Campus and Community radio is a great way to gain exposure in your local market as well as across the country. Unlike mainstream commercial stations that stick to a rigid playlist format, campus DJ’s are often free to play what they want, and encouraged to showcase independent music.
Here are a few simple steps for putting together your own DIY Campus Radio campaign.
Step 1) Determine Your Target Markets
Pressing CD’s, printing one-sheets, and buying postage can add up pretty quickly. Unless you’re touring nationwide, you’ll likely want to be selective with your mailout. Target the stations where you think you’ll make the biggest splash.
For most bands that includes their hometown and surrounding areas, as well as markets where they tour.
Step 2) Prepare Your Mailout
A radio mailout generally consists of two things:
The Album– One of the last area’s of the music industry where physical CD’s are still preferred (or required) over digital files. Send an unpackaged copy of your album, with a label that lists:
- Artist/Band Name
- Album Title
- Description of your sound and RIYL (Recommended If You Like…) reference artists
- Focus track or single
*Some stations also appreciate if you mention songs that have profanity
Artist One-Sheet- A one-page document that gives the DJ or programmer some quick-hit information on your band. This includes:
- Promo photo
- Brief band bio
- Press quotes
- Album info (title, genre, release date)
- Track Listing
- Tour dates
- Resources (website, social media, etc.)
Step 3) Collect Mailing Information
Once you’ve selected your target markets, you need to collect mailing addresses. If you know the show or DJ best suited for your music, you can address your mailout directly to them. Otherwise you can address your mailout to the music or program directors.
A great resource for tracking down station information is the National Campus and Community Radio Association membership list.
Step 4) Mail Away!
Generally the best time to send your mailout is two weeks ahead of your album release date.
Step 5) Follow-up Phone Calls
Follow up by calling the music director 1-2 weeks after your mailout to see how your album is doing. You can use this call to give a quick pitch about your album, and track it’s progress.
Most stations keep tracking hours (certain days & times each week), where the program or music director fields these types of calls. You can find most station’s tracking hours on their website or by phoning in and asking.
Step 6) Track the Charts
If your album is really doing well and getting a lot of spins, it might hit the charts! You can often find chart information on individual station websites.
The best and most efficient resource for tracking campus and community radio charts is Earshot. They track charts from across the country and update them on their website every Tuesday. You can also find the chart toppers at the back of Exclaim! magazine every week.
If you have any steps that we missed, or tips that have helped your mailout, please post them below. Best of luck with your DIY radio campaign!