How to Create an Audition MP3 File for a Radio Station

Young man and woman broadcasting in recording studio
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If you want to get a job on-the-air at a radio station, the first thing you'll most likely need is a demo file to send to a program director.

This demo tape might end up being very generic and could apply to any station, but that's not always the case. Some directors might require that you talk about something very specific -- a topic they describe to you beforehand -- especially if they're having lots of applicants record the same thing.

Fortunately, it isn't very hard to create your own audition or demo file, so long as you prepare, practice, and plan.

Audition Tape Preparation Guide

Once you have all the information necessary to record your demo, the next step is to actually plan everything out and prepare to create the audio file.

Get the hardware and software ready: Short of having access to a studio with the proper equipment set up, your best for an audio recording source is your phone or computer.

  1. Install a program or app that lets you record your voice.

    The free Audacity application is a good option for computers. If you're recording from a smartphone, you might give the Smart Recorder Android app a try, or Voice Recorder & Audio Editor for iOS devices.

  2. Attach a microphone if you're using a computer. (Check out the best USB microphones to buy if you don't have one.)

Decide What You'll Record

Prepare some sample scripts that you'll talk about in your recording. For example, talk about the weather, include a 30-second commercial about a made-up product and create a promotional announcement. 

If you're creating a demo for a specific station, be sure to use that station's name. If this is a generic demo, then the name isn't as important.

Decide the order in which you'll record your scripts so that you're not fumbling around topics when it comes time to record.

Record Your Voice and Email the File

  1. Record your voice with the scripts you've prepared, but be sure to practice what you want to say before finalizing the recording.

    Try your best to sound natural and friendly. It helps to smile while you speak since that often shows even through a voice recording.

  2. When you're satisfied with your presentation, export the file to your computer, either directly from the desktop program or via email if you're using your phone. MP3 is a good format to use since it's supported by most programs.

    Remember that you can record as many times as you like before you send the demo to the radio station. Just erase whatever you don't like, and keep trying until you have the best audio recording you can make.

  3. Call the station and ask for the name, email address, and phone number of the program director.

  4. Email your demo to the program director with a short introductory letter, and attach your demo file with any other relevant information, like a short resume or references.

  5. Follow up with a phone call in a week.

Final Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Program directors are extremely busy. If they don't like what they hear in the first 15 seconds, they'll stop listening.
  • Record your demo in the style of the station you're sending it to. For example, if you're looking to do radio news, you don't want to use puns and talk in a super relaxed and down-to-earth style.
  • Make sure to tell the program director in your letter that your work hours are flexible. They might need someone for a late radio gig or one that changes throughout the month.
  • Accept any offer from any station. Small things often lead to much bigger things.
  • Don't worry about being fancy. The program director just wants to get an idea about you. Anything further that he or she wants to know will likely be in-person.
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