airplay

It is generally understood by most people, whether or not they
work in the radio industry, that commercial radio stations,
one-on-one, still carry the most listeners in the terrestrial
broadcast world. This is versus non commercial, public,
and college stations.

Hence, their large listenerships are, in part, why it is difficult
for new independent artists to break into their main rosters
directly for airplay. Additionally, their listenership numbers
are why commercial station rates are the most expensive
as well.

But, there is a “back-door” approach that can get your
music on commercial radio stations from the onset that
eliminates your need to “build up” to them by first going
through college, non commercial and public stations.

I’m not saying that you don’t need these other stations,
because you do. However, again, you don’t need to wait
nearly as long just to create a history and, pardon the pun,
track record for commercial stations.

And, the element that assists you in achieving this feat is
known as “specialty/mix shows.”

It is truly perplexing to me when I read other writers’ articles
that attempt to devalue specialty/mix radio shows as
positive sources of exposure for independent recording
artists.

They attempt to further substantiate their claims by alluding
that specialty/mix shows are aired during late nights when
no one is listening, say, at 2:00 a.m. Come on! Not
everyone has “day” jobs.

Without trying, I can think of a number of jobs, services and
positions that function all night, with their employees
listening to radio stations during their entire shifts. One
such area is the security industry which, by the way, is a
very large industry.

And, while it is true, in part, that many such shows air during
late nights and overnights, there are just as many shows
that air during early evening time slots as well.

To learn if stations have specialty/mix shows, which many
have at least one, it is as simple as calling them up. If a
station has a website, it will usually post its program
schedule online as well, which will oftentimes include its
independently produced deejay-run shows.

However, some stations won’t include their specialty
shows and, in these cases, you are better off contacting
their programming departments by telephone, as you
may then find that they also have multiple shows where
your music will fit.

To further support my own argument for specialty/mix shows,
many listeners keep their radios set to their favorite stations
around the clock, regardless of the programming content
possibly changing during different times of the day.

Hence, in relation to working with commercial radio stations
as a part of your promotion, your goals should be as follows:

1. Locate as many commercial radio stations as possible.

2. Discover as many specialty/mix shows that each station
carries in its programming lineup that specifically fit your
genre.

3. Ask for the names of the producers of the shows, who
are usually the same individuals who host, and who are far
easier to get in touch with than the station’s staff music
and program directors.

Additionally, in most cases, it is much easier to get your
music aired on specialty/mix shows that are carried by
commercial stations, as opposed to attempting to get it
onto commercial stations’ main rosters.

Likewise, the specialty/mix show host has much more
time to, and can more freely present bios on the artists
whose music he is airing on his show. You will rarely
(if ever) get this added service through a station’s main
programming, unless you are a superstar artist.

Be sure to also include a note within your media kit
informing the host/producer that the music can be
purchased online, either on your site, or on a site such
as CD Baby.

And, as I’ve informed through other articles, you should
also ensure that your music is carried by such
organizations as The Orchard (http://www.theorchard.com),
as well as by New Artist Direct (http://www.newartistdirect.com).

Why?

Because, in addition to providing online sales, these
particular two distributors also place orders with offline
music retailers, with (I believe) a 90%-95% concentration
depth on a national level in the United States. They are
actively involved with both major music retail chains, as
well as independent music retailers.

And, they have been specifically created to offset and
eliminate the headaches and heartaches that most
artists and small labels experience when dealing with
traditional distributors.

By the way…radio stations maintain constant contact with
their area retailers to learn what is being requested and
moving via sales. Likewise, retailers stay in contact with
area radio to learn what is popular enough to stock.

The best things that can come from all of this are:

* If your music becomes extremely popular on the show,
and the station request line heats up, followed by your sales
increasing in the station’s area retail stores, its popularity
will get noticed by the music or program directors, who
may decide to try it within the main lineup.

* Due to its popularity with station and retail requests,
retailers may decide that your music has proven itself
and is worth the risk of ordering from The Orchard or
New Music Direct to stock in advance.

So, are you now thinking more seriously about marketing
your product to specialty/mix shows on a national level?
If not, you certainly should be.

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