Radio Promo Insights

Radio play for an artist is an important medium to utilize in order to gain recognition, either nationally or locally. There are different types of radio formats, and they all can be useful in different ways.Commercial radio has been known as the dominant format in terms of popularity. Their format relies on garnering the biggest demographic in their area possible in order to be properly funded by advertisements and commercials during the programs. In order to gain popularity in their area, they exclusively play the most popular songs that fits in with their station’s specific genre of music. Following the payola scandal in the 1950’s, music is now programmed and scheduled by a central music director, which obtains permissions for all of the music that they play. DJ’s and On-Air Personalities have little control of what music is played, and have seen a reduced role in radio, which is now to label songs and various talk shows. Some radio stations have adapted late night programs that feature local artists in order to target the local music scene demographic. While this is true, commercial radio stations typically focus on playing the music that will gain them the biggest audience, thus music that is already popular.

Public radio is also another format. The main difference between commercial radio and public radio is that the government and donations fund public radio, while sponsors and advertisements provide sponsorship for commercial radio. This allows public radio to not only to program different content, but also not air commercials. Just about every major city in the United States has a public radio station, and they are known to better promote their city’s local music scene. This proves to be an easier way for local artists to get airplay, though typically through a smaller audience base. The great thing about local public radio stations is that they tend to throw a lot of quality events in their city, and are always seeking good talent to showcase.

Satellite radio is a more recent format, being just over 10 years old. This subscription-based format eliminates all commercials, and offers a variety of stations to the user based on genre, style or topic. Satellite radio offers many more options than traditional radio, and is able to play more content throughout the day. The great thing about satellite radio is that their content is not government regulated, as commercial radio’s is.  With this, you receive a much bigger variety of content. In terms of gaining recognition through satellite radio, it is usually up to the DJ or station director to choose the music, and doesn’t take submissions. There might be a few smaller stations that do, but for the most part their doors are closed.

Currently, the quickest growing radio market is Internet radio. Officially, it started back in the mid 90’s when a few local stations started streaming online, but started to become prominent in the recent decade with many Internet based radio stations starting. Their format of radio is slightly different than the others, as it is almost acts as a melting pot for other formats. Users can pick a genre or artist to base their radio station off of, and they will continue to hear new music based on their selection. They can also choose between having a subscription to the radio, and hearing commercials every so often to offset the cost of providing free music to listeners. Obviously, there is no official DJ running each station, so the programming is mostly based around the users choices. The biggest benefit for being an artist featured on this is the fact that it can be accessed nation wide, and the demographic possibilities for this is almost endless.


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