Get that radio job. As a radio station Program Director, Consultant and Talent Coach I have worked with some of the most well known voices and names in European radio. There’s something they all have in common. They all started their careers by presenting some kind of audition tape sent to a prospective employer just like me. One thing is for sure, no matter what the current trend, radio stations are always looking to find, cultivate and nurture new talent. Let’s face it, even their best will eventually get a better offer or even retire. Air-talent trend to be career-mobile and there are always opportunities for the right people. I have listened to thousands of hopeful Demo recordings and a large number sabotage their chances right at the first hurdle. Radio is a great business, whether you work for a Ma & Pa station or one that’s part of a multi-station chain. I hope I can help you to make a great first impression. The most important step is to find out the name of the decision maker at the at the target station, and to write to him or her directly. All this takes is a quick phone call to ask who is in charge of hiring talent. A duplicated “Dear Sir” approach shows a lack of resourcefulness and fails to connect on a personal level with the overworked PD.
Your accompanying letter should modestly describe how you might enhance the on air line-up. You should also list any relevant experience, because this letter is the key to getting you voice heard. Time and care here will open doors or ears. The next vital step is to listen to the station and to get a clear understanding of the Format and who they might be trying to appeal too. I have run Easy Listening stations and received auditions from Urban Rap DJs. Sometimes the same person will call me and insist that his or her act is just right for us! On these occasions I try to be calm and professional. Now let’s get down to the Demo tape. More often today it isn’t a tape at all, but an MP3 email attachment. This approach is perfectly acceptable. Please have at the top of your mind that the PD has limited time, and that the first 30 seconds really do count. He or she is looking for someone who can win and maintain audience. In real life when you are on the air, listeners give you about the same time. They vote with a quick punch of the next tuning button. Your Demo should include about 6 links. Each should lead in or out of music. However, do not include the whole song. Cut away the middle part to a few seconds before and after your voice starts. We call this Telescoping. The general rules are: One thought per link. Concentrate on just one subject, in addition to the station name.
Talk to just one person in a singular voice. The greatest skill is being one-to-one. You not all of you. You should know how the link or bit will end before you open the microphone. In radio less is more. Use every day language. Do not be an announcer. If you concentrate too much on your voice, you will not sound natural. Try to make each link different. Here are my suggestions for topics.
* Stationality. Something the station is doing, like a big promotion or contest.
* Topicality. The news that everyone is talking about today.
* Locality. It’s happening in the city where the station broadcasts.
* Personality. The start of the word is personal. It’s your life and observations.
* Musicality. You love the songs and artists the station is playing.
* Approachability. Are you real and engaging on air? How do you connect to their world? When you listen to your target station make a note how exactly they brand the station. Getting this wrong can immediately show you are not a “fan” of the product you would like to be part of. The key to a great Demo and radio show is preparation. The key to success is being real and original. Good luck.
Rant on Music (Remade)
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