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Radio Airplay 101 - Setting Up Radio Interviews

After your airplay for your song/album is progressing, radio interviews are a great way to make use of the fact that the stations are liking your material. Also, as opposed to touring, interviews can be done on the phone, which means a lot of ground can be covered... even in a single day. And if the artist is in the vicinity of a station that is playing the material, then in-person interviews (drop-by's) can be scheduled too.

Setting up the radio interviews is the difficult part. If you have a promoter handling your airplay, they should be able to handle it. However, since the artist's schedule of availability must be matched to the station's, a large number of interviews in a given week (say, 10 to 30) is going to require the cooperation of the promoter, the artist, and at least one assistant who can pre-call the stations.

The trick with setting up the interviews is to make best use of the artist's time. If not scheduled properly, the artist will be waiting by the phone for hours, or will have to make 20 calls just to get one interview completed. At this rate you will be worn-out before you get anything accomplished.

Here is the process: Your promoter fishes through the list of spinning stations for folks that are amenable to the idea of an upcoming interview. The idea is to get the prospective stations to believe that the artist will make for a good phone (or in-person) guest, because the last thing a station needs is for a troublemaker or a boring guest to ruin their sound. Of course, follow-up interviews with the same stations will be much easier later on, provided they liked you the first time around.

Once willing-stations are found (which takes weeks), the scheduling can be done in one of two ways. Either the artist can supply the promoter with an "availability" schedule (where the promoter uses it to match to the stations,) or the promoter can get station-opportunity "windows", and give these to the artists to finalize. Either way, you need a lot of approved-interview stations because of the difficulty of...

Making contact: This is the step that has to occur in real-time. In order to have more than one or two interviews in a single day, the artist must have one or more assistants pre-calling the approved stations, so that the appropriate people can be gotten on the line. Sometimes it takes many calls to get through because they ask you to call the request line. Make sure you get multiple phone numbers (three) for each station, so you can get through when you need to. Ask for the "hotline".

Then there is the holding time. Remember, you will be calling into live shows that have other segments occurring during your call. So someone has to wait on hold until your segment comes up. This holding time can be from a few to thirty minutes PER station. So the best technique is to have multiple assistants holding on multiple phones, so that when the artist finishes up with one interview, the next one will be ready to connect.

A typical scenario might be: The promoter provides you with 40 interview requests over a period of three days. You have four helpers pre-calling on four phones, each one giving the signal when a station is on the line and ready. 10 of the interviews fall through, but the remaining 30 get completed in the three days. However, if the artist tries to work without helpers, he/she may only complete 6 in the same three days... all the while spending the same amount of time on the phone... dialing and holding.

Next topic: Radio, Distro, Tour, Press... What First?

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