Adding Other Artists
Commercial Airplay Myths
To DVD or Not
Indie Promo I
Indie Promo 2
Payola Part 2
Payola Part 3
Payola Part 4
Retail & Radio
Videos for Radio
By Bryan Farrish
When talking to people who are launching their first couple of
projects, invariably the same misunderstood points come up concerning commercial
regular-rotation airplay. Here they are:
DJs PLAY THE RECORDS:
DJs only do this on non-commercial radio, and specialty/mixshow radio. The majority of
people in the U.S., however, listen to commercial regular-rotation radio, and on these
stations, the DJs have no say at all in what is going to be played (unless, in the case of
a smaller station, the DJ is also the PD). So, the biggest pitfall to avoid is asking a DJ
at a commercial station "Can I give you my CD for possible rotation?". The DJ is
not allowed to say "No", and he/she is probably not going to explain that only
the PD can approve regular rotation. The DJ is just going to say "OK".
GOOD SONGS SPREAD TO OTHER STATIONS:
Good songs (or for that matter, good programs) do not mystically spread to other stations.
Every single song you hear (or every syndicated program you hear) on commercial
regular-rotation radio is on that station because of layers of promotion and marketing.
The song you hear was the one that made it... it beat out the other 300 songs that were
going for adds that week. What you don't hear are the endless phone calls, faxes, trade
ads, personal meetings, consultant recommendations, call-out research, and other things
which went into getting the station to add the record. All you heard was the record
itself. And station owners make it a requirement that DJs make it sound like they picked
the music themselves.
COLLEGE OR SPECIALTY/MIXSHOW WILL EXPAND TO COMMERCIAL:
Just because you do well on non-commercial or specialty/mixshow radio, it does not mean
anything will happen on commercial regular-rotation radio. Matter of fact, nothing at all
will happen at commercial unless a separate, higher-level campaign is put into place to
take the record into regular rotation. The pitfall here is that a listener will hear
something on college, and then a month later hear it on commercial, and conclude that the
college caused the commercial to happen. The listener did not know that both campaigns
were in place simultaneously, and the college simply went for adds a month earlier.
YOU HAVE TO BE SIGNED:
Untrue. Being singed is only a signal to the stations that the basic marketing practices
are going to be done right. If you have the budget, you can duplicate the marketing
practices of larger labels, provided you know how. The band Creed set a good example, by
putting their $5 million marketing dollars into the right place.
REQUEST CALLS WILL HELP:
Not really. They won't hurt, but your time is better spent doing other things, like
inviting people to your gigs. Stations know which calls are real, and which are bands and
their friends. Stations have consultants and seminars which cover only this one topic.
I CAN'T GET AIRPLAY WITHOUT DISTRIBUTION:
Depends on the size of radio that you are going after. Smaller commercial regular-rotation
stations in smaller markets won't make this too much of a sticking point, especially if
you have a powerful radio campaign going, or if you are doing great gigs in their city, or
if you have great college or specialty/mixshow results. But the larger stations... which
you can't work anyway until you do the smaller ones... will be almost impossible.
I CAN'T GET AIRPLAY WITHOUT GIGS:
Again, depends on the size of radio that you are going after. Not being able to gig is a
serious handicap for any station, but you can overcome it in smaller markets with intense
radio promo, press, sales, and non-comm results.
NON-MONITORED STATIONS ARE OF NO USE:
Non-monitored stations are of no use only on the Billboard and R&R charts. But FMQB,
CMJ, and all specialty/mixshow charts found in magazines are compiled manually; since you
need to start off on these smaller charts first, this works out just fine.
Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion is an
independent radio airplay
promotion company. 818-905-8038 www.radio-media.com.
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