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Radio Airplay 101 - Morning Shows

The two broadcast and TV...both occur in real time, and thus are governed by the daily habits of people (as opposed to print or outdoor or web media, in which the same message is available 24/7.) So, TV's "prime time" is when most people are available to view it...which is usually in the evening at about 8 pm. And this is where TV puts their most important programs.

Radio's "prime time" is in the morning, when three things occur at the same time: (1) People are getting ready for school or work and are running around the house with the radio on, (2) People are driving to work with the radio on, and (3) Kids are riding to school with their walkmans on. The "programs" which radio uses in this morning period are called "morning shows", and the radio-business term for this time period is "AM drive" (or A drive) or "morning drive" (as in "drive to work"). Morning drive tends to be more energetic than the rest of the day (so it can wake you up), and more newsworthy (so it can prepare you for the day.) Understanding this about morning drive can be a useful tool in marketing your music.

Two additional things to remember about morning drive is that it is usually the only part of the day that the station breaks away from the "normal" format that they try to stick to, and two, the DJs (or "talent" as radio calls them) are usually their most experienced (and best paid) people. This in mind, here are some areas that can be directly used to market your music.

NEWS: News is a major component of morning shows, and on some music stations, it's the only news you will hear all day. In smaller towns, concerts or shows which occur can sometimes be news in and of themselves. Obviously this applies to a larger act, but if worked hard enough, smaller acts can get some coverage too. And by being "worked", I mean finding out something about the act/club/event/gig that is slightly out of the norm, and then making this fact known to every possible newsperson at the station in the town you will be performing in.

The news angle is twofold: First, the fact that a show is occurring is "news", although many news directors will try to pass you to the community events person (which is not totally a bad thing.) Second, on the day after the event, if anything at all happened at the event that people should know about, then the news directors need to find out (before you leave town... since they may want to interview you.)

INTERVIEWS/CALL-INS: The next great use of morning drive is the artist interview or call-in (a call-in is a mini-interview, where the artist calls the morning show briefly to detail a few points about a show that is coming up, or a show that just occurred.) You generally have to be spinning on a station before an interview or call-in can occur, but when you get to do them, they are usually done by phone, except for those great breaks you get and the station wants you live.

SKITS: In keeping with the spirit of morning shows, skits are a nifty way to help stations with their programming, while boosting your situation at the same time. Skits can be done over the phone, or they can be taped and sent in. They can be generic, or tailored to each station. Rarely, the station will want you to do it live. Regardless, you want to be brief and be funny; you want to make the DJs look brilliant, and you want to say your band's name several times.

NOVELTY SONGS: Lastly, a novelty song or parody (even of one of your own songs) is a great morning show item. These things will have to be practiced or recorded before you head out on the tour, but they are easy because you only have to do one (unless of course you personalize it for each station.)

Next topic: Creating a story.

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