How to get a record played on various radio stations?
January 25, 2010 5:44 AM   Subscribe

Hi all - How would you get the attention of radio programmers to play a terrific independently produced recording?

My wife wrote, performed, and worked with a well-known east coast producer to make an excellent cd. We live in the NYC area, and she plays out at least twice a month. She is a singer songwriter, compared to Sheryl Crow and Liz Phair. I'd like to hear about any experiences with mainstream radio, satellite radio, and internet radio. She has her own website , Sonicbids page, MySpace, and is attending various singer/songwriting workshops in our area. Thanks much!
posted by hick57 to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's really good that she has a Myspace, website etc, but so does everybody and their dog. The market is saturated with a lot of really amazing stuff. She should keep playing and staying visible in real life. You say she's attending workshops - that's awesome for her to make contacts, which is essential.

If she's relatively unknown, I have to ask - Have you tried your local campus/community radio stations? I used to work at a campus station and we always supported local music as much as we could. In some of those cases, the songs/bands would attract interest from the commercial stations.
posted by futureisunwritten at 6:31 AM on January 25, 2010

Mainstream radio isn't going to happen, so don't bother. Like futureisunwritten says, focus on college and public radio. Go to the web sites for local stations and see if they have any programs focusing on local music. There's also a very handy page on KEXP's web site about how to get airplay which you'll probably find useful. Paying for PR representation can be very helpful if you can get it.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:00 AM on January 25, 2010

Unless she a huge myspace and online following [hundreds of thousands of fans] or signed to a major record label, she probably won't be able to get the attention of a mainstream radio station. Mainstream [owned by clear channel or CBS] radio stations won't take the risk of something that doesn't already have a lot of popularity and funding [for promoting, etc] behind it.
Speaking as a former college radio MD, that KEXP article is spot on and I would also recommend following their advise for submitting to college radio stations.
However, double check for each station [there should be a page on their website or simply give a call to the station during the daytime] to see if their preferred ways of receiving music slightly differ.
Also, As far as I know, NPR's music segments are broadcasted from other NPR-affiliated stations [some which are college radio stations: KEXP, WNYC, and WFUV], so contact those three stations, especially WNYC and WFUV since you're same area.
posted by fizzix at 10:04 AM on January 25, 2010

Send a press kit and CD to the DJ(s) on WFMU who are most likely to play stuff in her genre. This worked great for my band. They're a terrific station.
posted by monospace at 10:49 AM on January 25, 2010

Speaking from the commercial side of things (small ownership group, a half-dozen radio and TV stations), I'll agree with everything that's been suggested so far. A commercial AAA stations (the format that's most likely to play Sheryl Crow and Liz Phair) isn't going to pay attention to you if you're not being pitched by a promoter they know and promotions services are expensive. Even then, the small amount of airplay you receive isn't going to lead to the kinds of sales and gigs recoup that investment, much less the investment in the CD.

It does, however, sound like you're doing everything else right, so that commercial radio door may not be closed forever and in the meantime go after the noncommercial stations. I live in that world, too, and you're a lot more likely to find traction there. Their audiences may be smaller (not always), but they're wildly loyal, still buy CDs, and attend concerts.

And, they tell their friends.

Good luck!
posted by LinnTate at 11:02 AM on January 25, 2010

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