Connor grew up in South Armagh, Ireland and started his presenting life on award winning “The Cool Breakfast Show” on Cool FM (Belfast) while hosting TV show T.T.V on Ireland's RTE.
Connor later moved to Manchester where he hosted various shows on Key 103 including Radio City, Metro Radio and Hallam FM as well as many other commercial radio stations across the UK. Since then Connor’s voice has been heard on a wide variety of stations across the BBC including BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Northampton and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. He's also one of the few presenters to host the National Evening show across all 33 of the BBC local stations in England and The Channel Islands. Connor can be found hosting his phone-in radio show across the North West of England on BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio Merseyside every Saturday night. He has the host of The Connor Phillips Show for Radio Ulster which goes out each day between 10.30am-12noon.
Connor is also a TV presenter and has worked for Sky, ITV's 'Tonight' Programme, BBC’s “The One Show” and on his own TV programme “#NITrending” which he hosts alongside his wife Holly Hamilton.
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When did you decide that presenting was the job for you?
It was a bit of an accident if I'm honest. I was working as an actor having done a Drama degree and three seasons with The National Youth Theatre. I was a jobbing actor as well as using my experience to teach drama. While doing this I was DJing in Nightclubs to pay my way when I was asked by a community radio station to sign up for their training programme. £50 and 5 weeks later I was hosting two shows on the station and I never looked back. I was spotted by former Radio One Presenter Bruno Brookes and asked to work for his 'In Store' radio station and I was hooked. I transferred to TV after I started and since then its been quite crazy! I balance radio with TV and Live Event Hosting.
How did you get into it?
It was a poster in my local pub. I had just arrived back from a summer of working in the USA and I was on the lookout for something new and exciting. I'd come back early to kick start my career. The poster was advertising a new community radio station launching in my local area and one of the bosses knew my name. He was handing these leaflets out and asked me to come to the training. I had always wanted to get into presenting but I didn't always know how.
What barriers did you come up against on your route to radio presenting?
To be fair, not many. If you are willing to take the risk, put all your energy into it and be patient, it is a career that can be very enjoyable. I always thought my accent would hold me back while presenting in the UK but it did not - if anything it actually helped me eventually.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Listener / viewer interaction. I love it when I'm doing a radio show and we get someone calling in or I get to interview a good personality. I love the characters that you experience, their differences and how they make me laugh, smile and sometimes cry. It's the same with TV although not always as immediate on TV.
What don’t you enjoy?
Watching some of my favourite people in the radio industry and good friends lose their jobs due to the changing nature of the industry - mainly in commercial radio. It's heartbreaking watching big companies destroy radio stations that people, both listeners and employees depend on.
What skills do you think are vital for presenting?
Energy, organisation, determination, passion and a big slice of luck.
It’s safe to say your voice IS your job. Have you done any specific vocal training for your role?
My Drama Degree from Queen University in Belfast has always helped me with my voice. We did some brilliant vocal coaching there. I learned some good habits from there. Three years at The National Youth Theatre also helped with exercises and techniques. I've struggled more in recent years after falling into bad habits. Ruth Moore has been my savior! In all my years working as a presenter I've never had to take any time off until about 18 months ago - I lost my voice for three days! She helped me understand my body, my voice, how to look after it and how to take care of it.
How do you take care of your voice?
Firstly... WATER - WATER and more WATER! I will have about 1500ml's of water in my body before I even get into the studio in the morning. Normally I top this up with another litre in the hour coming up to being on air (yes I do need the toilet quite a bit!). I try to avoid alcohol if I'm working the next day (when I can) and I stand up when I'm working. Many radio presenters sit down and sit forward when presenting but I stand up. With training with Ruth I found my posture helped with clarity and I didn’t have to force words out.
Have you had any vocal issues? If so, how did you overcome them?
Yes, I lost my voice which really scared me. I used Ruth to break down where it was coming from. We worked on breathing, warm up techniques and posture techniques that have seen me never look back! I also occasional use Vocal Zones which help if I'm doing 2 or 3 presenting jobs in one day. I often go between radio and TV and they help avoid irritation in the throat and keep my voice sounding clear.
Do you have any voice-use tips for anyone wanting to get the most out their presenting skills?
Stand up. Don't sit down and close your body in. Give your body its best possible chance to be at its best!
What other advice would you give to someone wanting a career in presenting?
The industry has been pretty hard hit by cuts and job losses recently. You have to be willing to take the rough with the smooth. For every good job, you'll do five bad jobs. Start at the bottom and watch what the best in the industry do. If you have the patience and the drive you will get a chance and when you do...take it both hands.