How to Air Play

The Art of Airplay: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Your Music Heard by the Right People

In today’s music industry, getting your tracks played on terrestrial radio stations can be a daunting task, especially with the rise of digital platforms like streaming services and online radio. However, airplay remains an essential component in any artist’s or band’s quest for success. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of how to gather your music heard by the right people – from preparing your promotional materials to creating a solid strategy.

Understanding Radio Stations and Their Demographics

Before you start pitching your music to radio stations, it’s essential to understand their demographics and programming styles. Terrestrial radio is segmented into various formats, including:

  1. Alternative: Typically targeting 18-34-year-olds, alternative radio often features indie rock, electronic, and hip-hop tracks.
  2. Rock: Focuses on classic rock genres like heavy metal, hard rock, and pop-rock.
  3. Urban/Hip-Hop: Primarily catering to African American audiences aged 18-49 years old.
  4. Country: Niche format targeting country music enthusiasts across all age groups.

Identify the stations that best match your genre and target audience. Research their playlists, DJs’ preferences, and popular artists to increase your chances of getting played.

Crafting a Winning Radio Pitch

A solid radio pitch is crucial in securing airplay for your tracks. Here are some key elements to include:

  1. Press Kit: Develop a comprehensive press kit featuring:
    • High-quality EPK (electronic press kit) with bio, discography, and relevant info.
    • Professional photographs of yourself or the band.
  2. Radio-Ready Mixes: Prepare unique radio mixes for your tracks, ensuring they’re optimized for terrestrial broadcasts.
  3. Why Your Music Will Resonate with Radio Listeners: Highlight the distinctive elements that set you apart from others in your genre.

Getting Started: Tips and Tricks

Here are some essential tips to get you started:

  1. Research Target Stations’ Submissoins Policies: Familiarize yourself with each station’s submission guidelines, if any.
  2. Make Connections: Reach out to DJs or programming directors at target stations through social media platforms like LinkedIn or industry-specific groups.
  3. Build Relationships: Establish trust by sending introductory emails or voicemails highlighting your music and why it’d be a great fit for their audience.

Promoting Your Music

In addition to building relationships with radio professionals, focus on the following promotional strategies:

  1. Social Media Campaigns: Leverage platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to promote your tracks.
  2. Live Performances: Showcase your skills through concerts, gigs, or festival appearances – these often garner attention from local press outlets.
  3. Online Radio Stations and Podcasts: Target online stations and podcasts that align with your genre for additional exposure.

Tracking Progress and Follow-up

After submitting your music to radio stations:

  1. Follow Up Politely: Reach out to the station after 4-6 weeks, politely inquiring about the status of their consideration.
  2. Monitor Charts and Airplay Reports: Track chart-topping tracks, airplay reports, or weekly spin counts to gauge interest and adjust your strategy accordingly.


Securing airplay for your music requires a multifaceted approach that involves understanding radio stations’ demographics, crafting winning pitches, making connections, promoting your work through various channels, tracking progress and follow-up. By incorporating these elements into your strategy, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting heard by the right people – potentially leading to significant career advancements in the industry.