|Radio Airplay 101:
Time of Year to Push Radio
by Bryan Farrish - September 2002.
Back to The
Many people, when planning the date that their radio campaign will start, think that starting the campaign at a
certain time of the year will make a huge difference in the outcome of the project. It won't. There are many other
factors which are far more important, and these factors will determine what happens with your release... Things
like sequentially pushing a second and third release from the same artist; not abandoning a campaign until awareness
has been built; providing the proper packaging; and properly choosing "album vs. single".
That being said, there are some good things which can be had from different times of the year, which will give
slight improvements in campaign performance, BUT, this technique will backfire if any ONE of the above mentioned
points are not already taken care of.
The following are the points to consider for the different calendar times:
JANUARY THROUGH APRIL
Many folks think that this is the best time for indie releases.
Advertising on commercial radio certainly is cheapest, and most major labels are taking a short break before starting
heavy promotion again (but you won't be able to tell this by listening to the radio... you'll just hear the same
number of songs. What you don't hear is how many releases are being PUSHED to radio.) Advertising in most trades
is also cheapest at this time. So commercial regular rotation, or commercial specialty/mixshow, is a favorite at
For college radio, obviously, most stations are in session during this period. Don't worry about spring break;
there is no national "one week" that every school is closed. Instead, spring break varies from school
to school, with some doing it in mid February, and others doing it as late as mid May.
MAY THROUGH AUGUST
For both commercial and college radio, this is a good time to use your radio campaign to help you set up a tour.
For college radio, this the easiest time to chart, since college stations are getting the fewest number of releases.
Many people think you can't work a record to college during the summer... not true. You do lose about 150 stations
during the summer, but about 650 of them stay on (many of them the bigger ones which broadcast to the whole town),
and thus a favor is almost being done for you since many of the smaller ones have been removed.
Also with college, when the kids go home for summer, they still want to hear non-commercial radio; so they simply
tune into the college station that is in their hometown.
The biggest advantage of summer college radio is that the CMJ charting is easiest here, due to the lower amount
SEPTEMBER THROUGH DECEMBER
For commercial radio, this is the time to work radio in order
to sell lots of records. (That is, provided you are set-up and experienced enough, and have enough of a sales staff,
to sell twenty or thirty thousand records.) This is the technique used by larger labels to sell most of their product.
For college, they are of course back in session, so for many artists that is all that needs to be said... college
it's going to be! Even though college radio receives many times more CDs in the fall than it does during the summer,
many folks are going to push here nevertheless.
The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is actually a great time to start your college project, because the
bulk of CDs have already arrived and passed, and for about three weeks there is very little competition again.
You simply carry your project through the holiday, and start back up after the new year.
You can find something good about any time of the year to start your project
is an independent radio airplay promoter. He can be reached at 818-905-8038 or at radio-media.com
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