By Carla Hall, MusicDish.com
Planning to send your new single to your local Power
or Hot station to get radio airplay? Think again. Getting radio
airplay is serious bizness and no longer in the hands of individual
DJs, so you best plan to get hot or go home. Each week, new songs
get added to a station's playlist (called "adds"), while current
songs are monitored for the number of "spins" or times played per
week. The rest are dropped. Believe it or not, there is a method
to the madness.
anyone has the perception of simply putting a CD in an envelope
and sending it to a radio station will automatically get airplay,
then they're probably misguided," says Jerry Lembo, an independent
radio promoter. "Music directors usually have a designated day and
time when they take calls and/or visits from promotional reps. It
may be a Wednesday between 1-4 PM. It's not like you can walk in
at any given time of the week."
During a music director (MD) or program director's
(PD) "visiting hours," the record promoter presents a song and dance
of why the station should play the song. "What you want to do is
bring in information about the artist, if there is any activity
surrounding the song. Maybe the artist is playing locally, or appearing
on television. Maybe the song is being used in a soundtrack or has
been reviewed in a notable publication," continues Lembo. "Whatever
you have to enhance the big picture of a song, this is your opportunity
to present the facts."
On the R&B and Urban Radio side, there are other ways
to get put on. Go through the side door via radio call-in freestyle
shows and mix show DJs. "If you're on a mix tape and you make something
people wanna hear, and people vibe to it, the radio stations are
forced to hear what you're doing," says New York Power 105.1's Doctor
Dre. "50 Cent put out tons and tons of mix CDs. He was on so many
different tapes that people decided that he was the next big thing."
Payola is the means of getting a station to play your
record through bribes and gifts to the MDs and PDs. Back in the
day, labels were rumored to use these tactics. "In the past, the
only way I could get to a program director was at The Jack the Rapper
Music Conference," says rap Godfather Luke Campbell. "I'd get a
suite, because I ain't Sony or Interscope, and I'd have to be creative.
So I'd get the dancers from the club, put them in the room, and
I'd play the same record over and over. I took the army mentality,
like what they'd do in Vietnam. I'd just play a certain record over
and over and run the enemy crazy!" However, the current slump in
the music industry has forced people to play by the rules. "Kids
have so many other ways now to get music. They can burn it, download
it, or get it from a friend with a CD burner, and it's affected
the business. So we can't do the big dinners and parties, and other
things that are considered raunchy anymore, because it doesn't make
Prepare. Compile list of college and mainstream
stations that play your type of music.
www.radio-locator.com lists stations all over the world, including
web radio. Billboard and CMJ (College Music Journal) are excellent
research guides. "If you listen to the frequencies in any given
market, you can tell which stations are more aggressive about music,
says Jerry Lembo.
"You have stations that will lead musically, and you
have stations that follow. Depending on the station, you may have
to build a large regional or national story before they even consider
adding your record."
Who Dat? Learn the key players at each station, as
well as their visiting hours and preferences. If you're approaching
a college station, find out which DJs play your particular style
of music. Says Geo Bivins, VP of Radio Promo at Capitol Records
CK, "These days, radio promo is about going to the office, playing
the record, and really working the whole station in order to get
them to feel your record."
Create Your Story. Nobody wants to sleep on
the next big thing. Radio people want to know what other honest
hype, if any, is going on with your record. "Maybe the artist is
playing locally, or appearing on television. Maybe the song is being
used on a soundtrack, or reviewed by a notable publication" continues
Lembo. "Whatever you have that might enhance the big picture, this
is your opportunity to present the facts to the music director.
Back to School. Don't sleep on college radio
for the most on-air opportunities. Interviews and performances on
college stations can help you build exposure. "College breaks a
lot more new artist than we do," says Doctor Dre. "There's less
restrictions. I was at WDAU at Adelphi University from 1993-1998.
I had so many people, like Public Enemy, that came through that
became bigger artists."
Check Yourself.Radio promotion is a long term
strategy. Work a few stations at a time, since you'll be begging
them often. If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and
try again. You may need to work your song for the long haul. "It's
more often that you don't get the add," says Lembo. "You could visit
stations for up to a year and even then not be successful. But it
depends on how strongly you believe in the music."
Promotions. As the saying goes, never underestimate
the power of a free t-shirt. Suggest giveaways to advertise local
performances, and kiss up to your radio station ballers. "Promo-wise,
everything works because it is a relationship business, " says Bivins.
"But everything comes down to whether or not you have a great record."
by the MusicDish
Network. Copyright © Tag
It 2004 - Republished with Permission