Choosing Your Stations
In this series of articles, I’m going to walk you through the basic procedure for planning your own radio campaign. We’ll cover topics such as choosing your target radio stations, creating a radio-friendly press kit, how to find media contacts, how to write a press kit cover letter for your radio campaign, how to handle follow-up calls, and more! Let’s start with choosing the target radio stations for your campaign.
Before you can jump into a radio campaign, you need to know who you should be targeting. The specifics of your campaign will rely heavily on the choices you make now, so consider the following questions carefully to decide what radio stations would work the best in your particular case:
Commercial or College Radio?
While these aren’t your only two options (you can target other non-commercial stations, such as your local NPR station, internet radio or satellite radio stations), they are the two most common for indie bands and other artists. The two main things you need to consider in this choice are exposure and accessibility. Commercial stations tend to give you greater exposure, but they’re often much more difficult to infiltrate. College stations are much easier to reach, more likely to give you a shot, but they reach a much smaller audience in general. You’ll also need to consider the timing of your campaign when you make this decision. Keep in mind that college stations are often off-air during summer breaks, and other holiday vacation periods.
What Locations Should you Target?
You have several options for locations. If you’re in a large metropolitan area, you may have several local stations that would make for a great start. If you only have one or two stations in your area, you may want to go with more of a regional target base. For instance, if you’re located in New Jersey, you may want to expand your target group to include New York City and Philadelphia radio stations. You always have the option of running a national radio campaign, or even an international one – depending on your genre, and of course your finances.
How Many Radio Stations can you Afford to Target?
A successful radio campaign can be extremely time-consuming and is often expensive. You need to keep costs in mind. If you don’t have a band member available during regular business hours to make follow-up calls, you may decide to hire someone else to handle that or your mailings. Can you afford to? You also need to have a professional-looking press kit. How many can you afford to have created? Do you need to pay for more demos, or do you have enough on-hand? Have your finished press kit weighed to get an idea of the shipping cost for each kit? Now considering the costs, decide how many radio stations you can afford to target.
Do the Stations you Want Have Specialty Shows Related to Independent Music or Your Specific Genre?
This is especially important if you chose to target commercial radio. Many stations have local radio shows, so it’s worth looking into that if you’re a local artist. College stations also have similar situations, usually breaking up their programming by genre during the days. Make sure there’s a DJ covering your particular style.
Making the Final List.
Once you’ve answered all of the questions above, you should have a good idea of how many radio stations you’ll be targeting, what type of stations, the locations you’ll want to target, and any specific shows that might be relevant to you. Now, look for specific stations that fit every one of your answers above, and create your master radio campaign target list. You’ve just finished the first step to a successful radio campaign!