Breaking Ground: Getting Your Song Played On The Radio

Posted: August 26, 2013 in Artist Corner
Tags: , ,

Author: Mikhal Norris

One of the biggest challenges facing a band is to get that first song on local radio. This is a big step on the way to getting a label deal, better gigs, video play and, of course, a real taste of your music out to potential fans.

The radio opportunities open will obviously heavily depend on your music and where you live, but there are some simple rules which will help you get your way.

First up – be organised. Make sure the single you send is as polished as it can be and a good example of your music, sound and what you are hoping to achieve. Concentrate on your live performance, practise and make sure if the programme director of your local radio station happens along to your gig that it is shit hot.

The Demo

Before you start putting that just-burnt demo CD in an envelope, pop it in your CD player to make sure it works and ensure the recording is of radio play quality. If the demo is not to this standard, the first thing you need to do is find a way to produce a demo that is good enough to be broadcast on air.

When you send in the demo make sure it is clearly labelled both on the packaging and on the CD. Include a one or two page press release/bio that is clear about the genre of music you play and explains your act well. The package should look attractive but also needs to provide all the correct information and contact details for the representative of your band. This person needs to be well spoken, reliable and easy to get hold of.

Who do I send it to?

Send your package to the programme director of your local radio station. A phone call to get the right name is all it should take. Having sent the package follow it up with an email and then a phone call, leaving a few days gap between each. Remember it is good to be keen and professional but do not cross over into the annoying/stalker zone.

The programme director (PD) is the person in charge of the overall sound of the station. This includes the music played and DJ choices. It can be a big job and they get pestered by lots of folk for lots of reasons. The breakfast show host(s) can be another useful person to send your demo to. If you happen to know anyone else at the station (even vaguely) flick them a copy at the same time.

The PD and breakfast host(s) are the people at the station who get the most CDs so your demo will be well received by other DJs. It is useful to include (as well as the bio) a brief note with gigs you have coming up and maybe a couple of interesting pointers also. This makes for something interesting for the DJ to say on air to accompany your song, and if it is written well requires little effort on their behalf.

Some radio stations have an ‘unsigned’ part to their programming, a Kiwi music show, specialist shows focused on genres or maybe a new music feature. These are ideal shows to target.

Sucking up.

If you are trying to convince a radio station your band’s music is perfect for their playlist, it is essential you are familiar with the music they play, the DJs and events they are putting on. It’s not hard to know that much.

Flick key people at the radio station invitations to gigs you have got coming up. Free stuff is good and if you are playing with a band they are already a fan of you are more likely to get them along to see your band.

At any stage it is always good to offer your services at station events and promotions. This will increase your profile and get the whole station on side. It can also provide a good chance to network with music industry types.

Good luck and remember that it took many of NZ’s top bands years to get a hit on radio – so don’t give up.

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