A bit like filing a tax return or putting the laundry on, putting together a radio demo is one of those things we know we need to do but often put off for weeks.
But having a solid radio demo and making sure you update it with your latest and greatest pieces of work can be the difference between landing your dream job and getting zero replies to your emails.
In this article, we’re going to be sharing the top strategies and pieces of advice from industry leaders. What do they look for in demo? What do they hate? What will land you the gig?
Fun Kids Radio
When you’re sending a radio demo it’s often unsolicited and you’re relying on the goodwill of the person you’re sending it to, so you need to make it easy for them.
PDs are deciding whether you have the relevant level of skill to do the job, would fit in on your radio station and if so could potentially do a variety of air shifts. Your aim is to answer these questions with what you send.
Firstly, you’ll be making a station-specific demo. Yes, you could send a generic format-ish one, but that means the PD has to do more work to translate what you’re sending. Why would you do that? So, you’re going to need to really listen to the station. Catch a few of the different presenters and write down what they’re talking about in their links. This will help you get a feel for the format.
In your radio demo you want to demonstrate a few different skills. A breakfast talk-up, a personality bit, a caller etc. Use the notes you’ve made to work out what kind of content the presenters on this station do. You’ll still want to execute it in your own way though.
Don’t include station jingles – that’s creepy. We also don’t need more than a second or two of the music. The demo should be around 5mins long.
Make sure your name and phone number is in the MP3 file name. In your cover email include details of your experience and why you think you’ll be a good fit for their station.
Include your contact information. Check it for spelling. Great radio is about attention to detail, make sure that your written work and audio shows you have it.
Kiss FM UK
Make the first thing in the demo something that is unique to you. Don’t do a generic link anyone else could… Tell me a story or react to something personal. It doesn’t HAVE to be the first link of the show either.
I’m listening for the potential of someone on my brand – not the finished product – so show YOURSELF!
I want to feel something, so when you listen back to it before sending – did it make YOU smile and feel good? If not – go again another day.
Finally – PLEASE make your radio demo a demo for my brand, NOT a competitor. It is fine to ALSO send something you’ve done elsewhere, but please show your enthusiasm authentically by doing a bespoke piece.
Your social links, bio and any other succinct stuff you want to say about yourself/ what you’ve done – GREAT to pop in the email too.
There’s no algorithm for how to make your demo successful – we are all people – but hopefully this is helpful and made you have a think.
Honestly, put your best stuff in the first thirty seconds because in my experience, programmers will be able to tell in the first ten seconds if they like your sound or not.
That doesn’t necessarily mean go all tricky from the top. But put something slick and simple at the start, give it swagger then surprise and delight from there.