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SYNDICATION 101... The Audio CD Demo

Last article we covered all the printed items in the marketing kit... now we'll cover the audio production that will be heard on the demo CD. This is the toughest and most-expensive item in the marketing kit to produce.

The audio of a simple demo consists of at least three parts and two voices. The basic idea is to have a narrator (not the host) start the demo by giving a few minutes of hot topics about the show, interspersed with sound bites of the show itself. The narrator should be someone clearly different than the host, and the length of this first segment (which will be your track #1) should be 5:00 max, with 3:00 or 4:00 being preferable. Critical contact info will also be a part of this first track.

The second part (track #2) of a simple demo would be an actual full-length show (up to 60:00), so that the programmer can get a feel for it without having to request more info or listen via satellite or the web. A lot of listening will be done in the programmer's car.

The third track (#3) is a re-cap of marketing bullet points and (most importantly) the contact info again. Keep this track short (1:00) so the listener can repeat it as often as necessary in order to be able to write down the contact info. Remember, the programmer may be listening to a burned-CD copy of the original demo, and thus it may have no printed info with it at all.

Below I'll list a more-complete track listing of an elaborate demo... you can pick and choose items as you like, as long as you keep the three important tracks that I just listed above. Keep in mind that your demo is only going to be heard by the programmers (and not by station listeners), so you have to present things to them the way programmers want them to be presented...

Track 1 (:20) High-energy intro with stingers and other topic-appropriate sound bites. A few intro words from the narrator, and maybe a caller or two. No real info here, just high energy to perk the ears up. Narrator acts as if he/she is talking to the PD. Even if your show has a soft topic (i.e., love songs), you still have to appeal to a programmer who is hearing your demo in an office with phones ringing, people talking, emails arriving, and other things going on. So make this first :20 of your demo full of energy, no matter what the rest of your demo/show sounds like.

Track 2 (1:00) Narrator description of show, with some sections of the actual show.

Track 3 (1:00) Basic sales points by narrator, as if he/she were talking to the sales department.

Track 4 (:30) Comments from other stations/advertisers who have had the show. No narration or splash here, just straight (dry) recordings of other folks who agreed to be recorded (live or by phone) for use on your demo.

Track 5 (:30) Syndication terms; this info can be either the narrator or a third voice that sounds more "geeky". Dry is best.

Track 6 (60:00 max) The actual show, with fillers in place of commercials. The fillers can be a fourth voice, saying something like "commercials here!". It then leads right back into the actual show. If your show is longer than 60:00, then limit this portion to 60:00. If your show is shorter, use it in its entirety. There is no narration in the actual show... it should sound exactly the way it would be broadcast to listeners (except for commercials, of course.)

Track 7 (1:00) Narrator bullet-point recap, along with main contact phones, emails, and websites.

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