At the age of seventeen Robin Banks was Britain’s youngest national radio DJ, broadcasting to the nation on the iconic pop music station Atlantic 252. Since then he’s presented shows for some of the UK’s biggest and best known radio brands including Kiss, Xfm and Virgin – and been sacked by more stations than most presenters are likely to work for in their entire career! But, in a bizarre career twist, the self styled renegade maverick, is now in high demand as a creative consultant to radio stations and as a coach to individual presenters who want to learn how to make great radio.
Robin Banks Mythbusters Voice
And the voice of the Discovery Channel’s most successful show ‘Mythbusters’ has also joined Music Radio Creative’s growing stable of voice artists. Robin Banks, our latest exciting signing, has been giving us a little insight into his broadcasting brain…
“Xfm programme director Andrew Phillips gave me the best advice ever when he said: ‘if you always want to stay in the job do what we say, but if you want to be a star and be paid the big bucks then do your own stuff.’”
But does the man with the reputation in the radio biz for being ‘insane but brilliant’ and described by Dragons’ Den’s Theo Paphitis – who, along with fellow dragon Peter Jones, invested in one of Robin’s companies – as ‘a maverick and I like him’, think radio needs more insane mavericks?
“Commercial radio sucks at the moment. And I mean, completely sucks… the life is being drained out of it. It lacks the creativity and spontaneity that once had audiences sitting on the edges of their seats; it lacks the personality that once made people really want to listen. I walk into radio stations and they seem boring, some don’t even have their own station playing!”
“But we all have more choice these days – if radio wants to win over listeners from the Spotify generation, it needs to grab them by the ears and command their attention.”
Commercial Radio Is Too Safe
“Too many programme directors now opt for safe, unchallenging formats. But radio needs to surprise you sometimes, it must take risks.”
“Beryl and Betty were a risk, but they are now one of the best known radio double acts in the UK and their radio station has a nice shiny Sony award in the gong cabinet to show for its innovation. Radio bosses must give their creative spirits room to breathe.”
“Yes, things may go wrong once in a while, but you can’t have creativity without risk; it’s risks that win awards and more often than not commands huge audiences, not play-safe, ‘stick to the script’ broadcasting.”
Robin Banks Radio Tips
So what’s Robin’s advice to the ‘suits’ in the radio business?
“Be open to ideas. Trust your talent. And SUPPORT them when things occasionally go wrong.”
“Bosses are too ready to come down heavily on a presenter who makes a wrong call when he or she may need guidance rather than a heavy hand. Hit them too hard and they’ll be scared to try something different next time and you’ll have stifled the very thing you hired them for – their creativity.”
Now happily married to his wife of two years and with a small child, Robin is still passionate about the business that gave him riches beyond imagine, and more black eyes – metaphorically speaking – than a zoo full of giant pandas! So, what’s his advice to the radio stars of tomorrow?
“Take the format and make it yours. Be different – and be bloody good at being different.”
“Have a life – and tell your listener about it… give the audience ‘drama’. The programme director who complained to me that his breakfast show presenters had left the building by midday had it so wrong – he should have been pushing them out of the door even earlier so they could come in the next day with stories to tell. Presenters need a life away from the radio station to give them something to draw on during their shows.”
“Another tip is to make the listener the star and allow the audience to take you places; that can give you rewards beyond measure. The audience do the work, and YOU get the kudos. Oh and if you ARE going to be a star radio presenter then be ‘cute’… don’t just be irreverent for the sake of it, you can say almost anything on air and get away with it… it’s the way you do it that makes great radio.”
“Invest in your career – other professionals take courses to improve their skills, radio people should do the same to help them stay at the cutting edge of their game.”
“But above all, have the balls to be different. It’s pointless taking up a career in a creative business like radio and aspiring to be just like the bloke on the station down the road. Today’s radio needs new young talent with an old-school mindset…. and it needs good, adventurous management to nurture and guide their creativity.”
Robin Banks Voice Overs
As well as coaching the radio stars of today – and tomorrow – Robin has just joined the talented team of voices right here at Music Radio Creative – and we’re dead chuffed to have him. But, after years as a personality presenter, isn’t being a ‘voice on a stick’ just a little bit dull? Not so, says the ‘worldwide curse of safe and boring radio programmers’:
“There’s something very magical about stepping into the clinical silence of the voice booth and slipping on my battered DT 150s.”
Every voice over is a performance for me.
The creative element is in ‘owning’ the script, lifting the words off the page and bringing them to life. And I won’t leave the studio until each recording is perfect.”
“Music Radio Creative is a very exciting and vibrant company, it has creative in its name and is creative to its very roots, I feel at home with these guys.”
“Working with the team here brings a new dimension to what I do. I’ll be helping DJs and radio stations across the UK and beyond to bring a little sparkle to their voice drops and imaging, as well as working with podcasters and producing audio for websites. So, what are you waiting for? If you’ve an audio project burning away in your brain right now and need a voice, click here and let’s get talking…”