As part of VIP Studio Sessions, the music education platform for secondary schools, we provide students with insights into the music business, the many different jobs that are out there and careers advice (see the Release & Promotion pages [login required]).
This month, we invited Brighton-based radio DJ, KXVU to talk about his career:
“Radio, eh?! I tend to find that radio in itself, as a concept, is always changing. With so many different perceptions of what radio is to different people, it’s actually quite difficult to define. For me, radio is about a voice and music. You obviously have other elements sprinkled on top, with jingles and effects and all of the sparkly transitions, but for me, at the very core of what radio is to me, is either a DJ or presenter putting down the tracks they enjoy, talking about them and about life – be it news, sports, personal issues, interviews or whatever else crops up.
I first found a love for the airwaves at the same time as I began to discover grime music. For me, Rinse.FM and Axe.FM were untouchable. It was just the raw nature of tune-for-tune mashups and the casual, laid-back nature of the guests arriving, that got me hooked. You never know who was going to be on what show as a guest, so you had to listen to them all so you didn’t miss a thing!
As my love for radio grew, I found myself wanting to get involved. At the age of 15 I applied for my first online show on Ruthlesssoundz.com – a station which at the time played host to Dose, who went on to become Funtcase, one of the biggest names in worldwide dubstep and EDM.
From there, I was primarily playing dubstep but wanted to switch things up, so ended up moving stations to Dubterrain.net, which at the time was probably the fourth biggest online dubstep station in the world. There was always the element of making every episode sound complete, rather than just playing tracks and occasionally speaking. For me that’s what makes the difference, otherwise you may as well be listening to a studio mix.
The perfect opportunity for me then arose in 2015. A few months after launching the Southpoint brand, we stumbled across Trickstar Radio, a new station based in the centre of Brighton, dripping with potential and with a tasty studio to match. We were taken on almost immediately as the Southpoint Show and we turned it into something special. Every week, I would put together a printed running order, a list of must-play tracks, track of the week artwork, guest interviews and guest mixes.
This is where I really trained myself, even if the guest wasn’t huge or I was having a bit of an off week work wise, I would always turn up early, make sure everything was working, have the running order printed and ready to go with copies for the guests, ensuring they were as comfortable as possible.
Four years into doing the show, I got the call to take over the Trickstar breakfast show as its organiser and presenter, which I now do for a day job, Monday to Friday.
The main things I have learnt over the years in regards to getting a position in radio is being as consistent as possible. There are people listening, however difficult it may seem to believe. It may well take a while, but all that means is that you’ll be better equipped for a job when someone comes knocking. It took me nearly 10 years to get a full time radio job, but it felt like the most natural transition in the world to me.
Planning is everything. Do your research on guests so that you can be as comfortable as possible during interviews. They can sense your ease and will relax into things. Check your tracklists beforehand. Don’t leave it until a minute before you go live. Work out your content in advance and plan different sections, because a radio show is as big as you make it.
Anybody can fling a couple of tunes together, but the skill is in making it a unique and comforting listen. I would also suggest getting involved for free as often as possible. Guest mix on different shows and ask for interviews. Co-host wherever you can and build up a catalogue of radio work with which you can propel yourself forward.
My final bit of advice? Work on your relationships with people. You never know when someone could be a perfect guest, so basically, just be a good person!
Huge thanks to KXVU for sharing his journey!
If you would like to find out more about VIP Studio Sessions for your school, start a free 30 day trial.