How to Become a Radio DJ Online for Free

Dec 12, 2019

Radio DJs can benefit from formal training in public speaking and English; many also have a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. It is relatively easy to pursue this career using free online resources.

Information About Radio DJs

Radio DJs, or disc jockeys, play music on over the airwaves. Many simply introduce or provide information about the music they play, while others offer news, insight, weather or laughs. DJs need strong diction and a range of other skills depending on the format of their show. Many of these skills can be learned online free of charge. The chart below illustrates the requirements for radio DJs, in addition to salary and growth outlook.

Required Skills Speaking, Active Listening, Reading Comprehension, Monitoring, Social Perceptiveness
Job Growth (2018-2028) -5% (for Announcers)
Median salary (2018) $49,480 (for Radio and Television Announcers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Steps to Become a Radio DJ Online

To become a radio DJ, you'll need to develop your speaking, active listening, reading comprehension, monitoring, and social skills. Honing your craft and creating a demo tape to send to potential radio stations are two steps that can be completed online for free.

Step 1. Hone Your Craft

Public speaking, grammar and enunciation are incredibly important on the radio. There are several free resources online that can help you improve these skills including YouTube videos, audiobooks, and articles on industry websites. Many universities and organizations offer free courses in public speaking. Classes cover topics such as listening and verbal/nonverbal skills, developing and delivering persuasive speeches, and improving critiquing skills through peer and guest speaker performances. Researching the history of the music industry and the backgrounds of musicians/vocalists may also be helpful.

Step 2. Get a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism

Broadcast journalism is the traditional degree to break into the radio field but candidates can land jobs with a general bachelor's degree as well. There are several online programs available and most take around four years to complete. Coursework in these programs focus on topics such as media management, media distribution, audio and video production, media creation, copywriting, and multi-media. While an undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism is not free, there are tuition-free options to get a bachelor's degree. On such option is through the University of the People, which offers accredited programs in business and computer science.

Step 3. Start an Online Podcast

If you have a computer with a microphone and an internet connection, starting a podcast is essentially free. You can use the podcast to create your own content, build your skills on the 'airwaves' and have an audio portfolio to show to potential employers. There are several things you can do to make the most of the format:

  • Choose a free podcasting website to serve as a host.
  • Narrow in on a specific topic or niche.
  • Decide on the length of the podcast and the style.
  • Design catchy cover art to draw listeners in as they browse through podcasts.

Step 3. Create a Demo Tape

To get a job on-air at a radio station, you'll need to create a demo tape to send to the program director. Again, with a computer, a microphone and free recording software, this is essentially free. Each station differs on the style of tape they require. They may ask for a generic recording or request a topic.

Step 4. Join a Professional Organization

The American Disc Jockey Association, The National Association of Broadcasters, The United States Disc Jockey Association, and the International Radio & Television Society Foundation all provide their paid members with countless benefits to improve their skills and marketability. Many of these trade organizations offer free podcasts, webcasts and seminars about the industry.

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