Broadcasting, Broadcast, The Music Scout (Alternative)

The Music Scout (Alternative) - September 2023

Author: Jay Goldberg

I have been writing about station programs and press releases with the goal to increase listeners and potentially bring revenue opportunities.  Well, this month I will write about another program which has promotion opportunities using both press releases and social media.

When indie artists play live at local establishments they know that the more people at the establishment when they are performing, the better the chance to secure additional gigs there. I'm going to outline a program for your radio station that can work in a similar way, meaning not only will it provide programming and topics for your press releases, but it will also enlist indie artists to work their social media networks on your behalf.  And I'm not talking about in a passive way, but actually reaching out more personally because the program is centered on them.

I'm talking about “artist takeover shows.”  My suggested format for artist takeover shows is to start and end the show with a song from the indie artist and in between play songs already on the station that the featured artist likes. Up next, I will write about the structure and process for the show using Live365 tools.

The easiest way to create these shows is to use the playlist features. Contact the indie artist and let them know what you are planning to do as long as they can give you some time and some simple voice recordings. First, find out what songs or artists on your station that the indie artist likes. To ensure you have enough for a few shows if needed, and so that you can program a good flow of music, get 75 to 100 songs. This will also keep the show a surprise to the artist (not knowing the songs you select). Then ask them for a total of 9 voice recordings: 3 intros, 3 for the middle of the show, and 3 for the closing.  I've had artists take both straightforward and fun approaches.  

Straightforward approach example:

  • “I'm xxxx (from the band xxxx – if needed), you're listening to <name of radio station> and for the next hour I'm taking over the station. All songs that follow are some of my favorites played by this station. In fact, let's start with one of mine.”
  • “I hope you're enjoying the show, stay tuned for another of my songs at the end of the hour.”
  • “Up next is the last song for this show, and it's one of mine.  I hope you enjoyed my show.”

Fun approach example:

  • “I'm xxxx (from the band xxxx – if needed), and I' just locked <name of dj or station owner> in the closet. So I'm taking control. No one else is due here for an hour so sit back and enjoy the music I play. In fact, why not, I'll start with one of my songs.”
  • “<name of dj or station owner> if you stop banging on the door, I'll do you a favor and play one of your station promos”, then back to the music.” <you could add a banging on the door sound effect>
  • “<name of dj or station owner>, I'll play one more of my songs and then I'll let you out, no harm, no foul, right?”

A few more important points: First, after the middle comment, I would have a promo informing listeners about the music you play on the station or specific show times.  Next, assuming you do one of these takeover shows a week, I would make it a “King” of the Hill contest. To go full circle with what indie artists expect when playing live, the indie artist whose show has the highest ratings (most listeners) gets to have another show the following month. I would inform them that three shows is the max (hence the 9 recordings and expanded number of song selections – so you only have to interact with them once). And if they win three in a row you could give them some kind of award, from a certificate to t-shirt that says the artist won the indie artists “King” of the Hill contest on your station. Oh, and if an indie artist gets you lots of listeners you may want to think about giving them a regular show on your station. The additional show the following month should serve as an incentive for the indie artist to actively promote their show.

To wrap up, write press releases for these shows and in addition to the online distribution from the press release service, email it to the indie artist and ask them to email it to people they know and to use the information for social media posts. Finally, a show that centers on indie artists and has them tuning in is a good show for a sponsor who wants to support or sell to indie artists.  You can then add this show is 'sponsored by xxxx' to the three initial recordings by the indie artists.  This will generate brand loyalty from the indie artists and their musician friends who are tuned in since that company is supporting their show.

Now onto the music, this time with another theme for you to guess.

“Losing My Religion” by Abigail

A dance version of the R.E.M. classic. Abigail is known for creating high-energy dance versions of rock songs.  In addition to this song, she has dance versions of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Could It Be Magic,” “Constant Craving,” and more.

“That's the Way the War Was Won” by Your Vegas

How about a band that started playing together in grammar school in England, and in 2007 were one of the first bands chosen by Playboy Magazine as a “Rock the Rabbit” band. In 2010, they changed their name to The Chevin.

“The City Sleeps” by MC 900' Jesus

MC 900' Jesus is Mark Thomas Griffin out of Dallas, Texas.  This song won "Shriek of the Week" on WDRE, the new wave station I listened to in the 80s and 90s.  This song is about an arsonist who lights the fires while the city sleeps.

“Moon” by Telquist

Telquist was sent to me from a record label in Sweden. It's a very catchy tune. The title of the song and the line “time has come, the moon, the moon” really fit the theme. Do you think you know what it is? The next song gives it away.

“The Stand” by The Alarms

This song is about Stephen King's book The Stand. Now for the theme of the song set. The first song was by Abigail, who of course in the book was the name of the character who represented God's camp.  The devil's camp, run by The Walking Dude (Randall Flag), who is mentioned in this song, was in Las Vegas (Your Vegas). The minute I heard “The City Sleeps” with the arsonist my thoughts went to Trashcan Man who set fires on his trip from Indiana to Vegas (he is also mentioned in this song). And of course “Moon” represents Tom Cullen who is mentally handicapped, spells everything M-O-O-N and is told to remember when he sees the full moon, the time has come for him to leave Las Vegas and return to God's camp. He was sent there to give them intel on what Randall Flagg was doing. (And a hidden clue was that 'king' was capitalized and put in quotes for the mention of "king of the hill.")

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