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The Importance of Radio Airplay

Updated: Aug 24, 2019


I just wanted to put some thoughts down that I hope could help UK artists focus on how to get airplay but also how they can help the shows that play them too.

"The link between artists and their friendly independent radio hosts is a hugely important area for both sides to consider, when it comes to exposure for new music. I thought I would write down a few pointers, as I think there some fairly simple things that can be improved on, which would mean artists have their music heard and broadcasters have their shows listened to!

Bullet points [ explained in more detail below ]

* Independent radio shows offer a wide ranging opportunity for airplay and promotion

* Make sure you know the all encompassing email address:

* Tag all digital links with at least the song title and artist name

* Remember those shows that play your music regularly and ensure they get your new music early

* Exclusive and first play tracks are always appreciated by shows, so use them for targeted promotion

* Cross promote - share social media links from shows that play your music, let your fans know too

* Voice tags - any easy way to get your name onto a show even when your songs are not on the playlist

* Get to know the shows and what style of Country music they have on their playlists.

1] Independent radio stations and shows are growing almost weekly, new shows popping up regularly, many of which are being syndicated on stations around the world. Artists should not underestimate the value of having their music heard across all these shows, as opposed to looking towards one or two places which may appear 'bigger' on the face of it. There is not a definitive list of every show across the UK but it would easily be more than fifty independent shows for sure. That is a lot of airplay opportunities!

2] Bookmark the new contact email address, set up by members of the This Is Country Music Radio UK Facebook group [ ]. It is simply: - the account is monitored daily and submissions are distributed carefully among independent broadcasters from there. All DJ's are encouraged to let artists know as and when their music is being played on their shows. The email was set up so artists could now remember just one email address, instead of having to keep long lists of show details.

3] Artists should always try and make sure any digital links sent out, have their songs fully tagged. This means, when the broadcaster opens the file to add to their systems, it doesn't just state the song title but also the artist name at least! It may seem a small detail but if you consider how many songs a DJ can come across each week, it adds time if they then need to manually type in all the details for every song. Many broadcasters now have a private rule that they won't play any songs that don't come through properly tagged, so I would encourage artists to double check this very important detail before sending their music out.

4] With the new radio airplay email, that will hopefully help to get your new music out easily. However, I would encourage artists to remember those broadcasters that have always helped them and played their music, plugged their gigs, shared their links etc. When you have something new coming up, make sure these people get the links as early as possible. It really does mean a lot to your friendly DJ, who will then also go the extra mile to do their best to promote the new releases. Maybe also use the ones closest to you for exclusive and first play tracks. Most DJ's would love these opportunities and between you, make it a proper occasion for your fans to tune in, to hear your brand new song first.

5] Most broadcasters are good at plugging their shows on social media, Facebook especially. They will tag artists into their posts to let them you know when they are playing your music. We all know Facebook can be poor at notifying people some of the time but if you spot the tag, just 'liking' the post is just the start. Sharing the post on your own Facebook page is hugely appreciated and can be the best way to let your fans know which show has played you. This is a crucial partnership to push, every show would love more people to listen of course. So pretty please, share posts from the shows every single time! If we all work together, more people hear the artists and more people hear the shows.

6] Voice tags - most shows would be happy to receive a simple voice tag from an artist to use on air. This can be done very easily - all we need is the usual....'This is [name] and you are listening to [DJ name] on [show name]'. Add your website link in too if you like or some backing music but really, you can do this via your phone recording app and email straight over. You then get a mention across many editions of several shows, even if your music isn't being played that week. Make some time to record some of these for your favourite shows!

7] Get to know the shows and what kind of music they feature. Some play Country across the board, from the mainstream sound to the traditional. Others concentrate on the more authentic sound only, or more specific styles such as Americana.

The summary is quite simple really - independent radio shows are ready, willing and able to promote the music from all UK artists. All hosts really do appreciate being sent your music and do like to help where they can! So take some time to build relationships, to make sure new music is sent out nice and early [ ahead of release date ] and ultimately, lets all work together so all sides benefit!"

Dave Watkins

The Country Mile

Playing new release authentic Country / Honky Tonk / Outlaw / Bluegrass / Ameripolitan

+ The Doghouse Bluegrass Show

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