Regardless of genre, radio airplay is still one of the key steps of marketing a band. It creates awareness and drives sales, and hopefully finds fans. Of course, being a metal band creates interesting waters to navigate through.
Iron Thrones received a radio promotion campaign as part of winning the No Label Needed contest and series. On a marketing level, radio promotion compliments a PR campaign very nicely. It’s all part of the puzzle to see a band online or in print and then to be able to hear the songs on the radio.
The first obvious hurdle is to find out which radio stations play metal. There is only one 24-hour radio station that plays metal, but there are plenty of college and commercial radio stations that play metal in blocks. Commercial stations will usually have one show per week, like KROX/Austin, for example. College radio stations may have block shows, include metal in their regular programming, or both. And of course, there are national outlets, like SiriusXM’s “Hard Attack” and cable service Music Choice that play metal all the time as well.
Similar to a PR campaign, you need to know who your fanbase is and be available to them. Metalheads know where to find music – whether it’s on on the internet, magazines, clubs or the radio.
Getting your music played on the radio isn’t an easy task, but it’s one that you can take into your own hands by learning who the DJ’s and music directors are in your town. You can find out as easily as going into shows or calling the radio station. Everything starts in your home market. For Iron Thrones these stations would be commercial stations like KXXR (93X) and college stations like KFAI and WMCN
As you tour the next best step is to promote your band in the markets you’re playing. Club promoters can often help as they work with many of these radio stations to promote their shows. In addition to attempting to get airplay, you can also try to do an interview to promote an upcoming show and possibly give away tickets. As with every facet of promotion, every fan you make from promoting yourself at radio should come with you on your career as a band.
In the interest of full disclosure, Metal Insider’s parent company, The Syndicate, has had a radio promotion division for over 12 years and uses all of the techniques described above.