Fake it ’til you make it… as a breakfast radio presenter
In a piece that first appeared in Encore, SAFM’s Michael Beveridge tells us how to fake it in the morning.
What does a breakfast radio presenter do?
What the majority of humans all over the world do in the morning: pretend to be happy in front of their bosses on Monday morning and act like getting out of bed to come to work is exactly what they want to be doing. Another answer would be: “I’m not really sure yet.” I think that’s basically the key to having success in most roles, not really having any idea of what you’re doing but having the talent and/or luck to just stumble through the day looking like you’re on top of things.
*taps pile of papers on desk*
*asks producer how next week’s sponsorships are*
*sits in toilet playing games on phone for 30 minutes*
What skills do you need to be good at the job?
Radio is tough. Very tough. You have to go through a rigorous course of getting into a reality TV show to get the majority of your training, and even then there’s no guarantee. From what I’ve been told, just having the ability to talk frankly about everything and anything and not try and pretend to be something you’re not is key to being “goodish” at the job.
Who are the people you work closest with?
Our producers, content directors, hair stylists, make up crew, masseuse(s), artisan bakers, baristas, barristers, sommeliers, inspiration coaches and #thinspiration coaches. But mostly, it’s just the first two to ensure we don’t act like wankers.
Is there any lingo we need to know to do the job?
Good lord. Radio lingo is about as absurd as it gets. Here’s a legitimate sentence that someone said to me during my first show. “Alright we’ll sweep into something at the outerbreak, let’s make sure we have a good bed going for our new weekly sting and Micky let’s have you lead this rave in the next break because your new benchmark is coming up next.” Again, smile, nod and if you ask me at the end of the year I might know what’s going on.
What does a typical day on the job entail?
Get in at around 4.30am, walk around in a daze until coffee is administered liberally via face hole. Go into pre-production meeting at 5am, listen to our amazing newsreader tell us the gritty stories of the day that are gripping our city. Ignore said newsreader as soon as she leaves the room and talk about why Hayley’s such a crap cook or why Tony Abbott looks like a bit of a pest in dick togs. Then we jump into the studio at 5.59am, ride the on-air rollercoaster ’til we’re off air at nine. Then we do things called ‘sweeps and promos’ which are basically hooking tomorrow’s show throughout the day to get people to tune in. Actually I might be wrong, maybe it’s talking about what we did on the show that day. Either way I’m 80 per cent sure they’re called sweeps and we do them after each show. Then we do our interviews either in-studio or over the phone, record different promos with the day jocks, attend sales meetings to get on top of who’s got buy in to our show and then (God willing) we’re headin’ home somewhere between 11 and 12.
What’s the best part of the job?
I got to talk to Bernard Fanning yesterday which was amazing, but someone left his mic up after we got off air and we heard him tell someone that he thought we were knobs, which broke my little heart.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Trying to not let my down moods affect the show. No-one can be cheery and perky 100 per cent of the time, and I definitely go through my gloomy spells and it’s finding ways to get out of the doldrums before you head on air that is probably the biggest yet most rewarding challenge. And getting up at 4am. Sweet Jesus.
How do you become a breakfast radio presenter?
In all honestly, and from my limited experience, it seems that there’s three ways to get into radio:
1. Go to radio school. I know nothing about this, but it exists and my amazing anchor Burgo did it and look at him now. He can press buttons AND tell jokes. I can barely get away with one.
2. Be a comedian. Again, I know nothing about this, but this basically gets you up on stage, allows the powers that be to see that you’ve got an opinion, or at least to see what your personality/charisma is like and what you sound like on a mic. This gives them something of an assurance that you can pop a funny.
3. Go on reality TV. To those not aware, I was on Big Brother last year, and somehow I managed to get a job out of it. What’s that you say? I’m just a reality TV hack? Why should I get a job? Well because I was a normal person before I went on the show, and I’m a normal person after the show. So is Chrissie Swan, Ryan Fitzgerald, Em Rusciano, Camilla Severi and a slew of others who, no doubt, lacked the belief in their ability or ‘talent’ to commit to starting work on radio (I sure as hell still doubt my ability every day) but obviously had something special about them to get to where they are today, however long that took.
*taps papers on desk*
*asks producers where pants are*
Michael Beveridge can be heard weekdays on SAFM in Adelaide as part of the Michael, Hayley and Burgo show.
This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.