Pitching 101 with FBi Radio MD Amelia Jenner
Getting a song on your favourite radio station isn’t as simple as dropping off a CD and hoping the music director likes it – it’s all about perfecting that pitch to have your music considered for the station. Amelia Jenner, Music Director for FBi Radio, gives TMN some great tips for bands (and budding managers) who might not know where to start.
- Do your research
First off, Jenner says, know the playlist and the presenters. “It’s not super important to know exactly what’s being played on the station on a daily basis,” she says. “But a good understanding of the overall sound of the station and what sort of specialist programming they have will help you ensure you’re hitting the right people that will be generally interested in your music, and thus you’ll have more chance of getting played.”
For example, a good start for heavy bands looking for be played on FBI would be pitching directly to Dean Crowe and Alice Gifford who focus on showcasing punk, post-rock and hardcore music.
Nearly every station has specialist programs, which is why it is so important to understand what stations play to target your specific audience. You might know who the go-to presenter is at your local community station, but research their equivalents at each station you pitch to in other areas further from home.
- Simple streaming
And you’re not dropping off a CD-R any more – so what digital format works best? Jenner says it’s best to include both a streaming link and a download link. “We need to be able to listen to your music and then download it if we like it,” she explains. “If you include it in your initial email, it will create less back and forth and make the process easier for everyone.”
Stick to the mainstream online platforms for both, by the way. For streaming, Jenner prefers Soundcloud or Spotify “as they’re both so quick and easy”.
“Soundcloud is especially good if the track hasn’t been released as you can very easily send a private link.”
And for downloading, Jenner says “nothing beats Dropbox”.
“Bandcamp is great for streaming and downloading (if it’s free download) too, but generating a list of Bandcamp codes for downloading can get a bit confusing – in this case I’d just opt for something like Dropbox.”
- The one thing to avoid…
Your favourite radio presenter won’t appreciate being sent an Unearthed link for download – but it’s not because the little green drum is kind of the competition.
“As great as it is, Triple J Unearthed is not a good place for radio broadcasters to download your music from as the music files there are not broadcast quality,” warns Jenner.
“For tracks to be broadcast quality they need to be at least 320kps MP3 or WAV files.”
- Don’t underestimate the power of the radio
There are amazing communities around online music discovery platforms like SoundCloud and Unearthed, but radio is still one of the most important ways listeners discover their favourite new artists.
“In an increasingly disconnected world, people crave the one-on-one, personal nature of radio, which means thousands of people around the country tune into some kind of radio every week,” says Jenner. “That’s a lot of people that could be listening to your music. Also for a listener, hearing a radio presenter lovingly talk about your track is the sort of tick of approval that you don’t get from an online stream.
“It’s noisy out there. Radio weeds through the noise to bring listeners the best music every week. It’s a very trusted platform.”
- Follow the leader (a little bit)
Always make the music you want – deliberately sounding more like what’s already on the radio is not a recipe for success. But if an act counts the music director at FBi Radio as a fan, they might just be doing something right, so it’s worth taking a chance to see bands that are getting namechecks from broadcasters on that level, especially if they’re working in a similar vibe to your musical project.
Jenner’s current favourites? “So many! Neighbourhood Void, Post Motel, SK Simeon, DJ Plead, Rebel Yell, Kardajala Kirridarra, Enderie and Stella Donnelly, to name a few.”