“Standing in” is a standard practice in the world of radio. Your favourite radio presenter will never be on air every single day of the year. Your favourite radio presenter will have to take time off, reboot and recharge every once in a while. Radio presenting essentially is opening up your soul to the rest of the world on a daily basis.
That in itself ... has its pros and cons. The pros outweigh the cons, but notwithstanding that, ignoring the effects of the cons will be highly detrimental. One of the cons is that it takes a toll on one’s mental state. Hence the need to take time off, reboot and recharge every once in a while. Which is why the practice of “standing in” is standard in the world of radio.
However, there is an unwritten code to standing in that we tend to refuse to acknowledge and appreciate. There are a couple of theories to standing in but I will highlight the one I believe is the correct one. My theory is simple ... do not change anything. It’s not your show. You are only standing in. It’s important that we discuss this because so often, radio presenters get this terribly wrong.
When you stand in for your colleague, you need to understand that you are walking into an established structure. A well-oiled structure. You need to appreciate the fact that there was a serious thought process behind every single segment and feature in that show.
So when you are standing in ... you take the show line-up as is, execute it and ease the annoyance of a listener who cannot listen to the original personality that their systems are used to. I cannot and will not compromise on this stance. In my debates with fellow radio heads, some would say that radio is personality-based and can’t expect one personality to do exactly what the next personality does when standing in. A whole lot of manure.
That’s that “lazy” talk! That’s that “trying to find the easiest option” talk. That’s that “creep back into your comfort” talk. How are you supposed to grow and learn as a professional if you always just want to be comfortable? Standing in for another presenter was never meant to be comfortable. It’s not supposed to be. Standing in means you are literally taking a stroll in another radio presenter’s brain.
Standing in for another radio presenter should be an opportunity to learn something new. Standing in for another radio presenter should be about appreciating a different thought process. Standing in for another radio presenter is supposed to be different from what you usually do on your original slot.
So standing in, and just disregarding the structure of the show you are standing in and resorting to doing what you normally do when hosting your original show is lazy and it’s disrespectful. You are an unambitious, short-sighted and dull human being that should not have the privilege and honour of switching on that mic.
How are you on radio and do not want to stomach new skills and information? A radio presenter never stops learning! Never! If you think you know enough ... QUIT! You are a disgrace to the medium!
Do not change the structure. Embrace the challenge and the uncomfortableness, find your feet around the structure and thrive! Prove that your skillset and range is deeper than the housing crisis in the land of the brave.
Until the next loop, we say “GMTM”!
NSK is a professional MC. For bookings, email email@example.com