In these Radiowaves-exclusive articles, legendary presenter Pat Courtenay shares his views, ideas, experience, and tips with our visitors…

In this week’s column Pat gives advice on making a demo…


So, you know there’s a gig going. It’s way better than the one you’re on. It could be the payback for all those years grinding away in Baile na Gombeen. No one’s actually picked up the phone and asked you if you’re interested: your profile’s not that high, but it will be! Oh, once you get this gig, you’re on your way.

So you make The Demo and it is magnificent! You’ve pulled out your best jokes over several air-checks, the most heart-warming local charity plugs; you’ve scoured your tapes for the tightest presentation and the most exciting traffic pieces you’ve ever done. You’ve put on that sketch your mates all tell you was great so you’ve played it about 100 times. You’ve even managed to match up time-checks so no one will ever know you didn’t do all this in the one shift! It’s a good ten, maybe fifteen minutes long and you’ve thrown in some hot-snot commercials on the end. This is a labour of love and it’s turned into one Mother of a Best Of!

That was Mistake Number One.

One of two things can now happen: either The PD at ClassicPowerDanceRockFM calls from Dublin, tells you he liked your “air-check” and asks you if you’d like to come up for an interview. You go. You accept his offer. You learn the gear. You get to know everyone. You go on the air. You sound like you normally do. A week or two later, the PD realises this is not just “nerves,” and that the alleged air-check was a well-made Best Of. For a while he makes your life a misery then suddenly, you’re gone. You will never get another hearing at ClassicPowerDanceRockFM and you probably won’t get your old job back, even if you have the intestinal fortitude to ask for it.
The other thing that can happen is much simpler: the PD tunes in from Dublin, gets someone to tape you in Baile na Gombeen or catches you on the ‘net. He hears what you really sound like and you will never get another hearing from ClassicPowerDanceRockFM. You faked.

A demo has to be the way you can sound on your “most average” day. If this makes you lift your game in an effort to do a Show you’re happy to send as a demo, it’s achieved something already.

A demo should be short; no more than five to eight minutes for the vast majority of Jocks, and often that can include the two or three ads you’re most pleased with. A PD just doesn’t have the time and he’s heard an awful lot of Jocks as well as a lot of awful Jocks.

A demo should do with the PD exactly what you should do with your Listener: get their attention when you open your gob, give them what they need and leave them happy to hear you come on again.

A demo should go with a short, relevant CV, heavy on the Life Experience if you’ve got it. Put in a photo…preferably of yourself!

Hey, if you can sound like a seven-figure jock every day you’re on, you make whatever kind of demo you want! However, if you’re that good, it’s funny you have to be making a demo in the first place.

Next week, Knock-backs