Tag Archives: how-to

Learn How To Get Radio Airplay The Right Way

In the video there’s a bit of role-playing through examples to illustrate the method explained here in this blog.


Many artists reach out to me on how to get radio airplay. It’s a big subject that confuses DIY musicians because music submission to radio is so common, but getting accepted isn’t. I’ve set out to remedy this for musicians who are serious about growing their audience using one of the best methods: radio airplay on specific media platforms.


Over the past few months I’ve talked about Super-Fans, Audience Growth, and the particulars of what works for Successful Indie Artists.

Radio airplay is one of the methods of exploding your fan base, as well as your music income.

Start with how to NOT get radio airplay

Radio airplay and promotion continues to be a beneficial means of growing your music as an indie or unsigned artist. However, there is a way to get airplay that is more beneficial to you than how 99% of artists do it.

  • Submitting your songs to every station who accepts and plays indie music is not the way.
  • Sending DM messages to radio shows or stations on Twitter is not the way.
  • Emailing stations your mp3 song is not the way.

How to get radio airplay that actually works

One of the best ways to learn how to get radio airplay is by seeing examples that work.  Just like everyone else, I’ve made some big mistakes in reaching out to radio stations to get my platform picked up. The key though is recognizing what works and what doesn’t, and making a pivot on the stuff that isn’t producing the results you want.

Most of us are used to seeing blanket emails that were obviously sent to a ton of people, with no specific individual in mind to receive it. Think about group messages on Facebook or group texts. Even if the person reaching out is a good friend, those are kind of annoying, aren’t they? Treat the person you want to contact the way you want to be treated. Send them an individual note. Before that, have an experience with their station that you can talk about when you email or contact them. By doing this, you show that you’re a genuine person who wants to build community and add value to the station or radio program with your music.

This is the method that I used to get my indie radio show heard around the country and across the world. I first did all the wrong things to grow my radio show. I sent the blanket emails, to both people that I know and those I didn’t. I got the same response from both endeavors: silence. Those tactics didn’t work for me and rarely work for others. There’s a reason why so many artists feel scammed when they pay for radio promoters to pitch their music to stations that get zero airplay from the endeavor.

The real secret to getting radio airplay is a mindset change. Shift from music marketing to community building.”Or as Ghandi said, “Be the difference you want to see in the world.” It’s the Golden Rule. It’s what makes the connections that we all have to build (the real ones, not the mouse clicks that pretend to be connections). Treat those you want to feature you like you want to be treated. It’s the pivot we have to make to see real growth happen.

When I made the pivot, and changed my approach, I found that it actually works. The details and step-by-step process of what to do, how to do it, and why is chronicled in my book book The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. The Handbook can also be used in your endeavors to grow your audience online via social media and with gigging, as well as reaching out to other music and media mavens for networking.


How To Submit Music To Radio That Gains Airplay

Radio Submissions That Get Airplay And Grow Your Fan Base

Music Submissions. They’re available everywhere but getting a station or program to play your music isn’t a walk in the park. Here’s how to know what to submit, what to leave out, and how to make your submission the most effective it can be.

Brody-CDDayAs you can see, we received a nice group of CDs in the mail for music submissions to The Appetizer Radio Show.

I brought this group home so I could get an early listen before I hand some of them off to my writing team for potential review.

My cat Brody was so into the new discs, he decided to show one set a little love like only a cat can.

With such an interesting collection of submissions, there were a few standouts I can detect just from the way the mailer was done, before I’ve even cracked the disc open and popped it into my player.

Also, there was at least one artist who sent something in that doesn’t reflect well for them (him, her, or group) in terms of getting any airplay or review feature. Because of these impressions, I want to share with you some very poignant lessons on what you absolutely must do when you send out CDs for submissions, and also what you should completely avoid.

Following both of these lists, I have some more ways you can benefit from CD mailers and radio airplay.

First thing to remember is that your music submission is a reflection of you as an artist and as a person. Make sure you represent yourself well.

How To Know What To Send For Radio Submission

Here’s one of the biggest pieces of advice I could ever give you: ask what to send before you send it to radio stations, music blogs, or other submission media.

Actually I’ll take it a step further. If you contact a radio station or program and ask just two questions instead of talking about how great your band is, you’re going to get a lot further a lot faster than 99% of unsigned and DIY artists.

What are those two questions?

The first question to ask is: Do you prefer submissions via email, link to music site, or hard copy discs?

The second question is: What would you like me to include in the submission (press kit, one-sheet, other)?

Here’s why these two questions are so important: You’re showing a station or music platform that you care about their preferences for submissions.

This alone can endear you to a decision-maker because you’re asking “How can I give you something exactly the way you want to receive it?” The response from this kind of messaging is usually much better than the music submission emails those of us in the radio/music industry get.

What Should You Include In Your CD Submissions

When you hear back from a station or music program that they want you to mail them a CD, there are a few other things to include in that mailing.

As I mentioned earlier, you need to include at least a 1-sheet for your band. The document should include some information about you, who you sound like, what people are saying about you (a mix of reviews and comments from fans works well), and contact information. If anything, provide a way for the radio platform to contact you.

You can also include a note to the station or to the radio contact who made the email response to you, that can be helpful in putting your name back on the radar with that individual, which can serve to endear you to them even more.

Make sure that your CD is in a protective case and that you have it professionally pressed. Sorry guys, when we (collectively speaking for the radio industry as well as for my radio platform) receive a CD that has a band name written in Sharpee on it, we’re not impressed. Actually that little element alone could keep your music from even getting auditioned. Here’s why:

Everything you do is a reflection of your art and your craft. This includes the CD mailing you make. Even if you’ve exchanged a few email or social media messages with a radio platform, you still need to present yourself in the most professional way you can. If you haven’t done a professionally mixed and pressed CD set, radio airplay might not be the thing for you to do yet.

If you’re not selling hard copy discs at your shows or marketing a hard copy pressing of your music in some capacity, radio airplay won’t serve the best outcomes for your music. Yes, you may get a few spins here and there on a few stations.

However, the end result you want from radio airplay is increased fan/audience growth and music purchases.

What Not To Do With A CD Mailer For Submission

If you want to get your music considered for radio airplay, don’t just mail in the CD disc only, with no protective case. It would be one thing if the CD had a printing on it so that anyone could tell who the disc was from.

That might help a little, but not much. When you only mail a disc with no case, you’re telling the music/radio platform that you are just going through the motions because you have to, and that you really don’t care about your own product. Make sure the discs are protected from scratches, cracks or potentially breaking (we all have had bad experiences with bubble-wrapped envelopes not doing their job).

Get Airplay, Audience Growth, Music Industry Networking & More

Radio airplay is an essential piece to growing your audience, selling more music and playing better concerts and venues.

Radio airplay is essential even in the age of streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.

Email submissions of music often fail to get read, songs heard and get responded to. You can discover how to stand apart from every other artist and music promotion company by submitting music the right way.

You can know the first steps you need to take to get yourself ready for radio airplay. You’ll also be able to walk through the right process of getting radio airplay.

As you can see, not all artists are getting airplay, or getting the featured articles and blog posts written about their work that they seek (and that they need for growth). There is the way that 99% of artists do things and there is the way that 1% of artists do things. Which one do you think is the most successful?

Do you know what the 1% of successful musicians do that works. Since this is such a mystery to so many DIY musicians, I created an online course that shows you exactly what steps to take to make airplay, reviews, interviews and media features a reality for you.

Become one of the 1% of artists to get radio and media feature. Nowhere else will you get this kind of information, training, promotion system and strategy.

Jump into the Indie Radio Promotion Course now!




The Art Of Finding What You’re Looking For

abstract-summer-background_MkgLu3u_Remember the U2 song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For?

Sorry Bono, we’re all in your boat too.

I spent my youth and young adulthood looking for something. I (sort of) knew what it was, yet it remained a mystery at the same time. At various intervals I thought I’d finally found it and could relax. The hunt was over, finally. A short time later, however, it became clear that only a piece of what I was looking for had been found, and not the whole thing. So the hunt began again.

Do you think I’m talking about love? In a way I am, but not the romantic kind (that’s a whole OTHER story for a later time).

I was searching for fulfillment, or purpose. It’s what we’re all on a quest for, partially one reason why we’re artists, creative people and/or individuals who get get categorized as entrepreneurs because we venture into unknowns often without a clear map of what’s in front of us.

Sound familiar?

There was a time I thought I’d found fulfillment by way of occupation. I wanted to be on the radio and had achieved that by the age of 16, working as a DJ at a station in Alvin, Tx (89.7 KACC) while in high school. A decade later I was running a public radio station (KACU in Abilene) and had created a music program (The Appetizer Radio Show) that would eventually be picked up on other radio stations across the country (through syndication). I got a piece of fulfillment in each of these capacities, a degree of purpose, but not the whole thing I was searching for.

Changing jobs and industries at the age of 31 after 15 years in the same industry altered the purpose card quite a bit. Suddenly I was in a new world with many new things to learn. I had transitioned into the realm of infinity, aka online marketing. I still do a little work in this industry, but have since transitioned yet again.

I say all of this for a little context. I’m a pretty consistent person who is big on commitments and not jumping from one thing to the next every so often. After graduation from college in 2004, I held a job with the same organization for nearly a decade. I’m good at sticking with a job. However, after switching to marketing in 2013, I quickly learned that your career path and your purpose in life are a rough marriage. They’re linked, yes indeed. But they aren’t always the same thing.

I’ve since shifted the job stuff again, now more in the self-employed sector of the job market. It’s some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. But that’s not the point. The point is, in each shift, I found a different piece of the fulfillment I was searching for, and made an interesting discovery in the process:

The art of finding what you’re looking for is an evolutionary process that begins at birth and ends at death.

The idea that you reach a destination in your lifetime where you are completely fulfilled with nothing else to aspire to is missing the mark. The pursuit itself is the purpose.

Goal setting is a piece of my life, as it is yours. There are certain things I’ve set out to achieve early in life  that I’m still chasing after. Since I’m still pursuing them, and “success” as I envision it hasn’t happened yet in a gigantic capacity, means there are some more pieces I’ve yet to acquire. So the hunt continues.

At different stages of this journey, I’ve had to learn some powerful lessons, and seek help from people with experience in things I know not of. These stages are necessary in reaching the next fulfillment milestone.

One thing I used to wish was available for me to gain assistance was a How-To guide for radio program creation and development. I spent a few years scouring every online and brick/mortar book store for a book or blog on how to take an existing program and get it carried on stations across the country. When I was looking for this, it didn’t exist. Today, there are millions of artists and entrepreneurs just like you, trying to find the same answers. How do you get your work accepted by other people, people you don’t know, so that you can grow your platform?

I learned from trial and error, risk and reward, mistakes and successes what worked and what didn’t to get The Appetizer Radio Show syndicated. I used my time, energy, and limited financial resources along with networking and relationship building to make it happen. I wanted someone to show me how and instead I found my own path.

Now I know the reason for this: part of my fulfillment in life is teaching others how to do things. There was no teacher for me in this way so I was given a way to learn something that I could later teach others. Now I can teach you how to do exactly what I did. All it takes is a commitment to process, a mind willing to learn, and just a little money.

Want to learn the art of finding what you’re looking for? Reach me directly below and let’s talk about how you can find your next piece of fulfillment with your project.

Quality Issue With Radio And Music

Radio Mic Old FashionedToday I’m going to give you Keys To The Having Remarkable Sound.

Radio wants good sound. I’m going to reiterate that a bit here but dive deeper into the elements of that sound beyond just the production. But production is where we start.

Sound quality is the number 1 requirement for station managers and program directors in both realms of radio (the commercial side as well as the public/community/web radio avenues).

When big time mainstream artists release “demo” tracks, notice the amount of production work that has been done to the quality so that it’s “radio friendly.” There are exceptions to this rule, and some stations don’t hold to the sound quality requirement due to their broadcast signal, but for the most part quality is king here.

It’s audio only, therefore the sound quality having the top criteria makes sense.Where this applies to you is everything you post on your website, social platforms, and music outlets is a reflection of your brand.

Radio has a QUALITY rule, and you should too.

Put music out to your fans that is of high quality, preferably that has been worked through some form of studio recording and given a little tweaking on the EQ for the best quality.

Remember, some of these recordings and songs could be the first impression you make with a potential fan. You want that first impression to be positive, so give them a reason to come back. Plus, you want the music you link to or include with your Press Kit to be the best reflection of your band/brand that it can be.

Can you still release a demo version of a song or maybe even a video of a new tune you’re working on to your fans? Yes, of course.

There are exceptions to nearly every rule out there, and there are times when a short demo recording could be released to get a feel for what your Super-Fans think. But be careful with how you do that, and don’t make releasing unfinished songs as demos a part of your music release strategy for everything you do.

What if you’re cash-strapped, how can you get a high quality recording of your music made to post to your Soundcloud page? Wouldn’t it be better to release something so you have a representation of your sound?

Good question. This is the reason (excuse) many artists make for putting lesser-quality music on their site or sending to stations. It’s a bad idea.

[Gut Check]  The reason for that has a lot more to do with what stage of the music process you’re on. This may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. From the perspective of a decision-maker for programming, you need to have experience doing this for a little while to be taken seriously, especially when it comes to releasing music for distribution.

If you’re using Reverbnation or Facebook page to get more fans, you can do that and still have a good quality recording. There are ways to get a strong quality recording of your music without having to spend thousands of dollars in a big studio. If you need help doing this, just ask me. The key point though is that you should make quality of recording a big priority for your music.

Quality is a branding avenue in music

As you prepare to post your brand to the world, make sure you are putting representations of yourself that truly reflect the high quality of art that you create. You don’t have to promote every single one of your songs, or promote each new one.
Make sure the music you are publishing for people to see is your best work, and make sure you’re playing these songs at shows. Don’t promote music to radio that you aren’t playing live in your gigs. That won’t serve your best efforts.