Angie Greaves is a rare thing in radio – a solo female drive-time presenter. Yet in the latest RAJARs, her show on Magic 105.4 has overtaken BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 in listening figures, reach and market share for London. So how does she do it? We asked her to give us a few pointers.
Hi, Angie Greaves here.
You’ve obviously joined Sound Women because you are either passionate or interested in media – specifically radio. In my opinion, radio is the best media platform; instant whether speech or music, edgy, and the most engaging of media. So here are a few pointers that have kept me going since I entered radio and was bitten by the bug, and have also kept me fuelled up enough to land the position of London’s only solo female drive-time presenter.
Take your responsibilities seriously
That bug that I mentioned bit me at Capital Radio in the 80s when there were fewer commercial stations trying to grab their share of the audience. So anyone who was anyone walked through the doors of Capital, and my position was to ensure that their interviews were aired first, so we got the first bite of the cherry.
That responsibility alone gave me a “rush”, made me feel like I was walking a thin line which would break if I didn’t successfully complete my mission. Knowing that it was down to me to get artists in and on air before any other station gave me an edgy feeling of fear but also excitement. Naturally I didn’t want to mess up or have any negative comeback.
So I had to take my responsibility seriously. I would suggest you do the same in your current station. Yes, there will be days when you’re not feeling up to it, someone’s getting on your last nerve, but your job (whether large or small) is going to contribute to the final output on the station, and it’s been placed in your hands, so do it well. Negativity and fear aren’t an option.
Make time for networking and socialising
There’s no doubt that being in radio gives you the opportunity to attend some great social and prestigious events. A percentage of business decisions aren’t necessarily made over dinner, drinks and social events; BUT in many cases speaking to the right person socially can plant the seed that could get you that first meeting. You don’t have to go everywhere, but do network, and research Programme Controllers of stations that you want to work for.
You may have to be spontaneous too. I was freelancing on a station and needed a number for a colleague and the only person who I knew had that number was the then Programme Controller of Magic. When I called him his first words were “aren’t you on air?” Straight away I had to use my brain. If he was supposed to be monitoring Magic but chose to listen to me, it was for a reason. So I immediately took the opportunity to invite him to have lunch with me. Grab opportunities when they arise.
Love talking to your listener
This is a hard one because the vehicle of radio has changed. Most stations, especially commercial stations, sound quite similar in a musical capacity. Some may even say music radio has become repetitive. With Magic being a ‘More Music Less Talk’ station, I really have to monitor how much talking I do and ensure that it’s engaging and informative. I’m finding that Facebook and Twitter are great ways of continuing the conversation and connecting with listeners even more.
But when I’m on air, I think about what I used to do before I was on Drive. It was after-school Clubs with my daughters, a little bit of shopping, cooking in the kitchen. I think about listeners in those positions, and of course the listeners driving home from work after a hectic day. I’ve even joked that being on Drive I now know every junction on the M25 from J1B (Dartford) round to J30 (Tilbury/Lakeside), so it’s important to make the travel sound informative and not repetitive.
As a woman I feel I’m often able to empathise with listeners on a different level to men (and I’m NOT man bashing here). One of the loveliest compliments I ever had was a cab driver listening to Mellow Magic who said he couldn’t wait for midnight to listen to Mellow Magic Love Letters. He had no idea who I was (thank goodness) but said he would love to take Angie Greaves out for a drink with his wife and just chat. Naturally I was quite chuffed and asked, “don’t you think your wife would mind” to which he replied, “not at all, my wife loves her as well”.
So it’s really important to just be yourself. For example, I never think twice about saying I burnt the dinner before leaving for work, because someone listening will have probably done the same in the midst of multi-tasking that week. So there’ll be a connection with that listener – not because we’re both bad cooks, but I’m being real and sharing a point of vulnerability just for that moment.
Make time for family time
My final tip is to ensure you have quality family time. You can have it all, but not 100% work life and 100% family life. So distribute your time as evenly as possible amongst work and family. If you find yourself spending a lot of time at the office/station, make a decision to give the family more time that weekend or the following week. And be mindful of the images you are sending your kids with your work pattern. That’s an important one.
Connect with Angie Greaves
Find out more about her Drivetime show on the Magic 105.4FM website.