Finding Media Contacts
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 continue this week by learning where to find media contacts.
Once you’ve decided what types of radio stations you want to target for your band radio campaign, what locations you want to target, and how many radio stations you can afford to target, you should have a pretty good idea of the specific stations that would potentially have the biggest benefit for your band. But now that you know what stations you’d like to send your CD to, how do you get their contact information. Here are a few free resources that you can use:
Burrelles is one of the best-known media companies in the PR world. Their media contacts database will include everything you could possibly want to know about the radio stations you plan to target. While this resource can be very expensive, they do offer a free trial of Media Contacts, which should help to get you started. Then, if you find that Burrelles worked really well for you, and you intend to continue with any kind of media relations efforts, you might want to consider a subscription. You’ll not only find commercial and non-commercial radio stations, but also newspapers, magazines, and TV stations.
This free resource was formerly the MIT List of Radio Stations on the Internet. You can search for stations by city, state, ZIP code, station call letters, station format, Canadian province, genres for Internet streaming stations, and even world radio. Or, use the advanced search feature for even more options.
This site offers college radio station listings. While a few of the states’ pages produced errors on last check, overall, this is a nice listing of college stations by state. You won’t find a lot of information, other than an address, but the good thing is that you can be linked directly to a station’s web site, if they have one, so you can verify any contact information yourself, and find out press kit submission guidelines. Right now, there are searchable college radio stations listed for the US and Canada, but European and Web radio stations may be listed in the future.
There are countless other radio station directories available on the Internet. These three resources should be great for getting you off to a good start though. But remember, having the mailing address for a radio station isn’t enough. If you want your press kit to get into the right hands, you’ll need to do a little bit of legwork to find out the following information:
The name of the station’s Music Director
The station’s phone number
The station’s policies and requirements for sending press kits
The MD’s (or other contact person’s) e-mail address, if possible.
The station’s web site
The more targeted your press kit is to appropriate stations and appropriate people, the more likely it is that your CD will end up in the hands of someone authorized to make a spin or scrap decision, and not just into the hands of an assistant or intern. And don’t think that one press kit fits all. It doesn’t. Make sure your press kit is adaptable to any requirements or suggestions of each station, and you’ll start pulling on their heart-strings the moment they see that you actually cared enough to take their “rules” seriously.