1. Routines are key.
How you set the studio up every morning. Where you place your audio in the play-out systems, preparing for station liners and forward sells for the show. (I would rewrite every single liner and critical forward sell for the show the day before, and then rehearse those set-ups before going to air. I wanted every single piece of communication from my side of the desk to be perfect.) When it comes to preparation, do the same thing, the same way, everyday.
From the time you go to bed, to the time you set your alarm.
The way you warm-up your voice every morning.
An exercise regime to ensure you’re fit and healthy and can last the years and manage the horrendous hours!
Stick to your routines and rituals. They will help you to stay focused and prepared for every shift.
More importantly, it will help your crew relax when they’re on the air. There’s nothing more nerve racking for a co-host to see the anchor on the other side of the desk in a sea of paperwork flying by the seat of their pants.
Your job is to confirm with the team how the next break is going to work. Auditioning audio for the next rave, confirming cues from each of the players.
Who’s throwing to what, who has the out if it’s a planned spot.
I always worked 20 minutes ahead of the show. If it was 6.15a, I would be thinking about 6.35a.
Working with the producers and production support on making sure that we have everything we need ahead of time.
3. Positive feedback.
In the studio and during the show, I would only ever give positive feedback. The show is a performance, everyone needs to be feeling good about themselves, the anchor’s job is to keep the room “up” and focused.
Leave any constructive criticism to the CD for after the show.
4. Technical brilliance.
Those 1%ers that give a brekkie show momentum and energy comes from good anchoring.
You aim is to nail a perfect, seamless shift every time.
Work on your editing techniques to ensure you can turn around a call in quick time if you need to. Audition every new sound bite before it goes to air. Know the length of every song intro on your playlist. Know how every song finishes so you can either talk over the fade or nail a cold ending.
These are small points, but trust me, the guys on the other side of the desk will notice these things when you’re doing them consistently.
5. Great listening.
The job of the anchor is to listen for opportunities. Both on and off the air.
Inside a break your job is to bring the third person’s perspective on how the break is sounding, looking for the right moment to get out or the right question or response to extend and improve it. Off the air and in between the songs you’re looking for those quirky conversations or off the cuff comments that could be the start of a new rave or phoner or story arc. “What else can we do with that??” “is there something in this??” are some of the best questions you can ask the team.
It’s never about you on the air. It’s always about the team. Your job is to make the whole greater than the sum of it’s parts. That means looking for and listening for opportunities for your co-hosts to be their best and play to their strengths.
I would start every shift thinking, “how can I make these guys look good?“.