Nine Common Mistakes Artists Make to Get Radio Airplay


Over the years, I can’t tell you how many complaints I get from radio programmers and artists as well as independent promoters about the way artists and/or their representatives promote their product.In many cases I have had to personally deal with artists and I could see the complaints are more often than not VALID…. with the extremely tight playlists at Black radio stations nationwide there are some rules that MUST be followed. Click the “NEXT” button above or below to see the Nine Mistakes... Enjoy

1. Shitty Attitude..


The fact that an artist is paying someone to work their record does not grant them the right to treat the person helping them like shit. ESPECIALLY former major label artists who are now independent.

Promotions people are not miracle workers, your psychiatrists or your punching bag. Some of your complaints may be valid and your budget may be tight but how apt would YOU be to help somebody that treats you like shit?

2. Getting Advice and Trying to Do it Yourself


I will use Radio Factsas an example. I can’t tell you how many calls every week from people offering to do advertising then asking me for advice on how to work their product BEFORE they do the advertising.

I call that “Carrot Dangling.” That’s one of the oldest tricks in the book and it doesn’t work.

You would not want people to waste your time and industry people are very savvy to games and the people who play them, you are only playing yourself as word gets out in this industry that very big yet very small and people will not work with you without getting cash up front

It’s just like having bad credit but it’s bad credit with the industry and it will take you a LONG time to change your industry score to regain respect. Understand the industry is VERY fraternal and if people don’t know you, it’s very likely your calls will not be answered or returned.

3. Approaching Radio Yourself


If you are a former major label artist you may very well be able to get a radio station on the phone but don’t get pissed when you get worked like a slave. ALWAYS have someone represent you ALWAYS. When you make that call direct to a station the level of respect for your contribution to the industry as an artist takes a nosedive.

4. Working with the Wrong People – Cause You Get What you Pay LESS for


Cheap is not always WISE, I have seen MANY artists pissed off because they hired people to promote their product who could not deliver because they were CHEAPER.

Then after they get screwed, they go back to the legitimate promoters and expect him to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Is it right to make him or her pay for YOUR original mistake?

I hear very few complaints about bad product and most complaints about artists getting screwed because the artist did not do his or her homework. In all cases you get what you pay for but you ALSO pay for what you DON’T get.

While we can’t guarantee anything, Radio Factsknows who the most respected top industry promoters are and we can we refer you to great ones but make sure you have all your ducks in order. A great referral can go a long way.

5. Wasting Money


You have to look at your expenses to see what you do and don’t need but the most important things are major or independent promotion and awareness… not necessarily in that order but you need both.

Most of the major record labels understand the need to create awareness for their campaigns by advertising their product with the correct outlets (like Radio Facts).

Many independents do not see the advantage because they don’t see the value and in some cases it is valid, what you advertise is just as important as WHERE you advertise.

Yesterday I explained the value here. Give it a quick read.

6. False Advertising


As an entrepreneur, one thing I despise is a liar and people who mislead others.

I am an entrepreneur too (read my bio below) and one thing that I NEVER do is promise airplay for advertising but there are some unscrupulous trades and industry businesses out there that mislead people into thinking that they will only get airplay if they advertise with them.

This is a lie (in most cases) and the biggest tub of shit in the industry DON’T fall for it. Don’t let an industry business bully you into thinking you will only get airplay if you advertise or sponsor with them, if you do, please let us know.

Playlists are tight and product is plenty so know how this game works if you want to win.

7. Not Developing Relationships


It’s better to ask a FRIEND for something once let him say no and have the second chance to ask again than to meet someone, ask for something and never get a second chance because they don’t KNOW you.

I don’t know what it is but whenever I get a chance to relax at Starbucks for a minute, people can smell that I work in the music industry and I am often approached.

People have even pulled up a chair without an invitation, listened to my brief phone conversations (even though I’m trying to be discreet) and they want advice and help. None of them have ever offered to buy my coffee or my drink.

Who in the hell wants to be used or to hear your dreams and goals when they are taking 5 minutes to relax from a busy day? If you stop making it all about you, you may surprise yourself and develop more long term connections in the industry instead of someone writing you off during your first meeting.

In addition, you can get great recommendations for working your product and routes you can take in the industry to properly promote your product. I know several celebrities personally and one thing they all have in common is they don’t trust anyone.

You are going to have to trust SOMEONE if you want to succeed and you will have to simply learn from your mistakes and not be so cynical based on your experience with one person.

Get to know a few radio programmers and industry media people (all websites and bloggers are not evil, here at Radio Facts, we don’t care about your personal life and we don’t report on that kind of shit… we are a trusted and legitimate industry resource but I can’t’ say that for everyone so to an extent I understand cause I don’t trust most people either lol).

8. Not Paying for Services on Time


I have yet to meet a landlord, mortgage company or grocery store who will let you go 12 weeks without paying for product and/or services.

BE HONEST with the people working with you and if you don’t have the money SAY SO but don’t have people chasing you for money that you OWE THEM. They have bills to pay too. They have done their job now PAY THEM and if you can’t, LET THEM KNOW why.

I have learned my way around this with all clients (especially independents) but other people may not have that luxury. Hope this all helps.

More info coming……………………………ABOUT KEVIN ROSS/RADIO FACTS kevRoss is a music and Radio Industry expert and 23 year veteran who has worked as a radio programmer, announcer, record promoter and he owns the industry’s leading trade publications and sites

You can email Kevin at [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here