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Click here to find out what five experts have to say about demo tapes.
Here is what I think about demo tapes .... Your demo tape has to have passion. It has to sound like you're telling your best friend a very important story. Today, program directors are looking for story tellers on the air.
Imagine you only have two minutes to live and you MUST tell this story before you die. In actual fact on a demo tape, you only have two minutes before you're dead ... if you're boring the PD will stop listening and put your CD in his reject pile.
Here is the dirty little secret about demo tapes when it comes to program directors. They don't have the time or the patience to listen to the whole CD if the first 30 seconds doesn't grab their attention. When that happens the CD goes into the junk pile!
That is why when preparing your demo the best has to be upfront. The first thing you want the PD or News Director to hear is your BEST performance. It has to start strong. You don't have time to build up to a great finish.
Start with your best bit, your best joke, your best question of an interview or your best 20 second hit between songs.
If you're applying for a news position start with a live on the scene report of a breaking news story that contains sounds - lots of sounds. I don't mean special effect intros ... I mean exciting natural sound that puts the listener on the scene as you speak.
Don't provide a 30 minute scope of the show. They don't need to hear commercials, jingles or intros. You're not applying for a production job. You're applying for an on air position so let them hear YOU. Fade out all the clutter before and after you speak. But it is a good idea to let the PD hear how you intro the song and hit the post, but after that, fade the music down.
I was always amazed when someone looking for a job came to my office for an interview and wanted to provide me with their demo they admitted was not their best work. As they handed me the CD I aways asked if this was the best example of what they can do on the radio. Ninety per cent of them say no!Their excuse is they had to put something together at the last minute in time for their meeting with me.
You get one chance with a decision maker like me. One chance to put your best foot forward to impress someone like me they should be hired. They blow it by putting together a demo CD that doesn't showcase their best work. I always refused to accept the CD if it wasn't their best work and ask them to provide me a new one within a week. You would be amazed how many insist I still accept their CD or worse yet say they'll get a new one to me and never do! As a result, I never hired these people!