Let’s Get Radio Ready: Tips for the Indie Artist To Get On FM Frequencies

Written by on May 18, 2017

Radioactivity and the Indie Artist!

I am a DJ at a community station in Denver/Boulder (among other media outlets), about 2-4 time a month. Community radio operates differently than commercial radio, but everything that hits the FM frequencies has to be compliant with FCC regulations or be fined or even be denied access to the airwaves. Community radio stations are SO important in that they are supported by listeners and organizations rather than commercial and allow the DJ to create and broadcast.Community radio provides organic taste-making and letting the DJ do what the DJ should do. its magnificent and allows opportunity for the Indie artist, presuming that the Indie Artist’s music is radio ready

In my Inbox, not only do I have a lot of music from indie artists, not so many well written bios, EPKs, press releases etc., AND a good majority of this music is not radio ready. I DJ mostly on an FM frequency so if I play that “dirty” music, I risk the station’s license and I will not be invited to DJ on an FM frequency again. Nobody wants that. It is paramount to effectively interact with the FM radio aspect of your promotional mix: Let’s talk about having music that is ready to be on FM frequencies.

If you are an indie artist, being on radio is probably one of your goals. Internet Radio play is more attainable, and mostly has far less rigorous language and content standards due to they are not FCC regulates, but an artist cannot live on internet radio alone.

Not Radio Ready? What Did You Say About My Mama?

Please don’t get offended when a DJ says your song is not radio ready. It is not an insult. Anything on an FM frequency has to be in compliance with the FCC, which means that if your music is very graphic and profane, has poor production quality, and/or contains one if not all cuss words, there is NO chance that your music will be aired.

Being radio ready is a level of professionalism and it pertains to more than your music. Radio radio also encompasses your press materials. It’s more than just good look when you send dope marketing material to your press list. It lets media people know that you are serious about your craft and put in the necessary investment, work and research and that you are ready to be laid on their show/station immediately.

Radio Ready Tips:

Quality Production

The basement/closet studio recorded in the basement or worse yet in the shower, is convenient and inexpensive. Most of the time the result is not the best quality. Quality production is important for DJs and media people alike, so when this aspect is executed well, you are that much more appealing. No one wants to listen to poor quality music.

Cuss Words

You have two options in this regard. Don’t use them, which is asking a lot of some artists, or bleep them out. I bet the engineer that records your song can help you out with that if you ask… and hand him/her more money.

Graphic Content

Sex, drugs and violence are common reasons why music doesn’t make it to the FM frequencies. This is where the artist can be extra creative with metaphors and similes. I’m not saying everything needs to be conscious and positive message based, but make the effort not to be crass.

Fish where the fish are

In listening to corporate radio that last tip may not be apparent, however, there are different hoops to jump through to get on those stations and my gut feeling says it has something to do with money and prior existing relationships between stations and record labels… and MONEY

As an independent artist, you may want to set your sights on outlets other than corporate radio that are more receptive to the music you make, like college, public and community radio. Corporate radio will play you, but not on air. Trust you are getting played.


Just because you are the brand, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything. Outsourcing is always a great option so that you can focus on the artistry and things like radio edits are taken care of by people who are more familiar with what’s necessary to get that done properly. There are DJs, publicists and other media professionals who you can hire to do that.

Happy music marketing friends.

Community stations and DJs can’t and won’t take money to put you on the air. As that I am one such DJ, I only play music that I like when I’m on and I do it for free because I don’t have anyone telling me what I’m required to play, and that is a luxury as a Dj in the radio business. You can hire me as a consultant to help get you ready for airplay. That means that when you hire me, you will have fantastic marketing materials and clean music to send to DJs and indie radio stations nationwide. Visit my website http://www.thealishab.com and contact me for more information on how to leverage your art, publicity and come up with strong promotional strategies to market your work.

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