Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

July 10, 2006

College Radio Airplay Tips

Subscriber David Anderson just made me aware of a great discussion thread at A number of program directors and show hosts offered their best tips on getting college radio spins for an independent artist. As you'd expect, a common theme was this:

"I worked at a college radio station as a program manager. The amount of material the station got each week was staggering. I'd say up to 90% of the CDs we received never made it on air."

But it's not all doom and gloom. Here are my favorite radio airplay tip highlights:

  • "These days, most DJs can be contacted by e-mail. I've occasionally received e-mails from bands offering their music. I always listen to stuff that people send directly to me, and I've definitely ended up playing some of it."

  • "Simply calling up and asking DJs to play the CD will work pretty good, if you can put in the hours necessary to call lots of stations."

  • "A station member sorts the stuff into genres, and it's put into a new music section. DJs look through the new music selection and play whatever strikes them as cool." (Lesson: Make sure your style of music is crystal clear to whomever opens your package.)

  • "Putting a big sticker on the front cover that says "SOUNDS LIKE:" helps. Compare yourself to heavily played college radio music."

  • "List the tracks you think are the best and describe them in basic terms (poppy folk, folky slowcore, whatever)."

  • "Don't use the words 'lush' or 'soundscape' anywhere on your promo material."

  • "[Point out] your best track. No music director has the time to skip through six tracks -- they're probably doing it between classes, or while they're eating lunch."

Good stuff. Read the entire discussion at


P.S. For more indie radio airplay tips, check out the Fundamentals of DIY Radio Promotion.

posted by Bob Baker @ 10:00 AM   1 comments


At Jul 9, 2007 12:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very helpful stuff. Unfortunately all the artists I would compare myself too aren't too mainstream.....:(


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