while sounding, well, not insane. As a DJ, knowing how to edit the copy on the fly without losing its essence is essential in such situations. Now, with other voice work I would not be able to edit, so keep that difference in mind, lest you start saying, “Hey, I cut a few things” and then watch them cut you from the job.

For my purposes and permission, I try to focus on the main message that needs to be conveyed and eliminate any unnecessary fluff (also, this is between you and me; I would never tell a copywriter or client there is fluffy fluff coming out of their fancy fingertips.) For time sake however, I may have to rearrange sentences or rephrase paragraphs to fit within the allotted time. Clarity and brevity are essential when handling pieces with too many words.

As a radio DJ, as in some other voice-over work from home, you often have to self-direct, meaning you may not have a producer or director guiding you in real-time. This requires a heightened sense of awareness and attention to detail. I try to take the time to read and understand the copy thoroughly before going on air or recording the copy. I will make notes, highlight key sections, and visualize how I want to deliver each line. Being well-prepared and self-directed, I can deliver commercials confidently and professionally.

Remember, the primary goal of commercial copy is to engage and persuade your listeners. I want to connect emotionally with my audience by infusing my personality and style into the reads, not bore them to death or feel like, “Great, another person trying to sell me another thing I don’t need.” I find ways to make the content relatable and authentic, allowing my listeners to connect with me, and the message on a deeper level.

When I first started in radio, managing commercial copy was challenging, but I became more comfortable with self-direction with practice. I seek feedback from my peers or program directors to help refine my skills further. I embrace every opportunity to improve and develop my unique style. I remember that it’s not just about reading words; it’s about creating a memorable and impactful experience for my listeners.

The thing is, as a radio DJ, handling commercial copy is crucial to my job. My dedication to honing the skills of mastering timing, self-directing, and building an emotional connection has led to confidently delivering compelling commercials as a radio DJ and as a voice over professional in other genres of work. And this means keeping all of my clients, my listeners, and myself happy with my work. Lastly, these skills are not mine to own, they are available to you any time you choose.

We welcome you to join us for an introductory Voice Over class HERE

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This post was written by Simone Stevens

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