5 Things You Need to Know About Submitting Music to Program Directors in Commercial Radio Stations

If you are like many up-and-coming independent musicians, artists, groups, or record labels, you are thinking that if you can “just get your music in front of a DJ they will want to play it on the radio.” Sure, you may find a DJ that is willing to give your music a spin or two on a local radio show, but this is not the same as regular rotation “adds” and it does not lead to rotation from other radio stations around the world. DJs do not have the power to “add” a song into a radio stations regular rotation playlist. In fact, at many radio stations across the country, a DJ can and will be removed from the air for playing a single song that was not approved and placed into regular rotation by the radio station’s Program Director.

Program Directors control a radio station’s regular rotation playlist. In some larger markets a Program Director will have an assistant that carries the title of Music Director, but even in these radio stations the Program Director has the final say of what songs get added to the radio station’s playlist. This is not to say that building relationships with local DJs is not a good thing. It is. Relationships with DJs can be developed to help persuade a radio station’s Program Director to give your song a listen and possible “add” to the stations playlist. However, the best way to get your music added to a radio station’s regular rotation playlist is to understand the basic principles of how to submit your songs to Program Directors.

The following 5 facts about submitting your music to Program Directors will help you understand how and why songs are added to regular rotation playlists at radio stations, how to make your music stand out and get listened to by Program Directors, what it takes to get “adds” in regular rotation, and how to ensure your music stays in regular rotation for the life of the single.

1. Commercial radio Stations are not in the business of playing music.

The biggest misconception surrounding a commercial radio station is that playing music is the highest priority, or business model, in which it operates under. Commercial radio stations are not, have never been, and will continue to never be in the business of playing music. Radio stations are in the business of selling time to advertisers to place thirty or sixty second commercials so listeners will buy products or services. Radio stations attract listeners by playing music. Program Directors are hired to select and add songs to the station’s regular rotation playlist that will attract the most listeners in order for the station to charge a higher price to it’s advertisers to buy time. Radio

An unknown, up-and-coming, artist or group does not attract a large listener base to a radio station. This means advertisers are getting less “bang for their buck” when their commercials air next to your song as apposed to their commercials airing next to a top twenty artist that has mass listener appeal. Therefore, you must create a large local following before contacting Program Directors trying to get a song “added” to a radio station’s regular rotation playlist.

2. Program Directors get hundreds of songs per week to choose from.

Once you or your group become “local favorites,” you have to understand that you are still competing against the entire world. Program Directors receive hundreds of CDs each week for review and possible consideration for regular rotation playlist “adds.” When Program Directors listen to new music and start to decide what songs will be “added” to the radio station’s playlist they will consider several factors including; staying power – does this artist or group have the ability to release another single listeners will want to hear, marketability – does this artist or group have the ability to continue it’s marketing reach and gain new fans that may have never heard of them before, and mass audience appeal – Does this group simply have a lot of fans because they have a great live show or do they possess the ability to grab mass listener appeal on the song alone. Your job as an unknown, up-and-coming, artist or group is to stand out among the hundreds of other songs a Program Director must choose from weekly. This is accomplished before sending your CD to the radio station. You must answer these questions in your other marketing efforts so that when a Program Director researches you or your group he/she is not left with any questions about your ability to appeal to the radio station’s listener base.


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