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How to Audition for a Radio Show

by Ellie Williams, studioD

When auditioning for a radio show, your most important tool is your demo tape. A resume might list your previous experience, but it doesn’t prove you have a voice that will engage listeners and enhance the station’s reputation. As you create your audition tape, consider the station’s audience demographic and include only material that showcases your vocal strengths and unique personality.

Write a Sample Script

Even if the show you’re auditioning for centers around listener call-ins or off-the-cuff discussion, create at least a basic outline to help you stay focused. If you’re pitching a news show, craft a sample news or feature story. Radio scripts require writing for the ear instead of for the eye, which means you need to speak slowly and simplify your language so listeners don’t get confused. Use language that’s more conversational than what you’d use for written material, to keep the audience connected and interested.

Make a Demo

You don’t need to put together an entire sample show; instead, limit your demo to no more than three minutes. If you include commercials or music, don’t use the entire track. Instead, edit them to between 10 and 15 seconds. Employers want to hear your voice and style, and cluttering your tape with someone else’s content won’t help you stand out. Make your demo short and sweet, with a strong opening that can hold listeners' attention. If you can’t grab a station director’s attention in the first 30 seconds, he likely won’t take the time to listen to the entire CD.

Match the Station’s Tone

Customize your audition tape to reflect the station’s listener profile. If you’re auditioning for an established show, mirror that show’s style. If you’re proposing your own show, make it clear what kind of audience you expect to attract. Before you approach stations, research them and their program directors by looking at the corporate website and social networking sites. Listen to the station and pay close attention to the show you hope to work on or the time slot you’re targeting. Learn as much as you can about the type of material the station airs and the kind of audience it reaches.

Send More Than a Demo

Program directors will primarily consider your audition tape when deciding whether to hire you, but that doesn’t mean that’s all you should send. Submit a cover letter and resume as well, so employers can see your previous experience, awards and other qualifications that could sway their decision in your favor. Create a website where they can go to learn more about you. This site should include a current photo, your bio and several audio clips that showcase your best work.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images