Travel News Presenter
Also known as: Traffic and Travel
Career Level: Mid-Level
What Do They Do?
Travel News presenters are part of the on-air content of a radio station, delivering the latest news from the roads, railways and airports. It is a hybrid role, somewhere between presenter and reporter, as they are expected to be 'in-tune' with the on-air programming (and often contribute) whilst remaining journalistic in approach as some incidents can become a news story in themselves.
Travel News is fast-paced and demanding as things can change right up to the point of transmission. Some presenters will memorise their bulletins, and others will script them, but both will be expected to amend them last minute to fit a specific duration.
The style and delivery of Travel News will vary between outlets, depending on whether it’s a local, regional, or national station. Some networks take live broadcasts with a live presenter, where others will take pre-recorded bulletins which are simply slotted into programming.
It is important that information is accurate, but a major skill of a travel news presenter is in turning events written on a page into something that people can connect with - discussing how long people are likely to be held up for, or what knock-on effects there have been. Some networks take this further by having listeners message in with the latest, which then gets rolled into the next broadcast.
A Travel News Presenter's daily tasks may include:
- Keeping across the newsoutlets - TV news and radio output
- Using travel news information providers such as INRIX who filter and structure the raw data coming in from Highways England and the police, local councils, and various social media feeds.
- Cross referencing this with real time data from speed sensors or highway cameras, on social media, and sometimes directly incoming information from listeners via text, social media, or phone.
- Writing bulletins and reading them on air.
- Liaising with the programme teams and studio managers on the day.
Who Do They Work With?
- Travel News Presenters will work closely with programme teams – discussing when they’ll be on air, any potential issues and how long the bulletin will be. In Speech News Radio they may also speak to the editor if a travel story becomes news and vice versa.
- Travel News Presenters may also work with a Studio Manager or Director if the show has one, to take microphone level or check lines.
- Travel News Presenters will also liaise with the information providers (like Inrix) about any issues or queries.
- On some networks, Travel News Presenters speak directly tolisteners who get in touch with information.
- Travel News Presenters will also provide a handover to their fellow team members - communicating and sharing experiences with them - e.g. road closures in adverse weather, or incident history where relevant.
What Skills Do I Need?
- Travel News Presenting is a hybrid role which contains elements of journalism and presenting – they must have drive and be committed to getting it right - giving out accurate and timely information to the best of their ability and resource
- Travel News Presenters have excellent communication and presentation skills, and are able to both turn flat data into “human speak” and change the style of their bulletin to take into consideration the station, programme, presenters, and daypart.
- Travel News Presenters have good research and fact checking skills – either chasing the route of an incident, or cross referencing with real time data
- Travel News Presenters often have to handle breaking news and last minute changes – so they need to be flexible, have the ability to think on their feet and be able to talk to time.
- It’s helpful for Travel News Presenters to have goodgeographic knowledge especially from a drivers POV, and an understanding of public transport systems – particularly when it comes to how each firm publicises their information.
- As they are often called upon to be part of the broadcast show, Travel News Presenters must also be able to draw a broad range of interests, including current affairs, popular culture, TV shows, podcasts, books, music, celebrity culture and comedy.
- Travel News Presenters will require some technical skills, to enable them to drive their own desk, check their levels and make sure ISDN lines are working correctly.
How Do I Get This Job?
Travel news is specialist area but the skills needed are similar to Journalism or Presenting.
Many travel presenters have studied to degree level some in journalism or a media course but this isn't essential. Most have studied to A-Level and many have an interest in radio or the media or have extensive radio experience on and off air.
Qualifications and qualities are usually broadcast related as it is an on- air role. These can range from university graduates who have broadcast experience in student, hospital or community radio, or people who have worked as radio presenters within the industry.
Ideally you would have experience working for a travel media outlet such as the AA, RAC, Highways England, or Inrix.