Of all the music platforms available today – music channels on cable, downloads from websites, CDs – getting your music played on the radio is still arguably the best way to gain fans and get your songs known. But digital technology has changed radio. In addition to AM and FM there are now digital radio stations. While the ultimate goal is to get your music played on Top 40 stations, there are other ways to get your music played on the radio.
Every city has local radio stations. You can easily locate them by doing an online search. First, check out the stations’ format to see which ones fit your style of music. For example, if you’re a jazz pianist, a hip-hop station would clearly not be one to pursue.
After you identify the stations that would be a good fit for your music, find out the name of the program director. Call and ask for an appointment to drop off your demo package. Meeting face to face is usually preferable but if they are unavailable then mail the demo package in with a cover letter. If you don’t hear back after a week, place a follow up call. Be persistence but always be polite. You can also send the demo directly to a DJ.
As a general rule of thumb, drive time shows tend to be more open to trying new material, especially in the morning.
Nearly all colleges and universities have their own radio stations. And they are inherently more open to new acts. Again, call to see if you can get an appointment with the program director. Whether face to face or in a letter, explain why your music is a good fit for their listeners. If you play locally, let them know. If you have any reviews, send copies.
There are also many online radio stations. These tend to be very niche so make sure to select only the ones that are the best fit for your music. While it may be easier to get your music played via online radio, the overall audience is smaller than traditional commercial radio.