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Old 07-17-2004, 12:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: Deep South
Ask The Radio Guy

Since there are several "Ask The Professional" I figured if anyone cared to have a Q&A with a professional radio jock and music director for a Radio Station in the southeast I would be honored to answer any questions you may have about Music, Programming, etc...
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Old 07-17-2004, 02:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I did about seven years of public radio here in Oz, and basically had free rein to play what I liked, bearing in mind a proportional amount of Australian music. So (and assuming you work in a station that has commercial revenue) how much control do the announcers have over what gets played?
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Old 07-17-2004, 08:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ella
I did about seven years of public radio here in Oz, and basically had free rein to play what I liked, bearing in mind a proportional amount of Australian music. So (and assuming you work in a station that has commercial revenue) how much control do the announcers have over what gets played?
Almost in every commerical situation you'll find that the announcers have no control over what they play. It is the music directors job to pick music and schedule music for any given day. Most of these music decisions are based on market research, call-outs, and soundscan....
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Old 07-17-2004, 06:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, I thought as much, although I had the impression announcers could pick a couple of their own tunes to spin. And I guess therein lies the reason why I could never work for a commercial station....plus the reason I hate those freakin' ads!

But those radio years of mine were seriously the most fun I could have had sitting up (not to mention all the free stuff!)
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Old 07-17-2004, 06:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Is payola still a serious problem?
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Old 07-17-2004, 06:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok, I'll probably have a few questions, since this is a field I'm contemplating entering.

I'll start with this: I'm thinking about going down to the station at my college and getting on air there, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I had a little on-air experiance at my other school, but that was in engineering and in sportscasting. Basically I'm asking:

1) How should I go about asking for airtime?

2) How do I go about finding music to play (it's a public station, and I don't know how it works with music there).

If you can't answer very well, it's ok. Just help me with whatever you can. Trust me, I'll take whatever you got
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Old 07-17-2004, 08:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by goddfather40
Is payola still a serious problem?
The answer to your question is yes, but they (record companies) have loopholes. they offer your stations flyaways, concert tix, interviews, etc in exchange for spins, i've often heard this line from corporate "It helps the bottom line"

Quote:
Originally posted by djtestudo


1) How should I go about asking for airtime?

2) How do I go about finding music to play (it's a public station, and I don't know how it works with music there).

To answer question #1 - If you have the opportunity to make a demo tape of yourself, I encourage you to do so...bug the piss out of the stations program director, let him know what your desires are, you might have to start out as an intern, which is how most people get into this biz...

Question 2 is bit more difficult to answer, because public radio ie: college or high school stations vary from situation to situation, some actually have program directors who may have been in the biz for a while, some are libreal, some are conservative, you might have the opportunity to play whatever the hell you want (within reason, FCC regs) or you might have to follow a playlist...I suggest you contact the station find out what there format is like and try to see if you can get into it......
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Last edited by thebeat; 07-17-2004 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 07-17-2004, 11:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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And be prepared to start on the graveyard shift. I did 6 months of 2am-6am before I was given a better time slot.
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Old 07-18-2004, 07:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by thebeat
To answer question #1 - If you have the opportunity to make a demo tape of yourself, I encourage you to do so...bug the piss out of the stations program director, let him know what your desires are, you might have to start out as an intern, which is how most people get into this biz...

Question 2 is bit more difficult to answer, because public radio ie: college or high school stations vary from situation to situation, some actually have program directors who may have been in the biz for a while, some are libreal, some are conservative, you might have the opportunity to play whatever the hell you want (within reason, FCC regs) or you might have to follow a playlist...I suggest you contact the station find out what there format is like and try to see if you can get into it......
Thanks a lot. If I have more questions (likely), I know who to ask.
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Old 07-23-2004, 10:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have some questions for you.

1) How long have you been in the biz?

2) Why did you get in the biz?

3) How did you get into the biz?

4) Would you recommend getting into the biz?

Here's why I ask. I always envisioned going into radio as being a possible career for me. But I think the reasons I would have wanted to get into it (artistic, mainly, and love of music/hearing my own voice!) don't exist anymore. So I'd like to know why you got into it, and if the reasons you got into it still exist for you.

Thanks!
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Old 07-23-2004, 07:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by quadro2000
I have some questions for you.

1) How long have you been in the biz?

I've been in the biz for close to 8 years now, I started when I was 14.


2) Why did you get in the biz?

Still trying to figure that out, let me get back to you later

3) How did you get into the biz?

It alll started when I was in Junior High, I was involved in a communications class, was asked to do a 5 minute radio show for the local AM radio station, Started running the board (board op) at the AM station on the weekends for about 2 years. Then moved to a Top 40 station in Chattanooga, Went to the University of TN for Geographical studies (not broadcasting) only
stayed for 2 years, work swings shifts for a Top 40 station in Knoxville while going to school. Left Knoxville, went back to Chattanooga to work for Clear Channel, then now im in Alabama at a top 40 station with a #1 Night show


4) Would you recommend getting into the biz?

Yes and No, It takes very stable person to stay in this biz, alot of politics, alot of bullshit, but I love it and I wouldn't nor couldn't do anything else, tried it hate it....I suggest if you interested find the format of music you like, talk to that stations program director, tell him what your interested and see if you can intern learn the ropes and then get a chance on the air.


Hope that helps
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Old 07-26-2004, 09:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks for your excellent and honest answers!

So - do you enjoy the music you play, overall? How do you get past promoting music that you just don't dig?
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Old 07-26-2004, 10:56 AM   #13 (permalink)
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why did the formats become gentrified like the rest of america?

I used to love going from LA to SF and listening to the different music that was played. Then my visits to NYC would be vastly different. Sure the top 40 was still there, but there were lessers knowns that climbed up and got airplay that couldn't in LA.

are there any more stations that still do different formats?

I miss Rodney on the Roq (KROQ So. Cal Days) Dr. Demento Show, the old KLOS and KMET full album plays... anyone?
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cynthetiq
why did the formats become gentrified like the rest of america?

I used to love going from LA to SF and listening to the different music that was played. Then my visits to NYC would be vastly different. Sure the top 40 was still there, but there were lessers knowns that climbed up and got airplay that couldn't in LA.

are there any more stations that still do different formats?
Believe you me, things are more progressive on the West than here on east coast, music some how just happens that way...

Take KIIS in LA, great Top 40 station, plays alot of music that I consider to be unfamiliar to most listeners, yet since that area of the country is more progressive when it comes to music it is accepted more easily. Z100 in New York City is a pretty liberal station as well, when it comes down to it, those citys are so large, the radio station have to cater to every possible demographic the cities have to offer, all Top 40 stations are targeted to females generally 18-34, so there playing some hispanic music, dance music, pop, rock, alternative, and all kinds of genres..The East coast is a little slower when it comes to real "fresh" music, but when it gets here, its new to the everday radio listener. MTV is much like that as well! I've also noticed that the rock alternative flavor for top 40 is more predominate on the east coast..
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by quadro2000
So - do you enjoy the music you play, overall? How do you get past promoting music that you just don't dig?
There are alot of songs that our station plays that I dont necessarly like, but when it comes down to it, Radio is a business your on the AIR selling a product, the radio station, you dont have to like what you play, but you sure as hell better make it sound like its the best song you've ever heard. Preception is reality.
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Old 07-26-2004, 02:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by djtestudo

1) How should I go about asking for airtime?

2) How do I go about finding music to play (it's a public station, and I don't know how it works with music there).
Go find the program director and ask to get on the air. This is college so it's not like you have to show experience - this is where you get experience. Be prepared to pitch a show though. When I was program director (god i hated that job) at my college station I never let anyone on the air if all they could say to me is "hey man, can i have a show?" If your college station is anything like mine, they've already got all their DJs for this coming semester, but there's always a few idiots that do something stupid like drinking in the studio or coldcalling people at home and embarassing them on the air. They'll get fired and you might be able to take their slot. Otherwise, there's next semester.

My biggest complaint about my jocks was professionalism. They all had the attitude of "fuckit, it's college, we'll just get on the air and say whatever the hell we want." They'd yammer for 10 minutes between songs, never saying anything, mostly saying "uhhh" and generally making us sound like shit. Don't be like those guys. Be ready, practice what you're gonna say. Do it at home. Load up winamp, get the playlist going, and intro the songs. It's harder than you think it is.

As for finding music to play, college stations work one of three ways. Some of 'em have playlists -they suck because college is your last chance to run YOUR show the way YOU want to run it. Playing other people's music is never as much fun. Some of 'em have no playlists, and you can pick from any CD they have. The best ones have no playlists or CD's. Bring your own and play whatever you want. Those are the FUN shows.
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Old 07-26-2004, 03:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Is most of the music played off CDs or digital?

Does it depend on equipment?

Do radio stations make enough money to have state of the art equipment? (Clear Channel and non-CC)
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Old 07-26-2004, 04:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Unright
Is most of the music played off CDs or digital?

Does it depend on equipment?

Do radio stations make enough money to have state of the art equipment? (Clear Channel and non-CC)

I would dare to say close to 95% of all commerical radio stations use digital equiptment, as I type this post, Im on the air right now, We have an automation assist program called "Scott Studios" all the music is on a hard drive, most college stations probably still use CD's but some actually have automation systems as well.
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Old 07-26-2004, 04:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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hey thebeat, who owns your station? I'm guessing ClearChannel or one of their brethren. What are your thoughts on mass ownership of stations?
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Old 07-26-2004, 05:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by shakran
hey thebeat, who owns your station? I'm guessing ClearChannel or one of their brethren. What are your thoughts on mass ownership of stations?

I would prefer not to disclose the company on this board, but its one of the 3 biggest companys in America. Mass ownership has its pro and cons, In mass ownership you see alot more National Contesting (ie: most of the big stuff stations give away is Nationwide within the company only 1 winner in the US) Outside the market voicetracking which tends to loose the local flavor of the station. The pay tends to be less with the biggest companies, but the equiptment and resources are much better. More people are held accountable for different things within the station. Local companies tend to pay better but the quality is sometimes poor and the management is less likely to get the best and most up to date equiptment, I've worked for Clear Channel, and I've worked for small local companies, Clear Channel really was a great working environment for me....There are many other things but those are the biggest...


TB
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Old 07-27-2004, 04:53 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Do you guys utilize voice tracking on a day-to-day basis?

(voice tracking explained)

(thebeat, I know you know what it is...just explaining it for anybody else. )
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Old 07-27-2004, 05:25 AM   #22 (permalink)
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There are some DJ's in Chicago who can play some of their own tracks (much to my dismay). For example, there was an afternoon DJ on Q101 who would play "Girls" by Beastie Boys and "Rock Superstar" by Cypress Hill literally EVERY DAY. This is an alternative station that normally plays the Pumpkins, Nirvana, Linkin Park, etc. But those two songs every day was a little much
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Old 07-27-2004, 05:45 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cynthetiq
why did the formats become gentrified like the rest of america?
(note: all below is my personal opinion.)

Personally, I believe a lot of that happened when Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act in '96 which drastically raised the number of stations that one company could hold. When Clear Channel took over a large amount of radio stations, a lot of the independent owners lost out - and it became solely about the money. (Note: I understand that all radio stations are about money and advertising, but I believe it was to a greater extent when CC took over.) The risk of playing a song that doesn't fit the format is that you'll lose listeners, and the fear that once they change the dial, they aren't going to go back - thus a loss in advertising revenue.

The fucked up thing is that, as I understand it, the CC radio stations ARE playing the songs that people want to hear - they do extensive focus groups, playing snippets ("hooks") of songs to people and asking if they'd listen to that song again if they heard it on the radio. The problem is - who's deciding those songs in the first place? That's where the "payola workaround" comes into play, with promoters working hard to get their artists' songs on the radio.

I still truly believe that nobody understands, appreciates, and seeks out music like radio DJs. And way back when, they were the ones willing to take the risks and to play a new or different song to their audience. There is TONS of great new (and old) music out there that nobody will ever hear, because they don't have the $$ to get it on the radio. And I really do believe that if it was good and if it fit the format, people would listen. I think we're just all complacent - it's so easy to listen to what they spoonfeed us, because for the most part, it DOES sound good. There's just so much MORE out there.

There are still options out there if you want to hear more diverse music - but you gotta search for it. In NY, I listen to college radio - specifically WFUV, but then again, that fits my favorite type of music (folk/rock). In California - I'm not positive, but I think that Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW still mixes things up a bit.

There are other stations, but most of the ones I recommend are going to be in the folk/rock/jazz genre.

The one I always recommend, again and again, is an online-only station, Radio Paradise. It's not only a commercial-free, listener-supported indie radio station, but it has an excellent website where you can check out old playlists, rate currently playing tracks and comment on them, and even rate songs that are in consideration for addition to the station.

Again, just my opinions, feel free to comment. Thebeat, I was surprised when you said that Z100 is actually a very liberal station - but I wonder if it's because they are one of those stations that really set the trend for other CC stations across the country?
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Old 07-27-2004, 08:29 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Z100 has always been a trend setter for the rest of the country, some of the best programming and music minds have been through there...Romeo is a friend on mine (He does Nights and is the Assistant Music Director) I know I talk about Top 40 stations, but thats where my knowledge is. But z100 is a station that puts alot of research into the music they play and nine times out of ten they pick the hits..



Quote:
Originally posted by quadro2000
Do you guys utilize voice tracking on a day-to-day basis?

(voice tracking explained)

(thebeat, I know you know what it is...just explaining it for anybody else. )

We only voicetrack 12a-5a Mon-Fri and on Sundays
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Old 08-02-2004, 11:33 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I have a question about "New Music"

I'm currently listening to "One Thing" by Finger Eleven, which if I remember right came out sometime last summer. At least I have it on a mix CD I made from last September or so. The hip hop/op "hit music station" is playing it, and the DJ intro'ed it as "New music by Finger Eleven" which made me go HUH?

So, why do stations do this? Just wondering about the mindset on radio stations to plug music as "new" when it's months, sometimes years old.
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Old 08-02-2004, 06:11 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Location: Deep South
Quote:
Originally posted by Averett
I have a question about "New Music"

I'm currently listening to "One Thing" by Finger Eleven, which if I remember right came out sometime last summer. At least I have it on a mix CD I made from last September or so. The hip hop/op "hit music station" is playing it, and the DJ intro'ed it as "New music by Finger Eleven" which made me go HUH?

So, why do stations do this? Just wondering about the mindset on radio stations to plug music as "new" when it's months, sometimes years old.
Good question, we actually play it here, and it is "new" to radio. You are correct in the song being out and around since 2003. Basically two things could have happend, 1 is they signed recently with a major record company with marketing dollars to get it on the radio in the first place, therefore seeing as a majority of people probably have never heard of them or the song for that matter hence the "new to you" presentation. Or it could have been rereleased probably because no radio stations played it. Example, LeAnn Rimes - Can't Fight The Moonlight, they released the soundtrack version, didn't test well at all (people didn't like it) then about 6 months to a year later they released it again, as a more poppy remixed version which was well received. That could have happend, although I had never heard the song until the record company sent it to us about 2 months ago.

Its kinda like Maroon 5, they had their first hit "Harder To Breathe" in 2003 from the "Songs About Jane" Album, then came "This Love" and now in 2004 "She Will Be Loved" all from 2003 (when the album was released) yet gets airplay now on the radio even though if you have the album its not "new to you"

Kinda get where im going with this :?
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Old 08-02-2004, 06:22 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Yup I get it

Yeah, Harder to Breathe was another one of those "new/old" songs. I understand the concept, it's just annoying
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Old 08-02-2004, 06:45 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Dashboard Confessional - Vindicated on the Sig there Averett? <3 that song
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:01 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by thebeat
Dashboard Confessional - Vindicated on the Sig there Averett? <3 that song
Yes it is, and to say I love it wouldn't quite be right I'm a bit of a nut for that band..
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Old 09-29-2005, 05:40 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Hey,

Hope you don't mind me for bumping this topic, but I just got my own radio show at my college radio station
...
I guess going to a small [1250 students] liberal arts school helps.

We're trying to resurrect the station, since the past couple years, it really wasn't maintained at all and went into near atrophy [since we're doing a webcast-only, because the college got their FCC license revoked a few years ago.... ]
From the other experiences, I feel really fortunate: no graveyard shift [sunday nights 8-9]; no playlists - play whatever each DJ wants; large vinyl collection. However, all of the equipment is pretty old and our collection isn't that current. In order to help with this, I'm trying to write letters to labels to send us advance copies, albums, promos, whatever other garb they want to give us. The program director is really carefree and gave me permission to send out requests, if I wanted to. Right now, Sub_Pop and EMI currently send us stuff occasionally, though I'd like to add quite a few more, especially some indie labels. How do I go about doing this ? I've visited a few label's sites and couldn't find too much information on who to contact. I figure I'd have to write some sort of letter - or can I just merely give them an index card with an address ?!?!?

Also, I humbly admit that I have no previous experience with this [other than being a bit of a music junkie], so I don't know what type of protocol there is, or where to find information [i.e. other websites, forums, mailing lists] where I can contact other college radio stations. I searched on google for a bit, couldn't find too much besides a dead forum....

Thanks for everyone's knowledge !
Catcha back on the flipside,
keyshawn
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Old 10-01-2005, 07:18 PM   #31 (permalink)
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good information here "the beat". i've been in the biz for about 2 years and am enjoying it on a part time basis in dallas. i don't remember who asked about how to go about getting time on air, but my suggestion would be to first be a board-op. that way you can become familiar with the technology. also, if he is at a large school or in a large market, it will be very hard to get on air. i lucked into my position. it's good to hear all of the questions and answers, keep it up and if i can len some knowledge to the discussion, i shall.

congrats keyshawn and good luck. unfortunately, i have no idea how to help ya!
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Old 10-02-2005, 08:46 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyshawn
Hey,

Hope you don't mind me for bumping this topic, but I just got my own radio show at my college radio station
...
I guess going to a small [1250 students] liberal arts school helps.

We're trying to resurrect the station, since the past couple years, it really wasn't maintained at all and went into near atrophy [since we're doing a webcast-only, because the college got their FCC license revoked a few years ago.... ]
From the other experiences, I feel really fortunate: no graveyard shift [sunday nights 8-9]; no playlists - play whatever each DJ wants; large vinyl collection. However, all of the equipment is pretty old and our collection isn't that current. In order to help with this, I'm trying to write letters to labels to send us advance copies, albums, promos, whatever other garb they want to give us. The program director is really carefree and gave me permission to send out requests, if I wanted to. Right now, Sub_Pop and EMI currently send us stuff occasionally, though I'd like to add quite a few more, especially some indie labels. How do I go about doing this ? I've visited a few label's sites and couldn't find too much information on who to contact. I figure I'd have to write some sort of letter - or can I just merely give them an index card with an address ?!?!?

Also, I humbly admit that I have no previous experience with this [other than being a bit of a music junkie], so I don't know what type of protocol there is, or where to find information [i.e. other websites, forums, mailing lists] where I can contact other college radio stations. I searched on google for a bit, couldn't find too much besides a dead forum....

Thanks for everyone's knowledge !
Catcha back on the flipside,
keyshawn

my room mate and i did college radio for 3 years. when he was the music director,he would basically falsify his Top 35 playlist he sent to CMJ in order to butter up record labels into sending us fre stuff. Dishonest? you bet! but he more than doubled our CD library, mostly with current bands from major labels
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Old 10-04-2005, 06:52 AM   #33 (permalink)
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<b>Keyshawn</b>

Been there, done that, on getting label service. I did everything from sending out official requests on college letterhead to phoning. What is comes down to, if you aren't an officially licensed FCC FM or AM station, service will be hard to get. We were an FCC station, but AM, and even though each label has a person strictly to deal with college radio, NOBODY wanted to deal with us because they didn't get that college radio can be other things than FM, 100 watts, between 88.1 and 91.9.

I recommend strongly contacting Lost Highway. They are a division of Universal that deals in AAA and alternative. I've been in pro radio now for, damn, 18 years. and Lost Highway has been the most responsive label I've ever dealt with.

http://www.losthighwayrecords.com/home.html

One thing that will REALLY help is to get on a charting publication like Radio and Records or NAV. There are college equivalents, but I don't remember what they are, although joining IBS (Intercollegiate Broadcasting System) would help. If you want to pursue it as a career, go to the IBS convention every year and network.

http://www.ibsradio.org/

And keep in mind, professional radio will be completely different.
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Old 10-04-2005, 08:22 AM   #34 (permalink)
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What are your thoughts about the pirate radio? Are they adding diversity to the airwaves or are they audio graffiti?
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Old 10-04-2005, 08:33 AM   #35 (permalink)
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I've never heard an intentional pirate station. Just some setups where the people didn't realize that FM-100 they bought is actually illegal.

I'd never report it. Every radio geek secretly wants his own transmitter in hopes that maybe ten or twenty people will listen.
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Old 10-05-2005, 08:53 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Why are indie artists consistently screwed instead of supported by their local radio community? The process by which ANY local music makes it onto the couple of non-corporate stations in my area is incredibly corrupt.
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Old 10-06-2005, 05:38 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Corporate labels have done an amazing job of locking up the market. I don't know why they so wanted to do that, other than to control trends, which is stupid because new trends are what makes billionaires out of label execs.

The fastest growing music format right now is triple A, both in public and commercial radio. We serve a medium size city and play about 30 hours of triple A a week, about 50% independent artists/50% big labels.
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Old 10-06-2005, 10:15 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divagrrrl
Why are indie artists consistently screwed instead of supported by their local radio community? The process by which ANY local music makes it onto the couple of non-corporate stations in my area is incredibly corrupt.
Indie artists have always depended on College Radio (ie non corporate), opening for bigger bands, and band festivals to create a fan base. It's just the way it is.
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Old 10-06-2005, 10:31 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Would that that were true, Derwood.

College radio is great. College radio kicks satellite ass. But it just doesn't break artists like it used to. Not an indictment against them, but against the big four labels.

WXYC-Chapel Hill broke the last truly great indie artist - Sonic Youth (we're in poppinjay opinionland now) about a hundred years ago. They tried so hard to break Superchunk, but it never went anywhere. Labels have a certain amount of cash that they place on certain stations to break artists. And they discover these artists through clubs. It is so much more important these days to have a club connection than a radio connection. And what kind of music controls the clubs? Hip hop. Here's something that I hate, Korn had a severe hip hop bent before breaking onto "extreme radio" or "new rock". Fieldy drove the band until they made it.

The sad truth is, these days, when a group or performer tastes some kind of success, they want more than the local college station can offer. It sucks, but it's true. I keep a list of those gits, I have for 18 years now, and when they try to get play from me, I more often than not turf them.
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Old 10-11-2005, 04:20 PM   #40 (permalink)
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How heavy is "Heavy Rotation" etc...? I'm curious as to how many times per day/week a commercial station will play its top hits.

I imagine the max to be up to 7 times a day: Morning Rush hour, Morning, Afternoon, End of Day Rush hour, and Evening. (plus maybe a lunchtime request, and late evening countdown. While I may find this excessive, I grudgingly understand the reasoning. What's the common practice? When and how does a station finally clue into a song's over exposure?

For example, right now I can't turn on a radio without hearing Green Day's "September". I suppose this is mostly to do with the song's cross format style; but come on! It's october already!
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