Radio Promotion: How does it work? by Local9

WARM’s Founder & CEO, Jesper Skibsby, had the pleasure of catching up with Martin Véronneau, the President & CEO of the Canada-based PR agency Local9. They discussed DIY radio promotion, the impact of a song’s language on its radio airplay in Quebec, and how new services (including WARM) have changed and optimized the way PR agencies work nowadays.


Language quotas in Quebec

When thinking about getting a song on air in a foreign country, many often forget that “other country” is synonymous with “other language”. English is spoken worldwide - yes - but that doesn’t mean German or Vietnamese radio stations will prioritize it over local-speaking songs. It’s actually the contrary. For example, radio stations in Quebec, a French-speaking province of Canada, are required to play at least 65% of French music. A song is considered “French” if at least 50% of the song + 1 second is sung in French. This means that only 35% of a radio’s overall airplay can be in other languages, and the only artists to make the cut are quite often the famous ones (Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, etc.). 

In other words, it is difficult to make it onto the radio in Quebec if you are an upcoming English-speaking artist. To easily pass the quota net, create alternative versions of your English-speaking songs - create French or bilingual versions of the song for the radio. An effective way to get the job done is to collaborate with local artists. Not only will they speak French, but they might also know the local radio scene better than you. These radio language restrictions are also true in France, so your alternative version will be very useful to get on air in Quebec and in France: kill two birds with one stone!

Key aspects to plan your radio promotion

Radio promotion is a valuable tool to move an artist’s career forward, but only if it is approached in the right way. Radio promotion has an ecosystem of its own. May you be considering DIY radio promotion or looking to hire an external promoter, in both cases you need to do your research. It will help you understand how it works and what to expect if you get in touch with a PR agency:

  • Keep in mind that thousands of songs are released weekly, and radio promoters are in no way obliged to work with anyone in particular. Don’t take them for granted or underestimate their workload.
  • Use your (and the radio promoter’s) time efficiently. Contact only those who are specialized in your kind of music.
  • It’s all about relationships. It’s important to have a close and trusting relationship with radio promoters. They actually prefer to work with fewer artists so as to be more involved.
  • Like in any other relationship, it’s important to have a solid foundation. Discuss opportunities and future plans; listen to the radio promoter’s recommendations. And by no means, avoid making it only about money: “Hi, I’ve got a song coming out soon. How much does it cost to get it on the radio?

***If you absolutely want an estimate of how much an agency can charge for a radio promotion campaign, here is Local9’s price range: $2,000 - $3,000.


WARM makes radio promotion easier

From an outsider’s perspective, radio promotion is about getting a song on the radio - yes. But it’s not that simple. It’s about getting it on the right radio stations, taking the time to convince the director of each radio station, following-up on submissions, asking if the song was played - if yes when? And here is where you will start finding WARM very helpful. WARM allows you to find out if your song was played on a particular radio without having to make a phone call, write an email or organize a meeting. If the airplay takes place, WARM will give you detailed information about it. Everything is available on your WARM Dashboard: at what time the song was played, for how long it was on air, on which radio station it was played, in which region, in which country, in which city, and on what kind of radio (FM, web, or college).

“WARM has been a real game charger for us over at Local9.”

Go full independent

The industry has evolved over the years and the DIY culture is stronger than ever. So much so that you can now produce, release and promote a song without leaving your room! Want to own a TV channel? Start a Youtube page. Want to release your music? Send it to DSPs in a click. Want to get your music on the radio? Reach out to radio directors and establish solid relationships (they are people after all). Opportunities are out there, one just has to choose the path that fits one’s goals best. Like in any other industries, if you are serious about your career you will have to invest time to learn and find the right tools that will help you best. And as usual, investing money in your business is also part of the process, so make sure you do it efficiently to make the most of your resources! In the long run you will have a team in charge of promotion, another in charge of touring, and so on, so it’s much better to get a clear understanding of these different departments first before putting someone else in charge of them! 

Check out the full interview below ⤵️


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