Tips to help presenters create your demo
Creating a demo is one of, if not the hardest part of breaking into radio. It means you having to sit through hours of material to try pick out what showcases your abilities the best and condense it into a 2-3 minute package, all the while trying to second guess what a programme boss at a radio station would like to hear.
There are 2 main aims for your demo.
- Grab the attention of who is listening.
- Keep the attention of who is listening.
Make sure your very BEST work is at the very start. This will help you grab the attention of who is listening to your demo. It literally can take seconds for a programme controller to make their mind up and if your best work is more than a minute in, there is a very good chance it will not be heard. The first 20 seconds of your demo is your IMPACT TIME. So make an impact, make whoever is listening sit up and take notice.
When you add work to your demo always ask what it is that you are trying to demonstrate about yourself.
- Why is it going on your demo?
- What are you showing off?
If your demo is full of work that sounds the same it stands a chance of being turned off. Create a demo that demonstrates different skills. Music passion, caller interaction, selling a competition, talk about something topical and offer your own opinions. This will help keep the attention of whoever is listening so they hear all of your demo.
A good demo should be around 2-3 minutes long. Send as a link to a Soundcloud page or any other audio sites online. Avoid sending big mp3 files that will clog up an email inbox. It will be deleted.
Make sure the demo is of YOU. Remove as much music as possible & other peoples voices. Your demo is all about you showing off your potential, don't put anybody else in the shop window. As mentioned, your demo should be around 2-3 minutes in length so every second counts.
Decide what your strength is and what makes you stand out. If you are good with callers on the air, then demonstrate that. If you are good at telling an engaging story then show that. Showcase your strengths AS WELL as showing you can do the basics.
Be careful with humour. Remember you are wanting to be a radio presenter, not a stand up comedian. What could be funny to you could be silly/offensive to others.
Try and target the demo to a particular radio station. If you're sending your demo to a commercial music based station where links are tight and concise then make your links tight and concise. Show you understand the format and you could easily do a show on that station tomorrow. Listen to the radio station you are sending your demo to and show them that you have listened.
Don’t over produce the demo. Too many sound effects & jingles can be really annoying and make programme bosses turn your demo off.
Don’t have weather/traffic reports in the demo. Anybody can read the weather forecasts & travel reports. It’s a boring listen and will not make you stand out.
Sell. Demonstrate you can talk about and sell a competition or another show. This is what you will be doing as a professional presenter. Show you can bring words alive off a script.
Keep recording your best material and constantly updating your demo and getting feedback on it. If you are applying for a presenting job in 2020 it may sound odd to the person listening if they're listening to work from 2016.
Other peoples opinions regarding your demo is vital and the only way that you can get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. Avoid opinions of family members, they are biased, you need honest opinions from people in the radio industry.
So once you have a demo ready, SEND SEND SEND. Get it out there, get it heard, get some feedback.
We‘re looking for an entertainer, not someone to read the weather. If you are any good, I’d rather hope you can manage to read the weather if you need to.David Lloyd.