Hosting a show on KDHX: Applying, Scripting, and Tips

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Overview

The most critical elements to preparing your script and idea for a radio show on KDHX, are described in detail in the following section of this document, assuming that you are proposing a music-focused radio show. If not, we'll want to discuss your ideas in more detail before proceeding to the demo scripting stage.
Please e-mail a short description of what you are wanting to do and we will reply with revised instructions.

Critical Elements for Radio Programs on KDHX

The elements below detail the basic structure of music show announcing. There are many ways of going in and out of these elements, but they are the kind of thing that the programming committee is listening for in particular when reviewing demos. The committee wants to hear good radio mechanics in addition to thoughtful musical programming.

Introduction

Setup the show, introducing the types of music you'll be playing, what you call the show, how you refer to yourself as host and how long you'll be on the air.

- ex. "I'm Steve and I’m here every Saturday from noon til 2 with this program, ‘the new show’ which features all the new music that’s fit to hear."

Remember, our station’s format varies from show to show, so it is important to catch the listener up and prepare them for what they will be hearing now.

ID, ID, ID

Whenever you turn on the mic, follow up with all the necessary IDs.

- "you're in tune to 88 1 KDHX, St. Louis. Independent Music Plays Here. My name is DJ-Joe, and the show is called X. It’s 10:35 in the St. Louis area, 45 degrees currently and today's high will be in the mid 60s. And now, we're going to hear from...."

The time and temperature are most useful during the morning drive, are key element in those programs, but is less critical at other times of the day.

Anytime you discuss the weather, limit it to the next 12-24 hours in 10 seconds or less.
Do not linger on obvious or visual weather, aka “wow it’s really raining out there. Hope you have your umbrella. I didn’t and I got soaked.”
(It might not be raining 10 blocks away.)

Forecasting (Forward-announcing and teasing)

Follow the introduction with a bit of forecasting and then ID and setup the song you are playing first.

Forecasting is a brief mention of the artists that you will feature later on in the program, without giving away the specifics. This essentially 'hooks' the listener.

- ex. "In this week's program we'll hear from Joe Schmoe, the Brothers Green and Joss Stone, who will be performing at the Live on the Levee series this Friday at 8pm, but we're going to start things off with X ..."

Create Context

Give the listener a little something to think about while you play the next tune. A little bit of specific information goes a long way in pulling in the listener’s attention.

Consider these questions when deciding what to say:

- Why are you playing this particular song?
- Is the artist coming to town anytime soon?
- Does it connect with something else you played?
- Is there anything notable to mention about the recording process, the players, the meaning of the lyrics, etc?
- Is the artist coming to town anytime soon?

Obviously, some of that information might need to be figured out before you begin talking. Don’t try to give out information or formulate a thought that you don’t have fully constructed while on mic.

Any kind of context setup, preferably one that is very brief and very focused, makes listening to the unfamiliar a more rewarding experience for the listener. Otherwise, we'd just always play the hits and the familiar, which is something we're deliberately trying not to do on KDHX.

Try to vary breaks with context so they don’t all sound the same.

- ex. avoid using repetition - “That was artist/song/album/label/year, and before that was artist/song/album/label/year."

Back-announce

This is a really specific and critical approach to telling listeners what they've just heard – and it MUST be in reverse order.

Consider that typical listeners are in a passive mode, tuning in and out every 15 minutes or so. Give them the info in reverse order of the playlist to keep them up to speed with what you're talking about, what was last heard, and what was heard in between.

- ex. "We just heard from Joss Stone with the song "Song X," and before that we heard "Song Y" and we started the set with "Song Z."

If you forward-announced a song, you do not need to back-announce it. Do not back announce more than 2-3 artists tops, as listeners won’t remember more than that.

You can refer listeners to your online playlist for a complete listing of all songs played during your show.

Programming

A key element of song selection is what is refferred to as center lane programming - playing something that will connect with the audience out of familiarity and weaving in and out of that center lane with things that you think they might not know. This is part of your role as "curator" of the genre.

If you have a blues set, followed by a rock set and then a set by a jam band, that would be like three different shows and make it difficult to retain the same listeners throughout the show.

Keep a center lane focus throughout the show. If you would want to do a special, a tribute, a theme, etc., then consider how it would alter your format or what your listeners are used to hearing.

Break Length/Brevity

We ask that our DJs go on mic at least every 15 minutes to give the station and show ID, including any other hosting elements and pre-recorded announcements that are scheduled to play.

Break length for a music show should generally stay at two minutes or less.

Personality

New applicants often want to find ways to insert their personality into their script and demo. While every host sounds different, in demo mode this tends to sound forced, especially if you are nervous during demo production.

Standing out is not required by the Program Committee, nor should playlists be made particularly eccentric to impress them.

The Committee wants to hear what you will most likely sound like during an average show. If you have read through all of the steps above and are still unclear on any of them, listen to KDHX. Many of the hosts incorporate these aspects into their programming.

If you haven’t listened to KDHX very much, it’s a good idea to do so anyway, just to get yourself familiar.

Next Steps

To move forward with applying for a show, begin by preparing a script. Write out every word that you plan to say, complete with a listing of musical selections.

Please send it to Andy Coco via coco at kdhx.org. Word, PDF, Google Doc, or email are all acceptable formats.

Script length should include four to five talking segments, including an intro and outro, and two to three songs in between. The script can later act as your base for demo production.

After review, we may respond with suggestions for improvement before moving forward. If your script is approved, we will set up an appointment to produce the demo.

Show Name

A show name is very important, and something that can take some time to think about. It is good to work towards not just one, but rather two or three show names that you a) feel good about and b) think will resonate with listeners online and on air.

Here are some things to consider:

- Starting out: Think of some of your favorite artists, albums and songs. Are there any titles, or lyrics, that resonate with you or sum up why you love this genre(s) of music?
- Uniqueness: Is the show's name unique? If you do a search online of the show name, what types of information comes up? Is it a show name that will be easy for people to remember?
- Representation: The show's name should conjure up images or thoughts for the listener that best represent the bulk of the musical genre(s) that you will play.
- Length: Please keep the name of the show to about four or five words.
- Show description: Start thinking about how your show's description, used for on-air readings by the previously scheduled DJ and for the web, would interact with the show's name. Avoid listing too many artists and cliche phrases.

The show's name is not a deal-breaker in this initial application process. We just want to make sure that applicants understand that a show's name will be something that the committee will want to approve before moving ahead with a weekly show.

DO stick with your show name for the script and demo.

Your Demo

When your script has been approved, we will help you create your demo.

The demo that you submit to the Program Committee should be no more than 10 minutes long and will essentially be a montage of your program’s material. We will cut the music pieces down to 30 seconds or less, connecting them with crossfades.

Choose 10 songs that will demonstrate the genre(s) and styles of music that you intend to feature on the program. Block them in groups of two or three, based on connection and continuity.

The verbal breaks will be heard intact and are primarily what the committee is reviewing.

The music clips are samples to give them a feel of the sound of the program. The use of instrumental music beds that are heard under your verbal breaks are optional.