Do Local Stations Play Local Music, Anymore?
I heard a conversation recently, about how there’s no music scene in the MOV. How, in larger cities, radio stations play the local music all the time, and people support local music.
Did you know we have local radio stations/shows throughout the MOV that are playing local music, and supporting our awesome music scene? It’s true. Here’s how to hear your favorite local music on them, and submit your own music to them.
First off, Joni Deutsch, all things awesome gal (Assistant Producer for NPR’s Mountain Stage & Host of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s A Change of Tune on 88.5FM) outlined some great advice, based on her years of working in Public Broadcast Radio:
"We’re all passionate about the local music scene. It’s why I’m writing about it, and it’s why you’ve clicked into this article. Being someone who’s on both sides of that #WVmusic coin (both as a public radio music host/producer and an everyday fan/listener), let me offer a few suggestions on supporting local music when it comes to radio airplay on local programs like A Change of Tune.
If you’re a local musician…
Make sure to have at least one radio-ready song under your belt. When I say “radio-ready,” I mean a song that is a finished product that adequately represents your sound. It doesn’t matter if the music is mp3 or wav, or if it’s sent via digital download or physical CD. Just make sure the file comes with a few things: a one-page biography (or even just a couple sentences about the song, the act, and the act’s latest release), at least one standard (or even hi-res) image of the act (with photo credit), and lyrics to the music (so the radio host knows if something needs to be bleeped).
Do your radio research. When you have a song or record that’s ready to be sent off, make sure to figure out where exactly it should go. For instance, you’re welcome to send your release to every local music host in the valley, but a punk rock song probably won’t get any spins on an R&B show. Likewise, it’s a harder task to get your music on a commercial radio station as opposed to a public radio or college radio station. As such, look for programs and radio hosts that would be likely to listen and play your music. Once you find their contact information (email/physical address, with Facebook messenger as the very last resort), send them a little note letting them know who you are, what kind of music you play, and why you think your music will fit on their show (along with the music materials I mentioned in the previous bullet point). In the case of Mountain Stage, we’re looking for great singing and songwriting from acts that can perform just as well in front of a large group of people.
Wait it out. Due to the large number of music submissions we receive, radio hosts might not be able to send a response or confirm airplay of the submission. Just give it a few weeks and, if you don’t hear anything, try one follow-up note to see if the host needs more music or information. And when you do get some airplay, make sure to hype it up on social media to point your music fans to that program or music host.
And if you’re a fan of local music…
By all means, share your music recommendations! Send us a tweet, email, letter, etc. Whatever you send, make sure it includes the band’s name and a link to their music (or even their website). Geeking out is infectious, and I love discovering new music from my program’s listeners.
And if you believe local radio programs are doing a good job supporting local music… remember to show them some love! Share their radio program information on social media or make a financial gift to ensure their programming stays wildly, wonderfully local. In some cases, programs that air local music are found on non-commercial stations, which are dependent upon listener support to continue their eclectic playlists."
Here’s the WV Public Radio’s schedule: http://wvpublic.org/schedule/week
Aaron Crites (also known as Professor Crites at WPKM 96.3 FM The Beet in Parkersburg/WVU-P) agrees with Joni’s advice. “Bands that want to get their music on our radio need to send demos (well-produced ones) to the radio email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).”, he shares. And while Crites says MP3 is the preferred format at The Beet, they’ll also accept CDs in the mail (address on their website).
“We will give it a listen and if it meets our approval, we will get it to the appropriate DJ for play. If not, we try and contact bands to let them know what they can do to get their tracks ready.”
While Professor Crites’ show personally focuses on rock or heavy metal, there are other theme shows throughout the week’s schedule at WPKM. Take a peek at their schedule and find the best match (and DJ) for what you want to play and/or listen to:
As a music fan, you can make requests directly through the website, and The Beet will do their best to accomodate. And if you do want to reach out to Aaron directly about metal or rock music, you can email him: email@example.com
Aaron also mentioned another great station/show, based in Charleston, called The Afternoon Show and The Status Quo, at 88.1 FM, WTSQ. Just like The Beet in Parkersburg, WTSQ also shares a variety of music with its listeners. We caught up with Josh Gaffin, host of The Status Quo, to learn more of his perspective…
Josh Gaffin, host of The Afternoon Show on 88.1 FM WTSQ in Charleston, shared similar advice for music lovers who want to hear their/local music on the radio, plus he shared a few other nuggets to support music by:
“Don’t assume anyone knows who you are, even if you’ve been playing for years”, Josh mentioned. Gaffin, who is originally from New York, doesn’t have the luxury of necessarily knowing some of the talent that has grown up playing right here for years.
Josh also has guests on his show regularly (Michelle will quite possibly be talking with Josh about HTN next week, as a matter of fact), and prefers to talk about WV arts related news (music, events, art, etc.). And he loves to hear musical requests from local bands, as well as music fan listeners.
“(Bands) Reach out to me (at a minimum) and tell me you have shows coming up in Charleston (and ask if I can share about your show), send me a link to a digital file-because especially if you’re from WV, I may not play your band regularly…but if you’re from the area and you’re good, I’ll have you on my show to talk about your music and your band.” Josh will even let you play live on the show, if you’d like. No matter the genre, if you’re from WV, he wants to hear from you.
“Artists can’t be bashful, just send me a message on Facebook (through the Afternoon Show Facebook page)…”, Josh shared…and because of their focus on WV, he added “If you’re from WV, I’m gonna give it attention.”
WTSQ has a great variety of music and theme shows on their station, and Gaffin is proud to be sharing it. “Holly and the Guy, Of the Dell, Christian Lopez, The Company Stores, Qiet-these are some of the best bands in the world, not just here (in West Virginia)”
When it comes to who you should reach out to: “If there’s a jazz band, they should reach out to (DJ) Rafael Barker who does the Sunday night jazz show”, for instance. “If there’s a local show that plays the genre your band plays, reach out to them.” just as Joni suggested, above. WTSQ also has a metal show (Harry's Heavy Metal Haven, Saturdays from 10PM-midnight), a reggae show, and a very popular ska show.
To see WTSQ’s full schedule, go here:
So there’s a few options for helping to build up our local music scene. Now that you know we are actually an area that supports and plays local music, please support these stations and hosts, give them love, and share some great music with them.
“It’s all one big scene, and we need to celebrate the scene.”…” We’re an extension of each other.”-Josh Gaffin, WTSQ, The Status Quo.
Can’t get the stations to play on your own radio? Download their apps through their websites, and/or stream live:
WV Public Broadcasting App: http://wvpublic.org/wvpb-app
WTSQ App: http://wtsq.org/wtsq-app-available-now/
Stream WPKM Live: http://wpkmradio.com/listen-now/
**Update-WOUB in Athens, also plays local music throughout the evenings, from 7-10 PM. The show is called Crossing Boundaries. Stream them live, here:
Also, WCLG, 100.1 in Morgantown has a Sunday evening show (9-10PM) called WCLG Homegrown:
WMUL (Marshall, Huntington, WV), 88.1 FM also works local music throughout their broadcasts, and is always seeking quality local music to play.
Here's their schedule: http://www.marshall.edu/wmul/programming-schedule/
Here's a link to their livestream: http://www.marshall.edu/wmul/
And this fella is taking your submissions/requests: Nathan Thomas ( NathanWMUL@GMX.com ). Nathan runs the music department, and is also live on the air on Tuesdays, from 6-8PM