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The Do's and Don'ts of Sending out a Demo

TIPS ON SENDING DEMO’S
August 25, 2013
 
When I was a Program Director I would look at the edited demo as something that should get my attention.  If it didn’t….you’re out and I don’t want to hear more. 
 
If it DID impress then I wanted at least one unedited hour.  I usually picked.  The talent would always say they’ll send me an unscoped hour and I would say something like, “Tell you what, can you send me yesterday’s 5pm hour?”  That way I know they aren’t picking the best hour they’ve ever done in their career.  I want a typical hour or average hour. 
 
Of course now that I’m on the other side of that desk it’s slightly different and it’s really incumbent on the PD to ask for what they want.  Unfortunately there are some unqualified PD’s out there today and there are a lot of good PD’s but many of them are programming way too many stations.  So their time is limited.  I would encourage talent to keep that in mind….not necessarily to take advantage because it can be harmful to a career to get a job you shouldn’t have and then NO ONE wants you. 
 
So for talent you should at least remember these 10 things.
  1. Be realistic.  Don’t send a New York sounding aircheck for a top 10 market job if the aircheck or demo is a “best of” and has been cleverly edited to make you sound that way, when in fact you can’t perform at that level on a day in and day out basis. 

  2. Send something that is professional and flawless BUT is indicative of what you are capable of executing on a consistent basis.  Don’t try to “fool” someone in to hiring you for a job for which you aren’t qualified.  That doesn’t mean send a BAD aircheck.  If you’re bad, then send an aircheck to a bad station! 

  3. Put your very best stuff at the front.  Don’t go for the “big finish.”  Program Directors have very little time or patience.  Most PD’s make some level of judgment in the first few seconds or the first two or three clips.  If those are lackluster they’ll never hear the good stuff you saved for the end.

  4. Have a professionally edited, fast paced air check.  Use sound effects and transitions if appropriate.  If you are not good at professional and clever editing then spend 50 or 100 bucks and get a production wizard to make something for you.  It’s worth the investment.

  5.  Make it as current as you possibly can and update it as often as you can.  In talk radio (and to an extent in music radio) I want to know if you are being relevant to the audience. 

  6. Keep the demo SHORT.  I don’t need 10 or 20 minutes.  Give me two to three minutes on the demo.  That’s all they have time for anyway, especially if you can imagine they are sitting there going through perhaps a couple dozen of these.  And with the job market the way it is and so many jocks and hosts out of work, trust me; they are getting a LOT of airchecks.

  7. Have an unedited hour or two (with commercial breaks removed) that you can also send with the demo.  If they like the demo, the next logical thing they will want to hear is a complete hour or show.  Go ahead and send both so they don’t have to call or email you and then a couple of days could be lost or they may not get that far.  If they have both they can move right from the demo to the full aircheck.

  8. Send your stuff however they ask for it but default to .mp3 digital audio that can be easily emailed and for the hours you send along with it you may need to use a service like YouSendIt or DropBox if the file is too big for your email system or theirs.  You can even shrink the size of the file with a free audio format converter found on the internet.  I use one by AVS.  Most email systems will allow attachments of about 10mg, some more.

  9. If you are attending conferences or visiting PD’s in person put everything on a thumb drive.  They are great and a prospective employer can easily put it in their pocket and not have to carry around some big portfolio which may end up in the nearest trash can.  On the thumb drive you can put your resume, audio, pictures, press clippings…. whatever you want and then the PD can decide what he or she wants to see and hear.  Make sure the file names are labeled in such a ways that it is CLEAR what is contained in each file.  If I have to open all of them to see what’s in them, then it defeats the purpose.

  10. For the complete hour part try to make that REALLY current and relevant and update the hours you use almost weekly.  Of course this assumes you already have a show.  If someone sends me an hour from last March I have no way of knowing if what they were talking about that day was relevant and truly what they SHOULD have been talking about.  If the hour was from last week I can hear it in context and know if it’s on target or not.  If I hear you’re talking about Alex Rodriguez return to the Yankees then yes, I know you are on top of it.  Plus an hour that is old tells me perhaps that was the last time you had an hour you thought worthy of sending to the PD!
 So basically… 

Ø SHORT
Ø GREATEST HITS
Ø RELEVANT
Ø PROFESSIONALLY EDITED with great pacing and
Ø AN UNSCOPED HOUR with commercials removed along with it in case the short demo gets my attention and I want more.
 
I’m often astonished at the garbage some people send to potential employers.  It’s your very best and only shot at getting noticed. 
 
If you were applying for an accounting job would you send a spread sheet with incorrect formulas yielding bad results? 
 
If you were applying for a writing job would you send a 30-page piece that also has bad grammar and misspelled words? 
 
Of course not. 
 
So send audio that could be aired on the station you are applying to and not be out of place.

You can download a copy of these tips HERE.