Care to Share?

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A radio friend of mine pointed out something just the other day that we see a lot of – but what we see is usually one-sided.

What my friend was concerned about was the totally oblivious attitude that more and more musicians are taking toward those who help them out in their career growth.

My friend is bluegrass disc jockey with a long tenure in the industry, a loyal audience on a daily basis and a powerhouse broadcast facility. They routinely interview and broadcast live from their studio or remote locations. They’ve featured everyone from the hall-of-famers to those who will one day be in the halls of fame. Many of the guests on the station have later been contacted by booking agents, festival promoters and others who can advance their careers directly because of these broadcasts.

Now, it’s safe to say that the musical guests that appear and interview have a great understanding of the value of such an opportunity. They know the strength of the radio station and the popularity of the show. They know there are going to be new fans generated. They WANT this opportunity to be on the air.

What some may not realize is that these broadcasts just don’t happen the moment we switch on the radio and there they are – On the Air! There are weeks of planning and staging that go into each of these broadcasts. There’s all the scheduling and rescheduling, on-air promotional announcements for days or even weeks ahead of the broadcast and social media sharing.

Usually the station will start with a broadcast schedule on their own website. Then they’ll begin adding teaser blurbs on Facebook and elsewhere about so-and-so musical guests will be appearing on the air. Even the individual interviewers on the station will also add the upcoming guests’ appearances, dates and times, on their personal Facebook pages and personal blogs. After the live show has aired, the taped shows are repackaged and re-promoted for future broadcasts in a duplication of actions mirroring the original promotions. All of this is done to try to build even bigger audiences – something extremely beneficial for the guests.

Now here’s the rub: Just take a look at any of the featured artist’s websites, Facebook pages or Twitter pages and you’ll usually see a void of any news about their appearance on the radio. Sometimes after the fact we might see a little thank you posted … “Had a great time on the air today with …” Well, the thank you is a nice gesture, and not to belittle the act, but there is a lot more that could be done to say thank you with actions rather than words.

Here are some tips for any artist about to get a radio interview that will help endear you to the host and help to get you asked for return visits:

First, as soon as your on-air date is confirmed, post a quick note to your friends via email, Facebook and tweet it to give them a heads-up. If you maintain other sites like Band Camp, Bandzoogle, Reverbnation etc. etc. where you can update your status…do so with your radio news. On your own website, put something up that announces the interview, the station call letters, location, frequency on the dial and if they stream, the URL for the feed.

The URL may be the most important piece of information you can pass along. Remember that very few of your global fans will be living in the vicinity of the radio station’s coverage area and could never in a million years pick up the signal over the air. But they can hear the show live on the Internet. Two things are extremely important to remember here – most ALL radio stations also stream their signal on the Internet these days and most ALL of us have computers, tablets, mobile devices, etc. with which to tune in to the Internet Stream of your On-Air Interview.

You can put these things in a blog format if your website has that capability or you can add it to your touring schedule, your appearance calendar or any number of ways. Even duplicate the message if you have a blog, a calendar and a schedule … why not put it up on all of them? If you send out a regular newsletter, include the radio interview news. If it’s a big deal, like the very first time you’re going to be on the Satellite or you’re actually Guest-Hosting a popular radio show, consider sending out a full-blown, formal press release and get other media to pick up the story for you.

Next, depending upon how far out the date is, post additional reminders on social media. The shelf-life of any social media post is not that long and gentle reminders never hurt even if it is repetitious. “…I knew that…but I forgot….wish they’d reminded me….” How many times have you heard that?

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your friends to share the news about your interview on their websites and social media sites. It’s what sharing is all about – the meaning of “social media”.

Radio is all about listeners. Listeners make the radio world go ’round. Sure, there are going to be some natural listeners that already know about the station, but without the ability to garner new listeners on a constant basis, radio would not exist for very long. Public attitudes, tastes, likes, and dislikes are a fickle commodity. People drift away for a myriad of reasons, so constant re-supplying of the audience pool is mandatory. They’re interviewing you, the Musical Guest, in an attempt to capture some of your fans as new listeners.

If your interview is truly going to be beneficial to both you, the artist, and the radio station, your power to share will generate all the good will you can imagine.

While this piece has dealt with radio, everything here is also true for any other help one might receive from other sources. You can share news of a CD review, a feature story in a newspaper, a blog posting, comments from those in influential positions that are favorable toward your music, etc.. etc. Helping those who help you is a fundamental rule of success.

Have a great BLUEGRASS day!

Brian McNeal
Prescription Bluegrass Radio Host & Blog Editor

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