Over the summer, we created radio campaign packages for Jagaja's new album and Oketo's past releases. Though we do syndicate through iHeartRadio (formerly ClearChannel) who dominates the radio audience with over 850 radio stations, their playlists rarely vary from major signed artists. We wanted to target college radio first.
Without detailing the whole process, we decided to bypass companies like Planetary Group, Co-Sign, and Tinderbox and create our own grassroots campaign instead. Although we've heard success stories with these companies, $3,000 is a big risk for no guaranteed airtime for a new band.
Dressed with band stickers, personalized postcards, an album onesheet, and beautifully packaged albums, my intern Brett and I packaged up hundreds of manila envelopes and sent to college radio and non-commercial stations across the country.
Our results? About 10% of stations have confirmed airplay of our artists on their station through social media. Many stations do not confirm receipt of the package or airplay once received. Excluding labor and CD costs, the packaging and shipping averaged about $3.20 per item. Buying package items in bulk for larger campaigns will lower these margins (though the USPS Media Mail rate of $2.61 will only rise).
It feels as though we are re-creating the wheel, as radio promotion has been a part of the industry since the 1920s. However, I consider this initial run on a modest budget a good success!
Special thanks to KALX, KZUU, KAOS, KZSC, KUGR, WKNC, WGRW, The BIRN, KZUM, Seattle Alternative Radio, Sirius XM and more for digging the music!