S.A.C. Challenge – Week 6 – Choice No. 1 – Issued by Cara Heath – Writing for Radio

Image by Tom Godber used with Creative Commons License.
Image by Tom Godber used with Creative Commons License.

Cara Heath is the owner of With A Bullet, a radio promotion company based in Canada that has proudly been taking great music to radio since 2008. We have worked with The Pack A.D, The Gaslight Anthem, Born Ruffians, Heart, Leonard Cohen, In-Flight Safety, Fortunate Ones, and more…

Here is her challenge:

For this week’s challenge I want you to get into the mindset of self-editing. This is all about the radio edit. I want you to create a new song that would work currently at either Pop (Hot AC or CHR) or Rock (Alternative or Active Rock) Radio formats – your pick – but, I want you to write this song to be around 4 mins in length. Then I want you to edit it down to no more than 3:30 mins while still retaining the essence, dynamics, and structure of the song.  If your original length is shorter than 4 mins still cut 30 secs out somewhere and if it’s longer than 4 mins you still need to get it down to 3:30. Things to help in the editing process: think about shortened intros, time to first vocals, time to first chorus, shortening / removing instrumental parts, shortening outros, etc. Get the point across quickly, grab your potential listener’s attention and have them singing along by the end of it!  **These aren’t hard and fast rules when it comes to radio, but it’s always a great exercise for songwriters to practice the art and discipline of self-editing **

Connect with Cara:
www.withabullet.ca /www.twitter.com/withabullet / www.facebook.com/withabulletpromo

Please submit the following by Monday, March 23, 11:59 EST.
1.  Link to a blog post about your experience with this challenge.
2.  Link to your song (preferably on SoundCloud) with lyrics posted in SoundCloud.

41 thoughts on “S.A.C. Challenge – Week 6 – Choice No. 1 – Issued by Cara Heath – Writing for Radio

  1. SAC Week #6 – Writing For Radio Craig McIvor and Kathryn Berry-Saugaveau)

    Here is my submission for the Week 6 challenge with Kathryn Berry-Saugaveau. I have included links to both the original (4:06) and the edited (3:36) versions. Lyrics can be found on each of the soundcloud links.

    Thanks again for this challenge. It was a great experience:

    Edited Song:

    Original Song:


    The soundcloud alias craigster67 is Craig Mcivor


  2. S.A.C Challenge #6 Pop Radio, after lots of critics this week on this song “Open the Keys to My Heart”, it needs some lyrical changes to make more sense, tightening in chorus, and title change. But given the time for quality and losing my voice I am willing to make necessary changes to make it a hit. There are two versions below, the top one is progressive/soul/pop and the second progressive soul.




  3. Ms. Cara Heath, thank you for the challenge. Mine is not radio-ready, but it’s a pop song at 3:30, a modern pop song in the style of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” and Chris De Burgh’s “Spanish Train”. My song is called Escape Dragon. It’s a collaboration between myself (lyrics and vox) and Michael Paul Vella, who created the background music. Thank you to SAC, James Linderman, Debra Alexander and Lily Cheng! Also thank you to Todd Wandio for your encouragement on my dragon idea! Thank you to Michael Paul Vella for the backbeat! Hope this song keeps you running with the dragons LOL

    My blog:


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