Getting airplay on mainstream radio stations may well be out of reach for the average independent musician, but getting your music played on the radio doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. By focusing attention on non-commercial outlets like community and Internet radio stations, it’s entirely possible to have your music reach the ears of a smaller but very appreciative and discriminating group of listeners. Remember, these stations are independents in search of their own niche audience. Who better to relate to your situation as an indie artist? Like you, they’re trying to offer an alternative to the mass-produced product that dominates the corporate radio airwaves. Make them your allies in your quest to get your music heard.


Just as you wouldn’t go on stage with an under-rehearsed live show and expect to get a return booking, neither should you consider sending out CDs that look and sound amateurish. Unless the DJ is a close relative or a friend who owes you money, a sloppily recorded and unmastered home demo with the track listing hand-written on a card taped to the jewel case is not destined for radio airplay. It is destined for a trashcan. Make sure that your CD is professionally recorded and mastered. Your CD will have plenty of competition as it is. Why put yourself at a disadvantage by settling for sub par sound quality? Often, a performer will spend considerable time and money on the recording process, yet are tempted to forgo the mastering stage. Don’t do it. Mastering engineers can add a final sheen and sparkle to your album that will enable it to hold its own alongside major releases.

Have your CD professionally replicated and packaged. Competition is stiff in the CD manufacturing business too, and deals can be had. If your music is professionally recorded and presented, it shows that you’re serious about your craft. If you don’t invest the necessary time and effort, do you expect that the programmer will?

Research playlists. You don’t want to waste time and money sending CDs to shows outside of your genre. An artist may have released the coolest cocktail-jazz album in eons, but it’s unlikely to make waves with the host of a bluegrass show. Make sure you choose your targets wisely. Visit radio station websites and browse playlists of shows in your genre. If you see artists you would compare yourself to, send an email to the host of the show as well as the station’s music director, asking if you can send them a copy of your CD. Make sure you address them by name and let them know that you’re familiar with their format. It won’t guarantee you airtime, of course, but it will show them that you’re serious about your business, and not just randomly sending out mass-mailings. Need help finding suitable stations? The “Public Radio Fan” website is an extensive listing of stations in the United States and overseas. You can search by name, location and format. It’s a great place to get started.”Live 365” is another great resource. Here you can find thousands of internet radio stations all displaying their genre and contact info on their homepage.