The impartial music market is extra saturated than ever. That’s why I favor advertising methods which might be particular and focused. They’re usually more practical than casting a large web.

I’ve labored alongside lots of of artists over time, and seen how way more useful it’s for a band to have a pair hundred actual, devoted followers who purchase t-shirts and tickets to reveals than it’s to get thousands and thousands of passive streams on Spotify from listeners who won’t even discover the title of the artist they’re listening to. 

For that reason, and lots of others, faculty radio is my favourite promotional methodology.

This text is meant to be a crash-course in how faculty radio works. I’ll cowl the technical ins-and-outs of school radio promotion, however extra importantly, the way to suppose strategically about faculty radio promotion.

Why does faculty radio matter?

Earlier than I get into how immensely precious faculty radio promotion is, it’s necessary to say that selling music on faculty radio is a technique used extensively by impartial labels and artists throughout many genres.

It’s necessary and precious due to its viewers, which I’ll get into shortly. But in addition as a result of there are lots of of school radio stations throughout the nation that play impartial music. This stands in stark distinction to business terrestrial stations, that, outdoors of some specialty reveals, solely play data backed by six-figure-plus promotional campaigns. There are a few different kinds of radio that new, up-and-coming artists would possibly have the ability to safe, however faculty radio is the largest pool.

As a university radio promoter, I usually say that probably the most precious new followers you will get are the DJs themselves.

Most faculty radio DJs fall into two classes:

1. Faculty college students

However not simply any faculty college students. These are college students who’re so obsessed with music that they dedicate their treasured time to discovering and sharing new music. They’re children who go to reveals, purchase data, develop music scenes, ebook festivals, they usually’re the type of people that will go on to work within the music trade as soon as they graduate. They’re hungry for brand new music. They’re defining their style, a lot of which can final a lifetime.

Many stations, particularly greater ones, have neighborhood volunteers who DJ and assist run the station. Importantly, they’re those who hold issues working when faculty college students are residence for the summer time and holidays. These are individuals who love music a lot that they volunteer their time to share it with their communities. 

After all, each most of these individuals are additionally all energetic on social media like anybody else. However as a substitute of you simply placing your music up on the web and hoping high-value followers stumble throughout it, you’re placing it immediately into their fingers at a time once they’ve already agreed to take a seat down and pay particular consideration to model new music from artists they’ve by no means heard of, with the intent to then share it with others. It’s onerous to think about a greater set of individuals to be selling your music to immediately.

And that is to say nothing of the great music nerds all around the world who make investments time and power in music discovery by LISTENING to varsity and neighborhood radio.

Challenges with faculty radio

Hopefully, by now you agree that faculty radio is a superb place to advertise your music.

Nonetheless, except you’re actively touring, it may be onerous to show periodic radio performs into followers and significant alternatives. Even in case you’re exhibiting up on the nationwide faculty radio charts.

With typical press, you get a hyperlink (or screenshot) you may share to get your followers enthusiastic about high-profile protection. This helps show to trade folks that you just’re severe and getting seen. Faculty radio promotion doesn’t yield hyperlinks or straightforward social proof in the identical means. So it requires some further consideration and work to benefit from these precious connections.

Getting radio play is like making it rain (it is a metaphor, stick with me right here), however in case you don’t put out buckets to gather the rainwater, it’ll simply soak into the bottom and dissipate. I’ll talk about “capturing the rainwater” intimately afterward on this article. However first, some sensible details about submitting music to varsity radio.

What even is faculty radio?

More often than not, after we discuss faculty radio, we’re speaking about terrestrial radio stations owned and operated by schools. These stations are run by faculty college students and volunteers. However with a view to perceive faculty radio promotion, it helps to get the larger image of how radio play is measured.

NACC (North American Faculty & Neighborhood) is a non-profit group that compiles and publishes weekly and month-to-month charts based mostly on information collected from faculty, neighborhood, and web radio stations. When folks discuss faculty radio charts, they’re virtually definitely speaking in regards to the NACC charts, despite the fact that NACC additionally accepts reporting from some web and neighborhood stations.

For the needs of this text, I’m going to make use of the time period “faculty radio” to consult with stations that report back to the NACC. It’s good to know that some stations that report back to NACC aren’t precisely faculty stations. However they’re necessary if you wish to rank on what is actually the faculty radio charts.

Stations that report back to the NACC are ranked 1-5, 5 being the heaviest, or most necessary. Station weight is set by numerous elements. However usually the closely weighted stations are those you’ve heard of like KEXP and KCRW.

Whereas stations with a 1 or 2 rating are tiny faculty stations you in all probability haven’t heard of. They’ve a smaller listenership, however are probably superior nonetheless.

The best way to submit your music to varsity radio

What to undergo radio

Most stations nonetheless favor to obtain CDs, although many now settle for digital submissions. Determining which stations are which generally is a huge venture, so do your analysis and hold good notes!

Some issues to remember:
  • In the event you’re sending out bodily CDs, you wish to be sure that the jewel-case or digipak has a backbone so DJs can simply discover them on a CD shelf
  • Make sure you point out which songs are the focus tracks, which is simply one other means of claiming, probably the most radio-friendly ones you suppose they need to play
  • It’s an awesome thought to ship a one-sheet along with your social handles and possibly even an image and style info
  • It’s additionally an awesome thought to ship stickers and a hand-written notice in case you have the time, or something you may to verify your submission stands out. At Little Pink Radio Promotion, we use shiny purple envelopes after we ship out CDs in order that whoever opens it is aware of they’re about to find one thing wonderful. No matter you do, make it your individual!

No swears!

Faculty stations have to stick to FCC laws, so in case your songs have naughty phrases, ensure that’s marked visibly, or higher but, solely submit clear variations of your songs to radio.

Who to undergo

Handle packages and emails to the station’s music director.

Faculty station web sites usually have up-to-date details about the music director and their submission tips. It’s additionally good to ship an e mail alongside along with your bodily submission with an EPK the place they’ll simply obtain your file and pictures, learn your bio, and take a look at your social and streaming hyperlinks. 


We do weekly follow-ups with stations for the ten weeks following submissions.

This implies calling or emailing stations to ask in the event that they’ve had an opportunity to test it out but. In the event that they’ve performed it already, we thank them.

Maintaining monitor of who has added and/or performed a file is important. Staying organized is an absolute should.

What different information to share

It’s additionally good to share related info each once you attain out and observe up.

For example, inform them in case you’re native to the identical market as a station, or in case you’re coming by way of on tour quickly.

extra faculty radio alternatives:
  • provide a ticket giveaway for listeners
  • present free tickets for the station DJs
  • ask about doing an in-studio efficiency in case you see that’s one thing the station routinely does

Monitoring radio airplay

Faculty radio promoters monitor and report airplay regularly all through your marketing campaign. How do you discover out which stations have added music to their library, or which DJs are enjoying the tracks?

3 methods to get information on faculty radio exercise:
  1. Cellphone Calls are important if you wish to keep on a music director’s radar and get your music performed on the radio. We name stations and ask in the event that they obtained our submission, then in the event that they acquired an opportunity to hearken to it, in the event that they’ll add it to their library, and eventually in the event that they’ll give it some spins. The e-mail and the providers listed under are useful, however actually no match for selecting up the telephone.
  2. NACC compiles and posts charts that present the albums which might be getting probably the most radio play and getting added to rotation on a given week. You may signal as much as entry this info on their web site. They’ve a fundamental free providing and a extra sturdy paid tier the place you’ve gotten entry to extra info.
  3. Spinitron is a service the place you may monitor particular person spins. That’s a useful solution to hold monitor of the place and once you’ve gotten radioplay.

Each NACC and Spinitron memberships value between $100 and $150/month.

The best way to get probably the most out of school radio airplay

As mentioned earlier on this article, getting radio play is nice, however what’s simply as necessary is what you do with it.

Listed here are some concepts for the way to put these faculty radio spins to good use:

Ship a thanks e mail

DJs love listening to immediately from artists they’re enjoying.

Document station IDs

It’s greatest to maintain them quick and candy like, “Hello, it’s [ARTIST] and also you’re listening to [STATION].” You are able to do this for stations and even particular person reveals that play your music. That’s a brilliant good factor to throw in with a thanks e mail.

Ship thanks snail mail

Once more, the aim right here is to construct a reference to the DJs and music administrators. And who doesn’t get excited receiving hand-written notes and stickers? In the event you don’t imagine me, go hang around on faculty radio TikTok and watch how cute and excited DJs get opening all of the totally different packages.

Observe the stations and DJs

If the folks and stations that play your music have a presence on social, observe them!

That is straightforward to do and will be a good way to attach and be taught extra in regards to the DJs who like what you do and proceed to construct the connection. Do they submit pics of themselves in several band shirts each Friday? Ship them a t-shirt!  Keep in mind, faculty radio DJs are music tremendous followers. They’re the type of people that observe artists for many years. Linking up on social media takes just about no effort and it may be value its weight in gold.

Get into close by shops

In the event you’re getting important airplay on a given station (say 25 spins in every week), it’s value connecting to native file shops in that market to see about having them carry your music. Or, in case you’re fortunate sufficient to work with a bodily distributor, that is nice info to move alongside to them.

Study extra in regards to the scene

Wherever you’re at in your launch/touring cycle, selling to varsity radio might help you get a way of what markets try to be touring to and investing power in. I can’t overstate the significance of connecting with DJs who’re sharing your music. These folks might help you get plugged into native music scenes, discover out about the place try to be enjoying, and even ebook reveals.

Lastly, we create shareable IG/TikTok content material for our purchasers that allow folks learn about radio play. It’s tremendous straightforward to make a bit of animated reel in Canva with the artist’s image and the track title, station, and chart rating or every other related information. We encourage our artists to submit it on IG and tag the station and/or particular person DJs as collaborators. It is a nice solution to get in entrance of people that observe the station, however who may need missed your track. It additionally reveals a lot appreciation since you’re directing your individual followers to take a look at the station’s web page.

I’m positive there are 1,000,000 extra methods to construct friendships and neighborhood with faculty radio DJs. For my cash, selling to varsity radio is an unbelievable factor to do, however don’t rely on spins alone to maneuver the needle on your venture. Your individuals are on the market ready so that you can join with them!

As somebody who does faculty radio promotion, I can let you know that it’s doable to go the DIY route. Particularly in case you’re somebody who can deal with the analysis and managing giant information units. 

Most likely the largest problem after we began our company was simply constructing an precise checklist of all of the stations and their bodily addresses.

WARNING: There are a bunch of issues which might be marketed as “faculty radio contact lists” you should purchase on-line. However none of them are very usable, they usually’re all old-fashioned and incomplete. One of the simplest ways to construct your faculty radio contact checklist is to put within the hours researching station contacts and constructing your individual checklist. 

Doing send-outs isn’t all that labor-intensive, however following up each week for months is! Likewise, staying on high of who’s performed your music will be troublesome and time-consuming. So that you’re going to want air-tight techniques to maintain monitor of all of it.

I believe that there’s a false impression that promoters are those that constructed relationships with shops by schmoozing and being in-the-know. however in my virtually 20 years of releasing and selling music, I’ve discovered that the very best promoters are simply well mannered, organized individuals who make life straightforward for the DJs and writers they undergo.

In the event you determine you’re not outfitted to deal with your individual promotion, you may search to rent a good faculty radio promoter. You will get a nationwide radio marketing campaign completed for a couple of thousand {dollars}. Some companies cost far more, some cost much less.

We hang around proper within the mid-range at $3500 USD for a ten-week venture. Working at this fee permits us the time to assist our purchasers construct relationships and retain followers.

Along with price range, you’ll additionally wish to take into account:
  • Does the company or promoter have as a file of success, an expert web site, and consumer testimonials?
  • Is their present roster of purchasers selective sufficient that they’ll have the ability to correctly promote YOUR music?
  • Are they communicative and clear?
  • Do they set reasonable expectations? Do they define their expectations of you, the artist?

If that’s the case, it could be value reaching out to them.

After which keep in mind, simply since you’re prepared to pay a promoter doesn’t imply the promoter will say sure. Their popularity is constructed on repping music they imagine in.

Measuring success

Whether or not a marketing campaign was profitable or not relies on who you ask. Getting an album to chart within the NACC’s high 200 is a superb and infrequently achievable aim for a nationwide faculty radio marketing campaign.

However, as you already know, my focus in figuring out the success of an album has extra to do with what number of new followers you’re really participating with, promoting data to, and including to your e mail checklist. Plus, how effectively you’re ready to make use of the methods mentioned above in “How To Get The Most Out Of Airplay”.

In Conclusion

Faculty radio is an incredible, and albeit under-leveraged useful resource artists can use to create robust communities round their music.

Thanks a lot for studying, and please be at liberty to achieve out immediately with any technical or extra particular questions. As you may in all probability inform, I really like speaking about these things.


By Damian

Hi Damian, a talented website author who embraces her work with genuine enthusiasm. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, she combines her creative talent and technical expertise, creating sites that stand out for both style and substance.

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