How to be a radio presenter and label boss


Having made her first inroads into radio as a teen, Jamz Supernova has since turned that passion into a formidable career: becoming a regular voice of BBC 1Xtra and BBC 6Music, DJing around the world and starting her own label, Future Bounce. She’s a new music champion and an encyclopedia of knowledge in her field, with experience of working her way to the top of the broadcasting game and pushing that expertise into pastures new. Speaking to us on the latest installment of I Want That Job, who better to explain the best ways to infiltrate the airwaves –both on the mic and through releasing the music that populates it.

Shop local when it comes to opportunities

I got stuck into college radio and doing a show every week, and then I got a radio show in a community station up the road from me in Sydenham, with all these old guys. Then I had a mutual friend who brought me over to Reprezent Radio when I was 19 and I did a pilot show and started there. You can take these stories with a pinch of salt, but a good example of someone who did that in the now is Alyx Holcombe who does the rock show on Radio One. There was no heavy rock youth show that existed at that time, so she made her own and was putting it on Mixcloud every week, just making the links and editing the music in after and releasing it every week and that’s how she started.

Create and keep updating a showreel

You want a really strong opening link, and a really strong station message – even if you make it up, imagine what station you’re on and who you’re throwing forward to, who you’re picking up from. For a personality-driven show, you want a link that shows your personality, or if you’re a specialist DJ then a link that can really showcase your knowledge of the scene. It’s nice to have an interactive moment – maybe reading out some shoutouts or doing an interview – and these can be taken from an existing show you do or they can be made up. Then, keep on updating it as you go along.


The best education is just from listening

If you look at the community radio stations in most cities, very often they’ll have an outreach programme, whether it’s a week in summer or something else. Find out what they’re doing and get on those courses. There’s also stuff online you can learn, but don’t underestimate listening. Even now, I listen to so much different radio. In the house, we’ll have NTS on, and in the car I’ll put on Reprezent Radio, and at certain points in the day I’ll dip into 6Music; maybe my alarm clock might be 1Xtra; if my partner’s left the radio on and there’s sports radio, I might listen to that for 10 minutes. I just like to hear how different radio is made.

Don’t just learn how to be in front of the mic

A lot of people have gotten their breakthrough producing. At the start, I took the opportunities of being on air and also developing off air as well, which really got me my shot at the BBC. I was doing everything I do at the BBC, just on a smaller scale – even when I did the community station. If you have a show on a station like NTS or Reprezent, then you’ll need to edit your own interviews because of the resources, and that’s a really good skill to have. Then, by the time you get to a bigger station like the BBC, you know how you want your interviews to sound and you know what the ask is.

Know what you stand for and what you like

For me, it’s been really important to be really strong with the music I want to showcase. It will serve you well in the long run to be specific in what you want to support, and that doesn’t have to be one genre but it’s about really saying: ‘I believe this is sick’. It’s good to be bold.

Work with artists who know their vision

The artists I’m signing at the label now are really strong in who they are and what they want to express. They have to have the vision: we’re facilitators who can offer resources and counsel and campaign management, but we can’t make stars. They have to already have that self belief. I need you to know what artwork you want to make. I need you to know what visuals you want. I want to know you’re proactive because it’s a partnership – we can put up the marketing budget and build the team around it, but we need you to be on this campaign with us, so work ethic and vision is such a big one.

Don’t fixate on the numbers

The conversations I want to be having with artists now are about how we build fans. Stop thinking of people as commodities and numbers; every thousand people that listen to your music on Spotify, they’re actual people so how can you serve those people? They’re the conversations we need to be having because we can’t rely on the platforms on their own.

Don’t rush your career

I remember someone saying to me when I was 21 and desperately wanted a show at the BBC: ‘Why do you wanna reach the top of the mountain so fast? Where are you gonna go from there?’ That was a really good lesson, because there’s never really a top of the mountain but to get to a peak so fast, where do you go from there and what’s next? I think the key is to really enjoy the process and the journey; I was loving what I was doing and I was ignoring it because I wanted this one thing. So then when I stopped and looked at what I actually had, I thought, ‘I’m good’, and then that’s when the next door opened.