Radio Festival 2019: What we learned

‘It’s still quite important for artists and they still get quite excited when they hear their songs on the radio,’ says BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter Snoochie Shy.

On Monday 13 May the annual Radio Festival took place at the British Library in London.

The event gathers together industry expert speakers, practitioners and emerging talent for a range of panels and networking opportunities.

Radio Festival 2019 featured figures from across the industry including Zoe Ball, Simon Mayo and Frank Skinner.

Other featured speakers included Transmission Roundhouse’s Station Manager Niccy Logan, BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter Snoochie Shy and head of audio and digital for BBC England Chris Burns.

We caught up with these experts at the festival to learn about the continued relevance of radio to artists and how they can get played by stations…

You can’t beat the human connection…

Niccy Logan (NL): I think because people trust people. So, people trust their opinions and that’s still the biggest way of sharing and marketing yourself is through word of mouth, and radio is still just an extension of that really. While streaming platforms are huge within such a juggernaut there is nothing like someone you really respect telling you, “you should listen to this artist, you’re gonna love this.” Nothing can beat that kind of human connection that people have with broadcasters.

There’s nothing like hearing your song played on the radio…

Snoochie Shy (SS): I think radio still relevant because we’re pushing out their music constantly, to a wide audience as well. So I think artists, they want their song premiered on radio. People can have their records become record of the week, so they get played every day. It’s still quite important for artists and they still get quite excited when they hear their songs on the radio. You might be sat in the car, like, “oh my god.”

Grassroots radio is important for emerging artists…

Chris Burns (CB): My role is heading up the local radio group and my main responsibility if for the local radio strategy and various radio stations are living by that strategy. I think why it’s still important for musical artists is because music makes up 40 percent of our output. We’ve got initiatives like BBC Introducing, we have a lot of local music programmes and that play music that has to be native to the area. For all those reasons, I personally believe local radio is very important.

Want to get radio airplay? Make connections…

NL: Most presenters really have their ear to the ground in their specialism that they’re really interested in. They have a lot of people sending them music on whatever social platform they’re on. Nothing can beat that. I would caveat that with, build the connection first, don’t just cold email them.

CB: I think it’s building a connection with one or two people on the station, making them your friend and actually doing some of the thinking for them before you get there.

Do your homework…

SS: Take note of each DJ on radio and what they’re doing and find their email addresses. Then send your music to them. I’ve obviously got an email that I accept music submissions to. I go through them all and if I like your songs, I’ll play it. You don’t have to have a certain number of followers and you don’t necessarily have to have had your music played before. If I like it, I’ll play it.

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