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College Radio: The Most Important Radio Level for Musicians


For the self-promoting independent artist, the idea of takingon a radio promotion campaign can, in itself, becomeoverwhelming. But, this idea is usually based on such artistsattempting to obtain worldwide airplay on a local budget.

And, in doing so, self-promoting independent artists quicklydiscover another factor not usually considered previously...that engaging in a worldwide radio promotion campaigntranslates to hundreds and, possibly, thousands of CD unitsfor media contacts alone.

As you can see, this can also quickly become a nightmare forindie artists, particularly, if the promotion budget only allowsfor the purchase of 1,000-CD packages at a time.

Starting in the 1980's, college radio became a dominant forcein not only discovering independent recording artists, but alsoin introducing new artists to the general public. Hundreds ofthese particular artists have gone on to become established'household' names.

Likewise, the college radio level has a continued history ofpresenting, practically, all forms of music, much of whichwould never see the proverbial light of day at the commercialradio level and, in many cases, neither at the non commerciallevel.

Therefore, if an artist has limited funds for radio promotion, itis highly advisable that the he begin exclusively with collegeradio for the following reasons:

* Far easier and faster access to airwaves

* Far more plentiful specialty and mix shows and programs

* Greater chances for both in-studio and telephone interviewsto promote music releases

* More possibilities for station ID checks for further publicity

* Corresponding college campus newspapers that will morereadily accept and support music aired on their campusstations for creating a campus-wide buzz

* A ready and built-in market in the campus community forrepeated live performances to further support and supplementcampus airplay and campus press coverage

* An opportunity for grassroots distribution through supplyingboth campus bookstores and campus music stores withmusic releases

Is the college market a viable market for your music sales?

Though the question is rhetorical in nature, please review thebelow U. S. college population statistics:

* There are 631 public 4-year colleges and universities thathave a combined student population of 6,236,455.

* There are also 1,835 private 4-year colleges anduniversities with a combined student population of 3,440,953.

* Additionally, there exists 1,081 public 2-year colleges with acombined student population of 5,996,701.

* Even further, 621 private 2-year colleges host another253,878 students.

This brings the average U. S. student population total to awhopping 15,927,987 minimum every year. And, morepeople are attending some form of higher education thanever before.

Now, even the least popular music genres are certain to finda financial comfort zone with a market of almost 16 millionunique principals.

So, what results could really popular commercial musicgenres experience, simply by working the various entities ofthe college market, i.e., campus radio, campus press, campusbookstores, campus music stores, campus live performances?Quite pleasant ones, I would suspect.

But, remember! The above statistics only reference theUnited States college/university potential listenership. Collegeradio also has a respectable portion of listeners who are *not*students.

Add to that, listeners of college radio who strictly listen to thestreaming portion of college radio online, and who may, ormay not, be in the college's geographical area, i.e., militaryservice members.

Plus, there is lot more of the college market abroad, of whichU. S.-based artists would do well to approach English-speaking nations first, i.e., United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland,subsequently, moving into additional nations.

While it may (or may not) be true that it is possible forcommercial radio stations to be the primary driving forcebehind most retail sales, that theory may not be so validtoday, given the fact that:

* With the Internet, artists are no longer required to sell millions of CDs to make a great living financially

* Artists have greater and easier access to far more radiostations (broadcast, satellite, internet, college)

* With the college community, and all of its combinedpromotion and sales aspects (radio, bookstores, music stores,live performances), if conducted correctly, the college marketcampaign can equalize and, in some cases, even supersedecommercial radio results.______________________________________________

[---Additional Statistics---]

Top 10 College Enrollment:

Miami-Dade College (51,717)
University of Texas at Austin (50,616)
Ohio State University (48,477)
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (46,597)
University of Florida (46,516)
Arizona State University (45,693)
Texas A&M University (44,618)
Michigan State University (44,227)
University of Wisconsin Madison (40,912)
Pennsylvania State University at University Park (40,828)

(The above figures were reported in Almanac 2004-2005,published by the Chronicle of Higher Education,August 27, 2004.)______________________________________

What College Students Spend on Music:

According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, collegestudents spend $200 billion...that's right...BILLION dollarsper year, with 76% of the students having spent $2,746,000on music alone.

Note: As an added advantage, the self-promoting independentartist should also create an Internet radio promotion campaignsimultaneously, since most 'net stations are accepting of MP3files for airplay, thus, reducing packaging and shipping costsof CDs to stations.

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

About the Author:

Kenny Love is president of MuBiz.com, a radio promotion, media publicity and music business/career firm for musicians. He is also the author of "Explosive CD $ales Tips," as well as publisher of The B# Newsletter, a highly informative music business resource. Visit his website at http://www.MuBiz.com

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