Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

June 27, 2017

Radio 101: What Does An "On-Air Personality" Do?

     Welcome to my first blog post in my new series all about one of my true loves: the radio industry! As many of you know, I just began my full-time job in the radio industry back in April. Pretty much since that point in time, I have been brainstorming how I can share my career on my blog. I decided to start a monthly post series (appropriately called "Radio 101") in which each month I'll answer a question about the radio industry in general, Top 40 radio, or my job specifically! If you have a question about any of these things- PLEASE send it my way!! You can comment on this post, email me or DM me on social media (I'm @miss_alk on Twitter and Instagram!). I'll use your question in a future post for this series.

     *If you're wondering how I first became interested in radio and how I decided to move to Vermont for my first job, check out this post! If you're wondering why I went to attend a year of broadcasting school after getting my undergraduate degree, check out this post!*

     Today's question: I saw you refer to your new job as being an "on-air personality." I've never heard of a DJ being called that! Besides for talking on the radio, what all does an on-air personality do?

      Such a great question to kick off this series! There's definitely a lot more to my job description than just announcing songs. 😉

      Of course, the main part of being an on-air personality is the radio portion of the job. This is probably 75% of what I do, and some weeks even more than that! In short, a lot of talking! Some personalities are one "cast member" in an ensemble show with multiple personalities (this is typically found in morning shows), and others like myself host our own solo shows.

      My current schedule is that I work for two radio stations in the same company, a Top 40 station and an AC (This stands for Adult Contemporary- meaning a blend of today's lighter pop hits and some 90s/2000s throwbacks). My primary station is the Top 40, Planet 96.7, - and I'm their midday personality, which means I host the show on weekdays which hits most of the workday hours! I'm on-air for Planet weekdays M-F from 10-3 pm. On Saturday evenings, I work for Star 92.9, the AC station. Weekends in radio often see different shifts than the weekdays, and I host the 3-8 pm shift on Saturdays for Star- after I'm off-air they play a nationally syndicated 90s music night show. I also do two additional weekend shifts for Planet. See what I mean- a lot of talking! (FYI- if you're ever interested in tuning in, both stations that I work for have free iPhone apps with streaming, and you can also stream the radio live on the websites!)

     The "talking on the radio" part is also more complicated than people think. While a good deal of my talk breaks for both stations are simply stating the station name and the song that's about the play,  that isn't all of them! I do a lot of prep work each day for my shows to find content to discuss with listeners. Top 40 radio shows often have an entertainment news flavor to them, since they're targeting young millennials. Each day I read about what's new in Hollywood, and look for stories that feature the artists that we're playing currently on the radio. I also look for anything viral or trending in the online world. 95% of what I read about each day I don't talk about on-air, either because it wouldn't appeal to enough of Planet's listeners, it's too long of a story to be broken down for a short radio talk break.... or sometimes just too weird of a story! (I share some of the weird ones that I read on IG stories and Snapchat sometimes- one of last week's was a trending article about a 60 something year old grandma who pole dances! That's just WEIRD!)

      The last portion with talking on the radio is the listener interaction component. I regularly run on-air giveaways and promotions! Airing regular phone calls with listeners is an important part of being a radio personality- you always want to show the audience (and your sales clients) that you're interacting with your demographic, and doing a good job at it! This summer, Planet is doing lots of concert ticket giveaways, so I qualify listeners for those and then edit and air the calls most weekdays during my show. (And no- radio calls are NOT aired live! They're recorded, edited, and then played back once made perfect on-air!)

     That concludes the talking on-air portion of the job duties... but there's still lots more that a radio personality does! Something else voice-related that I get to do that's lots of fun is voice commercials. Almost all of our commercials are voiced in-house with our own personalities as the writers, producers and vocal talent, which I think is so cool. I always love having the chance to read a new script and voice a commercial, and it's fun to hear them on-air when I'm out and about outside of work. My favorite one that I've done so far has been for a local grocery store chain that's hiring for summer employment.

      Social media and blogging are two huge components of my job, and no, I don't mean working on things related to Southern Belle in Training! 😉 Branding a radio station is so important, and in the digital age of media, a well executed social media strategy and a high quality website/blog for a radio station is so crucial. The top radio and TV markets across the country have digital departments in their offices, staffed with people who are simply devoted to making the digital side of the media great. But in a smaller radio company like that one that I work for, on-air personalities take care of all of the station social media needs. Each day, I take the show prep that I have prepared as talking points for my show and also transform it into social media content for station blog posts, and posts for our Facebook and Instagram. (We also do have a Twitter, but a lot of our station tweets are automated shares currently.)

     Events and promotions are the last portion of the job, and although this isn't an everyday component to my work, it is an important one. The visual part of radio are the community events and live broadcasts, which are called "remotes." Remotes are when your listeners really get the chance to interact with you up close and personally, and you can also attract new listeners at them! Some remotes are paid as advertising opportunities with local businesses, and others are for charitable causes for local non-profits. So far the remotes that I've worked since beginning my job were all for charity, but I will have my first live broadcast events (which are events that our sales team coordinate with local businesses!) coming up in July or August.

     So in short, that is a summary of my current job as an on-air personality. Job descriptions do vary from station to station, as well as show times (For example, a morning radio personality might have slightly different responsibilities than I do hosting a midday show.). But for the most part- this is the gig! And I love it- so very much! I dream about being nationally syndicated someday, but for now I'm enjoying growing in my field and learning how to be the best radio personality I can be!

      I hope that you enjoyed my first Radio 101 post! I'm already looking forward to sharing the next few. If you have any sort of a question related to the radio industry, or any burning question you've ever wondered about your favorite radio station, send it my way! Email me at, or DM me on social media.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)



  1. This is so nice, I have learnt so much from being an on air personality in this blog post! Thank you for sharing
    Ash |

  2. That sounds so fun! I've been listening to the local morning show here for a little while and was always curious what it was like to actually have that job. Very interesting, thanks for the insight!

    Cassie's Big Adventure

  3. This was such an interesting post A! I think it is so eye opening to read about the ins and outs of your job. I love when bloggers share insight into their daily lives and the way you shared this is both informative and intriguing. Though I would NEVER make it as a radio personality (I hate hate hate hearing my voice played back) I think it is so cool you get to interact with listeners daily and make public appearances.

  4. We work a lt with radio at my job for the past year I have learned a lot. I think is is a really cool job!!!

  5. I like learning more about what other people do because it goes to show that positions with similar titles can do completely different things! I had no idea all that went into being an on-air personality. I'm glad you love your job :)

  6. That's super interesting! I always wondered what all a radio personality included - I knew it was a ton!

  7. Ahh! so cool! I think it would be fun to voice commercials! do people recognize your voice when they hear them??

  8. Being a radio personality sounds like a lot of fun! I used to love listening to my local radio stations and calling in when I was a kid haha.

  9. I interned at a radio station a few years ago! There's so much more that goes in to being a radio personality than just announcing songs. It's a tough job to do!

  10. This was so interesting to read. I had no idea how much research goes into the role of a n on-air personality!

  11. I love learning about other people's jobs! As a comm major I have a lot of friends in radio and I know that it can be a really fun job but it requires a lot of hard work! Love following along on social media (like Instagram)!

  12. Although this job seems like a lotttt of work and hours... it seems like such a great job to be able to express yourself & truly have fun! Do you love the people you work with??? Sounds like a blast! xx

  13. I've been wondering when you were going to start sharing about the "behind the scenes" of your job! Keep it coming :)

  14. Love that you're doing a series about your career! It sounds like a fun job and there's a lot to it that I didn't even realize :) Can't wait to read more in this series!

    Kristen |

  15. Wow! So what are your total work hours per week? It seems like it'd be significantly more than 40 hours!

  16. two radio communication methods and equipments will help all types of workers to be in touch with their fellow mates at any instant. Radio History News


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