How to prepare for the radio show host auditions is a common question which I am often asked. And this question is definitely an important one. Honestly, most of us are confused when it comes to auditioning and we really don’t know how to prepare for it. There is hardly any credible information available or it is incomplete.
So what you need to know if you are lucky enough to be called for an interview for the post of radio jockey?
Let us break this process into two parts: the first that what you will be asked and the second how you should prepare for it.
What will you be asked?
When you will go for the audition you will probably meet the PD (program director) or the SH (station head) or one of the programming associates. If the PD or the SH are unavailable then probably you will just audition and will be called later for an interview if your audition is well received.
Anyway, in either case, if you are auditioning you will have to script and then record a few links. At max, you will be required to prepare 3-4 demo links.
You need to understand that as a show host you will be representing the radio station. You will be its face so as to say. Therefore, the hiring manager whether the PD or the SH will be looking for specific traits which will make you a good fit. There are certain qualities which are essential irrespective of the show or the station hiring you.
Either later of before the audition process you will also be interviewed. These are only two deciding factors in the hiring process. Through the interview, the hiring manager will try to gauge your personality, your awareness level, and brand aptness.
Your audition gives an unparalleled insight into your voice quality and skills level. It is perhaps the most important part of the hiring process. Hence, it is important that you prepare for it properly.
You will be given topic/topics then and there to script the links and once you are done scripting you will be asked to record. During the recording part, a sound engineer or somebody from the team will assist you.
Once your audition is successful then you will be interviewed.
The interview process will include both personal and professional questions.
Some of the most common questions that are asked include:
Tell me a bit about yourself?
How will you describe yourself?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
How will you describe the brand?
Why do you think that you fit in the brand proposition?
What is one current event/incident that you feel closely about?
What do you have to say about………….?
Suppose if you were to talk about………then how will you put it across?
What do you like about this radio station and what do you dislike?
As already mentioned that the purpose of the interview is to understand your personality, presence of mind and to get a feel that whether you are the right candidate and you fit in seamlessly.
At times your audition may go great but your personality and style might clash with the brand and in such a case you might not be hired. While voice quality definitely plays a major role but a person’s suitability plays an even greater role. An example would be a jock auditioning for a youth-oriented station would need to be in sync with the generation and understand their nuances. For such a station an overtly mature and low-key jock irrespective of his or her age would not fit in spite of having a mesmerizing voice.
How to prepare?
Just like with any job interview preparation makes a lot of difference because it makes you a lot more confident. In the case of auditions, it is even more crucial. Follow these practical and effective tips to prepare successfully for the auditions.
- The best policy is to stay up-to-date with the current affairs especially everything which is in the news right now. You will greatly benefit from reading the newspaper every day.
- Make it a habit of listening to the channel that you are applying to. It is mandatory because by doing so you will learn about the station’s personality and the type of content it carries. This will give your preparations a direction and you will be on track.
- Also, listen to other radio stations that air in the city or region this will help you to determine and understand their approach and personality. This is very important as it will give you an edge during the interview. Your knowledge will not only be appreciated but you will also be able to showcase some ideas to counter the competition. You will greatly benefit from this display of proactive approach.
- In case you know exactly which show you are auditioning for then prepare accordingly. Like if it is a Bollywood show then practice by writing and recording some links beforehand about the latest grapevine, current music, and movies.
Even if you are not sure about the show then also practice. In such a case you will be safer with the current affairs and film related topics. But the best idea is to start writing links on varied topics and as many as possible. Try to keep these as short, simple and to the point as you can. Remember the golden rule ‘KISS’ i.e. keep it short and simple.
- But do not mug up the scripts to reproduce those during the auditions or insist on presenting only what you have prepared. Instead, you can have some pointers ready which will aid you in writing fresh scripts. Also do not copy the links which you have heard on-air no matter which station you heard it on.
- And yes, irrespective of the show brush up your music-related knowledge. Do incorporate music sell in your links but don’t fret if you can’t. This can be learned later on and your PD will train you on it.
- Learn from the top jocks, search for their shows online, but don’t ape them no matter how brilliant they are because the PD will know and you are bound to be rejected because of it. Listen to them, analyze that how they treat their content and identify ways in which you can do it better or differently. Even if you can copy somebody perfectly still you would remain unoriginal.
- While scripting and preparing links pay a lot of attention to your grammar and pronunciation. Start practicing immediately by being conscious while communicating with others. If you have any shortcomings then consult with somebody who can correctly guide you.
- Try and think from a different perspective than the usual; this is called ‘outside-the-box’ approach. The same thought can be put forth in a variety of ways; think of the one which is not common and yet highly interesting.
- Record what you have written; you don’t need a huge setup your smartphone is great for practice. Do this a lot and utilize every opportunity. A good friend of mine who is also a great on-air talent has a habit of reading the billboards out loud while moving through the city. And he does so by altering his style every time ensuring a lot of variation. It may seem a little odd but it is, in fact, a wonderful trick to keep practicing and enhancing the range. So you can adopt similar tricks or just pick a newspaper and start practicing with it.
- Think of couple creative ideas that you can execute in the show. Present these when you are being interviewed; this is another great way to show that how capable you are.
- Pay attention to your body language. You should come across as warm and intelligent yet fun and energetic.
If you follow the advice given above then your chances of getting selected will greatly increase. Remember that even a fun job needs some serious focus and hard work. Without good practice, your chances of getting through will be thin. As it is, the openings for the profile of show host or radio jockey are very limited therefore you wouldn’t want to miss out on any opportunity that comes across.
In some cases really good candidates have been offered other opportunities even if they failed their voice test badly.
And yeah…all the best!