Getting your music on college radio is a great starting point for independent musicians. It’s more accessible than normal radio stations, but still provides the added awareness and reach. Check out this interview with EricTheReDD, the former general manager of WJSC-FM (Johnson State College, Vermont).
When you open up a mailer, what are you looking for? Anything that bothers you that isn’t included frequently enough? Anything included too frequently?
First and foremost; I need an album. Some people only send maxi-singles (lead-off song with one or two extra tracks) and those always bummed us out; especially since we usually end up receiving the full album anyway and it just wastes space. A close second is the PK. I can’t count the number of times I’d receive a mailer with no PK. EPIC records was notorious for this (along with wastefully large mailer packaging). If you don’t include a PK I don’t know who the fuck you are and I don’t know why the fuck I should care. Sorry, but if you’re not going to go through the trouble of including a little bit of info about yourself then I’m not going to give a shit about whatever happens to be on that disc. I don’t have the time to go online and try to look that info up myself. It’s just not going to happen.
One thing I loved, on the other hand, was labels that sent us more than one copy of the album. ROADRUNNER, one of my absolute favorites to work with (for a multitude of reasons) would frequently send at least two copies of all their releases; one for the music vault and another to use as a give-a-way.
Is it possible to include too much in a mailer?
Yes and no… It’s too much when your PK is more than a page long. It’s too much to read and the extra paper is just going to clutter up my office and get tossed. You can also go a little overboard with extras (guitar pics, bracelets, band photo, etc) but stuff we can use for give-a-ways like that is rarely held against you. It’s just more stuff we have to keep track of. A couple things are nice but two dozen guitar pics are just going to make a mess.
Who should the package be addressed to? There are often program directors, music directors, and general managers at radio stations. Who is the best person to get a hold of for a shot at being played on air?
If it’s a local station or you know the specific DJs that may like your stuff, address it to them! Otherwise, there are almost always genre-specific sub-directors. Like I mentioned, while I was also Music Director I was also the genre-specific Hard Rock / Metal / Punk director. Anything that fit in there would go to me. Addressing it to the MUSIC DIRECTOR is perfectly valid as well; the MD will open the package and assign it to the proper genre director. The PROGRAM DIRECTOR is typically in charge of the schedule and, when applicable, the automation system that runs when DJs aren’t on the air. PD is a tedious and mind-numbing job so don’t send it to them. Their material comes from the charts, which are determined by what the DJs are playing locally, nationally, and globally.
CHECK OUT CMJ (COLLEGE MUSIC JOURNAL) for more info about the specific genres. It’s a great resource for getting to know how college radio works. The subscriptions are expensive but it’s a veritable who’s who in the land outside of mainstream media.
To learn more about how to get your music on college radio, check out the full interview on Hypebot.
Have you ever gotten your music on college radio? Share your experience in the comment section below.