Radio Gaga

Radio airplay is like the story of the chicken and the egg. If your CDs don't sell, your music won't get on the radio. If your band doesn't get airplay, the chances of your CD selling are slimmer than Paris Hilton on a tapeworm diet. So with all the stations bragging they've got the "new music first" all the time, why is it so hard to get on the radio?

"It's a competitive market, and it's a cutthroat business," says Lorrie Smith, a music industry insider and organizer for Music Paths, a Valley-based company that conducts workshops for musicians. "These [stations] receive thousands of CDs every day. There's a lot involved, and the bands don't understand -- they're just mad, like, 'Why isn't my song on the radio?'"

Music Paths can tell you why. It's putting on a workshop called "Radio Airplay 101." The workshop provides a slew of tips and "five simple steps" to get your group on the dial. Attendees receive a CD-ROM containing information about all commercial and college radio stations, plus the chance to put their CDs into potentially helpful hands. "The Edge [103.9 FM] is infamous for getting Authority Zero and The Format signed," says Smith. "Radio airplay is a big part of that -- when you can get a local station behind local bands, that makes a big difference."

Coincidentally, Edge music director and radio personality Robin Nash is among the speakers. Other speakers include Larry Mac (98 KUPD), "Chita" (KPLX in Tucson) and Dylan Marshall (KZLG in Flagstaff). Aaron Carey, co-owner of Studio Z Pro, will provide insight on production quality. Courtney Proffitt, a former executive with both BMG and ViaStar, will speak about distribution, while the DJs will discuss demos. "I think one thing they'll stress more than anything is the quality of the recording," Smith says. "When you're recording in your basement, no one's going to take you seriously."

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea