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How Does College Radio Promotion Work?


How does college radio promotion work? We're so glad you asked.

Our college radio promotion campaigns last about ten weeks. Here's a breakdown of what happens during a typical project.


What do we submit to college radio?

We begin by sending physical CDs to the 50 stations we've deemed most critical to a given project. They are packaged up with love from our shipping warehouse in San Francisco and sent to college radio stations all over the US and Canada. Typically these are stations that have heavy NACC rankings (NACC is the body which tracks and compiles college radio charts) and are relevant to our client's market and niche.


We also build each record we promote an EPK (electronic press kit) that we send out as digial submission to every NACC-reporting station, the ones who received physical and the ones who didn't.


Here's what a typical EPK looks like:



As you can see, it includes the following:

1. Add date, which is the date we ask stations to add a given release to their library

2. An easy place to download and stream the music

3. relevant release info like label and genre

4. a photo

5. tour dates (especially important if you're looking to set up an in-studio performance or ticket giveaway on tour!)

6. recent press

7. social media link

8. RIYL (recommended if you like)


We link to these in our pitch emails to music directors so there's an easy place for them to get all the info they need.


How do we get spins on college radio?

After making sure all the stations music directors have received whatever music we're sending out that week, we set to work calling to ask them the following:


  1. What did they think of the record?

  2. Will they please add it to their station's music library?

  3. Will they please give it some spins?


We spend a lot of our energy learning about different stations, like what genres their music directors are most into, what other DJs are at the station who might specifically like our client's music, what additional content formats they have (for example, some stations have cool email newsletters where they feature different artists) and keeping track of the relatively consistent turnover in college radio DJs, since some DJs are only on air for a year or less.


By paying attention to these details and maintaining a giant data-set of their information, we're able to ideintify the best opportunties for our clients to get played on air and ideally lock in additional opportunities like on-campus live performances, on-air interviews, ticket giveaways, and more.


How do we keep track of radio adds and spins?

We use a couple of different services. The first one is NACC, which I mentioned before - they have a paid service where they send out weekly charts to people promoting and tracking music on college radio.


We also use Spinitron, where we can search for spins by artist, station, and album and even see the time of day something was played, which helps us connect artists directly to specific DJs who are spinning their records.


We also get info about which stations have added and spun directly from music directors via phone and email.


We compile this info biweekly and share it with our artists along with content ideas, station social accounts we want them to follow and thank, and other ideas for maximizing the benefit of radio play.


What makes our college radio promo different?

  1. We put heavy emphasis on helping our bands connect with stations in their local market, where they can reach local music fans and help build their hometown community.

  2. We help artists plan and execute content to help them connect with fans of the stations spinning their music all over the country. We do this with digital station IDs, collab post giveaways on IG, and by making sure our artists connect with and thank every college radio station who adds them directly.

  3. We take pride in being one of only a handfull of radio promoters who still call campus radio stations. Everything from our personal phone calls to our shiny red envelopes is designed to make our clients records stand out and get the attention and radio play they deserve.


Do you have questions we didn't cover here about how college radio works? Want info about how to get on our spring 2024 roster? Shoot us a note to Cass@littleredradio.com



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