Sam Supplier now hosts the biggest daytime show on Rinse FM, but his career started out in pirate radio – not the usual route to success, but one that has certainly given him a few stories… here are his 5 steps to get into radio!
Radio is a big market with loads of different opportunities, shows and audiences, so you’re going to have to narrow things down a bit. The first thing you need to do is work out exactly what type of radio you want to do. Do you want to be a presenter on daytime radio, maybe host a talk show, or focus on the music with a specialist DJ-lead show like myself? I’m sure your goals may change along your journey as different opportunities arise, or as the music industry gradually evolves, but I think that it’s important to create a goal from the start to help give you some direction.
Experience: like any industry, this is vital! I was very lucky living in London as a kid as I knew everyone on the scene and got to go and play on all the different pirate radio stations (until I got arrested for it – but that’s a story for another day). I probably shouldn’t advise you to go and do pirate radio for obvious reasons, but the important part is that it gave me a huge amount of experience and also helped me create a nice big following.
No matter how big or small the station may be, you need to get some experience under your belt. Your university probably has its own station, which I reckon is a great place to start – yeah, you’ll be bricking it the first time you step inside the studio, but you will only ever get better! But how do you get your foot in the door outside of uni, I hear you ask…
Work experience: a lot of stations take on interns regularly, and I would say that in this day and age, to work in any kind of commercial radio, it’s absolutely essential. You may just be re-posting the shows on Soundcloud or advertising who’s playing on social media etc, but the amount you will see and learn will be invaluable and will look great on your CV. I don’t think you can understate how important it is to meet people and make contacts in the real world, any situation that means you have to work with people in the industry is priceless – and who knows, you may just hit it off with the bosses and end up getting that dream job.
Get a show reel made. Ideally, you’ll have plenty of content to choose from your experience doing shows, but if not then just do a homemade one. At the end of the day, the aim of a show reel is to prove you have the abilities, personality and confidence to do the job – it need only be 15 mins long as no one will ever listen to anything longer. Merge all your ‘best bits’ into one slick audio presentation; make sure that it shows different sides to you, i.e: read the weather, do a traffic report, interview someone (anyone!) and a funny story or two will never go down badly either. But above all, radio stations want to see your personality, so make sure that massively comes through as this whole game is about making sure you click with the listener from the very first second.
Make music! This way is slightly harder and obviously for those who are more interested in the specialist music route into radio, but it’s the absolute dream that I’ve seen a lot of people who I work with weekly achieve. If you’re a producer or DJ then you need to create a fantastic buzz around your name. Start smashing the clubs and festivals, get your music signed to some solid labels and trust me – if you’re good enough, eventually all the radio stations will come running to you!
His new track ‘Night & Day’ is out today on Champion Records!