|Reporting vs. Charting
by Bryan Farrish
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As you start doing more radio, you'll get more opportunity to choose between "reporting" and "non-reporting"
stations, and also between "charting" and "non-charting" campaigns. One is not better than
the other; they are just meant for different purposes... like a car versus a bus.
"Reporting" is when a station fills out a form (or an email), and sends it to a chart magazine... telling
the magazine that the station is adding or playing your record. "Charting", on the other hand, is either
(1) when you appear in that station's "most-added" or "most-played" chart, or (2) when you
appear in a MAGAZINE'S "most-added" or "most-played" chart. The station's chart is only for
that ONE station; the magazine's chart is an average of all similarly-formatted stations across the country.
The advantage of a station reporting you is this: People will SEE your name. And the people who see your name will
be the same people in the music/radio business that you need to impress, such as labels, managers, booking agents,
music writers, club DJs, retail buyers, and (especially) other stations who will not add your record until they
see that other stations have done so first.
The disadvantage of trying for a reporting station is that they are much more difficult to get (compared to non-reporting
stations), due to the increased competition these stations garner because of their (generally) larger listenerships.
Everyone wants to show up in the trade magazines (the "trades"), and thus these reporting stations are
the first ones that people select, including every major label. So in the car-versus-bus comparison, reporting
stations are the bus... they carry many more results, and the cost to get them is proportionately higher. Non-reporting
stations, however, are much easier (and thus lower cost) and are more suitable for the beginner. The largest labels,
however, will work both the reporting and non-reporting stations together.
Now let's talk about "campaigns". A radio campaign is when you work a large group of similar stations
at the same time, so as to create a "hit". A hit is simply a particular artist that is being played on
a large number of stations AT THE SAME TIME. If half the stations play it now, and the other half play it a year
from now, you do not have a hit. Hits have to be on all pertinent stations at the same time. On top of this, the
stations that are chosen for charting campaigns HAVE to be reporting stations, even if you also have chosen non-reporting
And thus the difficulty. When you work a charting campaign, you not only have to work all reporting stations at
the same time, but the stations that you are working are the more difficult ones. So in terms of money, a charting
campaign (say, for non-commercial radio) is going to cost about twice what a non-charting campaign would cost.
And for commercial radio, a charting campaign... even in small markets only... is going to cost twice to ten times
that of a non-charting campaign, and in medium markets, charting is going to cost five to one hundred times that
Finally, there is the regional option. Many times, people will want to go after just a few stations in their own
city or state, and this "regional" effort does have some merit... mainly lower cost... but it is not
referred to so much as a "campaign", as it is just a "push". Regional is useful since all the
stations are selected to be close to the artist, but the push is not very impressive to other stations because
(1) most of the stations will be small, (2) there will be no chart action, (3) there will be no trade reviews,
(4) there will be no stations near other stations in the rest of the country, and (5) you will have very few station-success
stories to tell. But considering the cost, many smaller projects will have no choice but to opt for a regional
is an independent radio airplay promoter. He can be reached at 818-905-8038 or at radio-media.com
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