General Tips to help you find your break into radio.
Radio is a very exciting world to work in but also a very difficult industry to get into and the simple truth is it is harder to break into radio now than it ever has been before so here are a few general tips to help you try to take the next step forward.
The very first tip to getting into radio is fairly simple but difficult to follow sometimes, NEVER GIVE UP!
Sometimes getting into radio is all about being in the right place at the right time, your letter or email reaching the right person at the precise moment they are looking for something you can offer and that can only happen if you keep trying. Persistence mixed in with a bit of luck may bring you an opportunity, and that’s when you need the talent to make the most of that opportunity. You are always only a phone call or an email away from your break.
Do one constructive thing a day to help you make that next step. It could be anything from emailing your local radio station seeking feedbakc on your demo to updating your CV to sourcing people in radio to contact. If you can get into a habit of doing something everyday you will build momenum which will make you more positive and more productive.
Try all radio stations, don’t just try your local radio stations. A foot in the door is a foot in the door, regardless of where it is.
Keep trying the same people on a regular basis. The chances of you knocking once on a door for it to open are slim. All programme controllers are extremely busy so keep trying but don’t become a nuisance.
Many people think that they haven't received a reply from a radio station because the demo was deemed not good enough. The truth more likely is many people do not receive a reply because the demo was not listened to at all and the corrospondence was not acknowledged. This is why you have to wait a few weeks/months and try again.
Do cold call. Don’t wait for a job advertisement to contact a radio station looking for a break, do it anyhow. If your work is good enough to catch their "ear" they will get in touch.
When cold calling a radio station, do not ask if there are any jobs BUT ask for feedback. Your challenge when cold calling a station is to get a reply and you are more likely to receive a respnse if you are asking for feedback and guidance to improve than simply asking if they have any jobs.
If you do get feedback then say thank you. Even if the feedback is not positive and they criticise your work they have still listened, they have still taken the time to offer their opinions to help you improve so be polite and say thank you. Ask if you can send them a new demo in a few months, a demo that has incorporated what you have been told so they can listen and offer you more feedback. This way you can start to build up some kind of “work relationship”. But don’t be a nuisance. Bide your time.
If you are contacting a radio station then make sure you can find the name of the person you wish to contact. Obviously if you are applying for an advertised job, then you will know the name of the person, but if you are “cold calling” and sending a letter /email they are not expecting, then do your homework. If this means that you need to call up the radio station and ask, then do so. It looks far more professional and shows you have done your research.
Don’t get downhearted. Getting into radio is not easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it. But if you want it badly enough and you keep trying you will get an opportunity.
You will get a lot of negative responses from your letters and emails and indeed, sometimes you will not get a response at all. Radio is all about opinions and opinions can be wrong. One person may not like your work but the next person may love it. Your challenge is to find the right person at the right time with the right opportunity for you.
One good tip to remain upbeat and mentally strong is to add every person who has rejected your offer of help or employment to a list of people that you wish to prove wrong.
Be prepared to change your occupational goals to get a foot in the door. Lots of broadcasting professionals have started out doing something completely different to what they wanted to do, and ultimately ended up doing. A foot in the door is a foot in the door and once you have that then you can start to try and achieve your broadcasting ambitions. Nothing beats working in and around the broadcasting industry. You will learn and experience so much more and you may learn of a job opportunity far sooner.
Volunteer. You cannot beat having that experience that you can add to your CV that may set you apart from somebody else. Showing a programme controller that you have gained a smuch experience as possible and that you work hard and you have a real passion for radio can make a key difference when applying for a job. That is why working at Hospital/Student/Community/Internet radio stations is considered to be the natural way into broadcasting. It's all about finding a place to create radio, a place you can make mistakes and learn and improve from them. If you wish to work in radio then find a place where you can create radio.
AND NEVER GIVE UP!
The Pips is an amazing service! The feedback I received was so incredibly helpful and I almost certainly believe that the advice I have received has contributed towards where I am today and where I’m heading in the future.Glen Scott. KMFM