What is a radio DJ?

Radio DJs primarily plays on a radio station which can be Mainstream, Pirate or Internet radio. The goal is to entertain an audience over the airways. 

Why Become a Radio?

Going on to radio is a benefit for any DJ career, whether it is a hobby or full time. A radio slot will boost following by being discovered by station’s audience and it will also give followers a chance to have a regular time slot to listen in. 

In this post, we talk about three of the main radio mediums and give some details into each. 


MainStream Radio Studio

Mainstream Radio is any commercial radio awarded by Ofcom or the BBC radio stations. These stations are governed by Ofcom and have to follow strict rules on what they can play. Pirate radio and internet station do not have to follow such strict rules.

Mainstream DJs will be paid to play on these stations and are guaranteed to get more audience than other platforms. This platform also gives the DJ more of a chance of being booked at events in venues and festivals. Promoters will be more likely to book a mainstream DJ as they can promote to a much larger audience. Mainstream DJs are usually bigger names due to their following and which helps Station to grow and build an audience.

How to become a mainstream Radio DJ?

As mainstream stations usually pay for talent. A Dj will need to bring more to offer, such as a following that will listen to the station. Even with a following, a good amount of networking will be needed to get your foot in the door. One way is to get a guest spot on a radio show and build up connections.

Pirate Radio 

Pirate Radio Antenna

In the UK Pirate radio has been around since the 1960s and spiked in numbers in the 1990s. Even with the crackdown on the illegal operation on pirate radio and internet radio, there is still some pirate radio station still in operation today.

Firstly unlike mainstream stations, pirate Radio Djs would normally pay a sub to play on the station. However joining a pirate radio station is still a great way to boost your name and build a following. Promoters are more willing to book you as you can reach more people via the radio. You may even find that you can put on an event your self and promote via your show. Interestingly you will find that a majority of big-name radio DJs started on pirate radios and progressed on, either to mainstream radio or on to become well-known Club DJs. 

How to become a Pirate radio DJ? 

As pirate radios take a sub so becoming a part of one is an easier process than a mainstream station. You will have to get into contact with the station and see if they have any open slots. When starting out they may be trial period to see how you perform.

Internet Radio

Internet Radio Setup

Internet Radio launched in 1993, what separated it from the others is that fact that media is transmitted via the internet rather than the airways. This allows the station to be received by more people as they are not limited by location. Internet radio works with streaming media, which can not be paused or replyed and can be listened via a device with an internet connection. Most standard FM/DAB radio station will also accommodate an internet option, this help reach further audience.

Internet Radio has become increasingly popular as it has allowed anyone to set up their very own radio station. This removes the need to go reach out to another station to play on theirs. An internet radio station can come as setting up a station where DJs come and play in slots like a traditional station. It can be where one DJ who would send a link out whenever they are about to go-live. another form would be posting episodes to a platform such as Mixcloud or Tunein Radio for listeners to go back and listen when they want. Or it can be in the form of a podcast which can be shared via iTunes. 

How to Become an Internet Radio DJ?

The easier route out of the radio DJs has it can be in your control and you can do it from your home. The first step would be to decide how you want to deliver the show; 

Live show – The benefits of doing a live show is the fact that listeners will be able to send comments while your playing. This will give you the chance to interact with your followers such as doing shout outs, taking request or even doing competitions live. 

Recorded – The benefits of doing a record show is that you do not have the pressure of a live show. You can edit your mistakes, add effects and do re-dos if needed. There are also much more options if you record your show and then post rather than streaming live and you are less likely to run into copyright issue with a recorded show. 


While these are still the main avenues of a radio DJ some are easier to get into than others. As a new DJ if you are looking to start playing to an audience going with an internet station is a great start as you can set up at home and start building your followers. once you have built your name you can look join a pirate station to expand your name further and then continue onto mainstream if that is where you want to go. 

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