Tips of the Trade: promoting your music to community radio

Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018

It’s been a little while since our last instalment with Triple R Music Coordinator and total legend Simon Winkler, so the time felt right to hit him up for the latest ‘best practice’ tips for getting airplay and raising your profile at community radio. 

Remember, in this crazy wonderful biz, there are no guarantees to airplay, but there a few key actions you can take to set yourself up for the best absolute shot at it.

1) Servicing your music: keep it clear, simple, timely and please don’t attach large files. 

At Triple R, Simon receives most of his new music pitches via email, as well as the occasional CD. Each week, he compiles anywhere from 150-300 new tracks and their accompanying info and shares it in one big Google doc with the station’s presenters. 

How can your song stand out from the new music pack?

  •          Send streaming/download links. Do not attach large MP3s to your email.
  •          Nail your elevator pitch: think of your email as your chance to describe your music, share tour news, other promo highlights in a pithy, punchy way.
  •          Include a bio – have a very brief one and a longer one available.

2) Research the presenters and specialist shows

Simon tells us that at most community stations, the music is “driven by the passion of presenters,” who are making their own playlists. Simon’s role is to ensure the presenters have access to the music and information they need.

Simon says, “Don’t just submit music. Research the programmers who play your kind of music. Get in touch and build relationships.”

3) Servicing via AMRAP’s AirIt and/or individual stations. How does it work?

An initiative of the CBAA (Community Broadcasting Association of Australia), AMRAP (Australian Music Radio Airplay Project) distributes new Australian music to community radio stations nationally through its AirIt service.

  • AirIt is used by labels, managers, and independent artists. You need to apply to to use the service. Simon says it is important “to demonstrate a plan” in your application by highlighting what other activities are happening around your music (tours, grants, syncs, features, etc.).
  • AirIt tracks your airplay. You can log on for airplay reports, and you’ll also be sent a link when your track is played.
  • Simon suggests that you use that spin as a chance to connect with the presenter and station – send an email or get in touch on social media and thank them for the spin, and provide other promotional info.

4) Is it OK to double up with an AMRAP AirIt service and a direct service to a station?

Absolutely. The stations work with AMRAP to provide music endorsements on a monthly basis, and AMRAP highlights new songs to their network of presenters. It’s all related.

5) What is considered high-rotation these days at community radio?

Triple R is an ‘unplaylisted’ station. A high-rotation track is getting 6-15x spins a week. Most songs are played once or twice. The music team selects an Album of the Week and also has its Soundscape  list, which is an excellent resource for checking out what new music is getting noticed.

Triple R's Simon Winkler listens to all the music.

6) How do you leverage that airplay into further promotion for your music?

Capitalise on airplay by pitching an interview or submitting a request in a TIMELY manner. Don’t just react after a spin and pitch an interview. Over at Triple R, interviews are coordinated by Sam Cummins, who works closely with Simon on highlighting artists, music and events.

How to pitch an interview:

  • Call or email, mention the airplay, your availability and talking points.
  • Pitch your interview around a specific event – a tour, an album release.
  • Pitch period: One month to two weeks out before your target date.
  • Guideline of three months between interviews

Get in touch with Simon Winkler and/or Sam Cummins here. Go forth and service, good luck!

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