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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

School radio promotion: The musician’s information

The impartial music market is extra saturated than ever. That’s why I favor advertising and marketing methods which might be particular and focused. They’re typically simpler than casting a large web.

I’ve labored alongside a whole lot of artists over time, and seen how far more useful it’s for a band to have a pair hundred actual, devoted followers who purchase t-shirts and tickets to reveals than it’s to get tens of millions of passive streams on Spotify from listeners who may not even discover the title of the artist they’re listening to. 

For that reason, and lots of others, school radio is my favourite promotional technique.

This text is meant to be a crash-course in how school radio works. I’ll cowl the technical ins-and-outs of faculty radio promotion, however extra importantly, how one can suppose strategically about school radio promotion.

Why does school radio matter?

Earlier than I get into how immensely worthwhile school radio promotion is, it’s vital to say that selling music on school radio is a method used extensively by impartial labels and artists throughout many genres.

It’s vital and worthwhile due to its viewers, which I’ll get into shortly. But in addition as a result of there are a whole lot of faculty radio stations throughout the nation that play impartial music. This stands in stark distinction to industrial terrestrial stations, that, outdoors of some specialty reveals, solely play data backed by six-figure-plus promotional campaigns. There are a few different kinds of radio that new, up-and-coming artists would possibly have the ability to safe, however school radio is the largest pool.

As a school radio promoter, I typically say that essentially the most worthwhile new followers you may get are the DJs themselves.

Most school radio DJs fall into two classes:

1. School college students

However not simply any school college students. These are college students who’re so obsessed with music that they dedicate their valuable time to discovering and sharing new music. They’re children who go to reveals, purchase data, develop music scenes, guide festivals, they usually’re the sort of people that will go on to work within the music trade as soon as they graduate. They’re hungry for brand spanking new music. They’re defining their style, a lot of which can final a lifetime.

Many stations, particularly larger ones, have neighborhood volunteers who DJ and assist run the station. Importantly, they’re those who hold issues working when school college students are house for the summer time and holidays. These are individuals who love music a lot that they volunteer their time to share it with their communities. 

After all, each these kind of individuals are additionally all energetic on social media like anybody else. However as an alternative of you simply placing your music up on the web and hoping high-value followers stumble throughout it, you’re placing it immediately into their fingers at a time once they’ve already agreed to take a seat down and pay particular consideration to model new music from artists they’ve by no means heard of, with the intent to then share it with others. It’s exhausting to think about a greater set of individuals to be selling your music to immediately.

And that is to say nothing of the great music nerds everywhere in the world who make investments time and vitality in music discovery by LISTENING to school and neighborhood radio.

Challenges with school radio

Hopefully, by now you agree that school radio is a superb place to advertise your music.

Nonetheless, except you’re actively touring, it may be exhausting to show periodic radio performs into followers and significant alternatives. Even should you’re exhibiting up on the nationwide school radio charts.

With typical press, you get a hyperlink (or screenshot) you may share to get your followers enthusiastic about high-profile protection. This helps display to trade folks that you just’re severe and getting observed. School radio promotion doesn’t yield hyperlinks or simple social proof in the identical method. So it requires some additional consideration and work to profit from these worthwhile connections.

Getting radio play is like making it rain (this can be a metaphor, stick with me right here), however should you don’t put out buckets to gather the rainwater, it’ll simply soak into the bottom and dissipate. I’ll talk about “capturing the rainwater” intimately afterward on this article. However first, some sensible details about submitting music to school radio.

What even is school radio?

More often than not, after we discuss school radio, we’re speaking about terrestrial radio stations owned and operated by faculties. These stations are run by school college students and volunteers. However with the intention to perceive school radio promotion, it helps to get the larger image of how radio play is measured.

NACC (North American School & Neighborhood) is a non-profit group that compiles and publishes weekly and month-to-month charts primarily based on knowledge collected from school, neighborhood, and web radio stations. When folks discuss school radio charts, they’re virtually definitely speaking in regards to the NACC charts, although NACC additionally accepts reporting from some web and neighborhood stations.

For the needs of this text, I’m going to make use of the time period “school radio” to seek advice from stations that report back to the NACC. It’s good to know that some stations that report back to NACC aren’t precisely school stations. However they’re vital if you wish to rank on what is basically the faculty radio charts.

Stations that report back to the NACC are ranked 1-5, 5 being the heaviest, or most vital. Station weight is decided by a lot of components. However typically the closely weighted stations are those you’ve heard of like KEXP and KCRW.

Whereas stations with a 1 or 2 rating are tiny school stations you most likely haven’t heard of. They’ve a smaller listenership, however are possible superior nonetheless.

Methods to submit your music to school radio

What to undergo radio

Most stations nonetheless favor to obtain CDs, although many now settle for digital submissions. Determining which stations are which could be a massive challenge, so do your analysis and hold good notes!

Some issues to bear in mind:
  • In the event you’re sending out bodily CDs, you need to be sure that the jewel-case or digipak has a backbone so DJs can simply discover them on a CD shelf
  • Be sure you point out which songs are the focus tracks, which is simply one other method of claiming, essentially the most radio-friendly ones you suppose they need to play
  • It’s an ideal concept to ship a one-sheet together with your social handles and perhaps even an image and style info
  • It’s additionally an ideal concept to ship stickers and a hand-written observe in case you have the time, or something you may to verify your submission stands out. At Little Crimson Radio Promotion, we use shiny crimson envelopes after we ship out CDs in order that whoever opens it is aware of they’re about to find one thing wonderful. No matter you do, make it your personal!

No swears!

School stations have to stick to FCC rules, so in case your songs have naughty phrases, guarantee that’s marked visibly, or higher but, solely submit clear variations of your songs to radio.

Who to undergo

Tackle packages and emails to the station’s music director.

School station web sites typically have up-to-date details about the music director and their submission tips. It’s additionally good to ship an e mail alongside together with your bodily submission with an EPK the place they will simply obtain your report and pictures, learn your bio, and take a look at your social and streaming hyperlinks. 


We do weekly follow-ups with stations for the ten weeks following submissions.

This implies calling or emailing stations to ask in the event that they’ve had an opportunity to test it out but. In the event that they’ve performed it already, we thank them.

Protecting monitor of who has added and/or performed a report is important. Staying organized is an absolute should.

What different data to share

It’s additionally good to share related info each once you attain out and observe up.

As an example, inform them should you’re native to the identical market as a station, or should you’re coming by means of on tour quickly.

further school radio alternatives:
  • supply a ticket giveaway for listeners
  • present free tickets for the station DJs
  • ask about doing an in-studio efficiency should you see that’s one thing the station routinely does

Monitoring radio airplay

School radio promoters monitor and report airplay regularly all through your marketing campaign. How do you discover out which stations have added music to their library, or which DJs are enjoying the tracks?

3 methods to get data on school radio exercise:
  1. Telephone Calls are important if you wish to keep on a music director’s radar and get your music performed on the radio. We name stations and ask in the event that they acquired our submission, then in the event that they obtained an opportunity to hearken to it, in the event that they’ll add it to their library, and eventually in the event that they’ll give it some spins. The e-mail and the companies listed under are useful, however really no match for selecting up the cellphone.
  2. NACC compiles and posts charts that present the albums which might be getting essentially the most radio play and getting added to rotation on a given week. You may signal as much as entry this info on their web site. They’ve a fundamental free providing and a extra strong paid tier the place you’ve gotten entry to extra info.
  3. Spinitron is a service the place you may monitor particular person spins. That’s a useful solution to hold monitor of the place and once you’ve gotten radioplay.

Each NACC and Spinitron memberships price between $100 and $150/month.

Methods to get essentially the most out of faculty radio airplay

As mentioned earlier on this article, getting radio play is nice, however what’s simply as vital is what you do with it.

Listed below are some concepts for how one can put these school radio spins to good use:

Ship a thanks e mail

DJs love listening to immediately from artists they’re enjoying.

Report station IDs

It’s greatest to maintain them quick and candy like, “Hello, it’s [ARTIST] and also you’re listening to [STATION].” You are able to do this for stations and even particular person reveals that play your music. That’s an excellent good factor to throw in with a thanks e mail.

Ship thanks snail mail

Once more, the purpose right here is to construct a reference to the DJs and music administrators. And who doesn’t get excited receiving hand-written notes and stickers? In the event you don’t consider me, go hang around on school radio TikTok and watch how cute and excited DJs get opening all of the totally different packages.

Observe the stations and DJs

If the folks and stations that play your music have a presence on social, observe them!

That is simple to do and may be a good way to attach and be taught extra in regards to the DJs who like what you do and proceed to construct the connection. Do they submit pics of themselves in numerous band shirts each Friday? Ship them a t-shirt!  Keep in mind, school radio DJs are music tremendous followers. They’re the sort of people that observe artists for many years. Linking up on social media takes just about no effort and it may be price its weight in gold.

Get into close by shops

In the event you’re getting vital airplay on a given station (say 25 spins in per week), it’s price connecting to native report shops in that market to see about having them carry your music. Or, should you’re fortunate sufficient to work with a bodily distributor, that is nice info to cross alongside to them.

Study extra in regards to the scene

Wherever you’re at in your launch/touring cycle, selling to school radio might help you get a way of what markets you have to be touring to and investing vitality in. I can’t overstate the significance of connecting with DJs who’re sharing your music. These folks might help you get plugged into native music scenes, discover out about the place you have to be enjoying, and even guide reveals.

Lastly, we create shareable IG/TikTok content material for our shoppers that permit folks find out about radio play. It’s tremendous simple to make a bit of animated reel in Canva with the artist’s image and the track title, station, and chart rating or another related data. We encourage our artists to submit it on IG and tag the station and/or particular person DJs as collaborators. It is a nice solution to get in entrance of people that observe the station, however who may need missed your track. It additionally reveals a lot appreciation since you’re directing your personal followers to take a look at the station’s web page.

I’m certain there are 1,000,000 extra methods to construct friendships and neighborhood with school radio DJs. For my cash, selling to school radio is an unbelievable factor to do, however don’t depend on spins alone to maneuver the needle in your challenge. Your individuals are on the market ready so that you can join with them!

As somebody who does school radio promotion, I can let you know that it’s doable to go the DIY route. Particularly should you’re somebody who can deal with the analysis and managing massive knowledge units. 

In all probability the largest problem after we began our company was simply constructing an precise listing of all of the stations and their bodily addresses.

WARNING: There are a bunch of issues which might be marketed as “school radio contact lists” you should buy on-line. However none of them are very usable, they usually’re all old-fashioned and incomplete. One of the simplest ways to construct your school radio contact listing is to put within the hours researching station contacts and constructing your personal listing. 

Doing send-outs isn’t all that labor-intensive, however following up each week for months is! Likewise, staying on prime of who’s performed your music may be troublesome and time-consuming. So that you’re going to want air-tight methods to maintain monitor of all of it.

I feel that there’s a false impression that promoters are folks that constructed relationships with shops by schmoozing and being in-the-know. however in my virtually 20 years of releasing and selling music, I’ve discovered that the very best promoters are simply well mannered, organized individuals who make life simple for the DJs and writers they undergo.

In the event you determine you’re not outfitted to deal with your personal promotion, you may search to rent a good school radio promoter. You will get a nationwide radio marketing campaign completed for just a few thousand {dollars}. Some businesses cost far more, some cost much less.

Along with price range, you’ll additionally need to contemplate:
  • Does the company or promoter have as a report of success, knowledgeable web site, and consumer testimonials?
  • Is their present roster of shoppers selective sufficient that they’ll have the ability to correctly promote YOUR music?
  • Are they communicative and clear?
  • Do they set real looking expectations? Do they define their expectations of you, the artist?

In that case, it is likely to be price reaching out to them.

After which bear in mind, simply since you’re prepared to pay a promoter doesn’t imply the promoter will say sure. Their repute is constructed on repping music they consider in.

Measuring success

Whether or not a marketing campaign was profitable or not is dependent upon who you ask. Getting an album to chart within the NACC’s prime 200 is a superb and infrequently achievable purpose for a nationwide school radio marketing campaign.

However, as you already know, my focus in figuring out the success of an album has extra to do with what number of new followers you’re truly partaking with, promoting data to, and including to your e mail listing. Plus, how nicely you’re ready to make use of the methods mentioned above in “How To Get The Most Out Of Airplay”.

In Conclusion

School radio is a tremendous, and admittedly under-leveraged useful resource artists can use to create sturdy communities round their music.

Thanks a lot for studying, and please be at liberty to succeed in out immediately with any technical or extra particular questions. As you may most likely inform, I really like speaking about these things.

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