Get your music played on the radio with this simple how-to guide. Radio play is one of the best ways to get new listeners for your music and always has been. Read on to see how you can break onto the waves.
Radio reaches far more listeners than one might expect. It can be difficult to believe today, what with the widespread use of Internet streaming and other digital means, but keep in mind that all professional radio is available in digital streaming HD format today, also.
How many people listen to the radio? Look at it generationally (figures from NewsGeneration.com):
Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1996):
- More than 71.6 million Millennials use radio each month;
- 95% of Millennials are reached monthly by radio
Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1979):
- Nearly 80.5 million Gen Xers use radio each month
- 97% of Generation X reached monthly by radio
Boomers (those born between 1950 and 1964):
- More than 41.2 million Boomers listen to radio each month
- 98% of Boomers reached monthly by radio
QZ.com writes, “Old-fashioned AM/FM radio remains the biggest mass-reach medium in the US, with more than 90% of consumers listening on a weekly basis. That percentage has stayed strong even in the face of the explosive growth of music streaming; it was 96% back in 2001, according to Nielsen’s yearly reports.”
That’s a ton of exposure. But how can you get on the radio? It’s actually not that hard, presuming your music is adequately well produced.
The secret (in case you can’t tell from the images) is in college radio. Why? Bryan Farrish for Radio-Media.com writes:
“An important thing to understand about college radio … is that the people picking the music are unpaid. This means they are doing it for the love of music. This also means that you are not going to tell them what to do, or what they should like; instead, they are going to tell you what they are going to do, and what they like. This is actually a plus for you; you can use them for opinions to help steer your career.”
The downside, though, is that unless they really love an indie song most people haven’t heard, they’re not going to play it often. They’re mostly going to play it once and set it aside for awhile to see if callers request it later.
That’s really cool, though, because it does happen. Students and music heads do listen to college radio to hear new, exciting music, and they will absolutely call their station to request something they like. In fact, calling a college radio station is a ton of fun as a listener because there’s hardly ever much of a wait, and you’ll talk to someone in the studio damn near 100% of the time.
What’s all this mean to you?
It means that you should definitely be sending your music to college radio shows. And you should be sending it to a lot of them.
The way to do this best is to look up the contact information for the stations you’re most interested in, first. Here is a consistently updated list of all the campus radio stations in the world. You’re looking for stations nearest to where you perform live.
Next, go to the websites of those stations and look for their program list. You’re searching for a program with a format that fits your music. If you play metal, find a metal show. If you play jazz, jazz. If you play hip hop, then hip hop, etc. Of course, there’re always a handful of shows where the DJ has stipulated, “I play whatever I like!” Those are excellent, too, though not quite as useful.
Most of those shows will have an email address or other method mentioned for sending in a demo track.
Make sure you send your music with a bio about who you are, maybe a link to a recent press release about you, and information about how they can contact you.
Aaand that’s essentially it! An afternoon spent doing this can be exceptionally useful to your music. Thousands of other musicians are doing it. Why aren’t you?