Top 10 Voting and year end Voting

I have had a couple of discussions recently with a number of people, listeners and artists, about the top 10.  This week was a perfect example where one artist had a good lead over the next highest in voting at the end of the week.  Each week I use a combination of factors to determine the top 10 songs.  Lets start with that voting represents 40% of the contributors.  Song requests are another very important factor and they represent 40% as well.  The remaining 20% is based on a combination of information that I collect each week.  This information is the one element that I don’t make public.  Voting and requests can be manipulated, and I am not saying they are.  We ask fans to vote and make requests which gives the fans 80% control over who is the top 10 each week.  That final 20% is entirely based on the music, the artist or band and KB Radio.  This is a Top 10 for KB Radio, so non station related information is not relevant or counted in any way.

By doing things in this manner, it allows not only the fans to have a big voice in the decision, but it also leaves an element of surprise.  It is great to see the voting and the requests each week, so please don’t stop helping your favorites.

For the Year Ending Top 40 a similar system is in play.  The voting for this list will have 45% of the total towards the Top 40.  The requests are going to play a smaller part at only 25%, and while I have a record for all the requests, they go back to before we began our Top 10 lists.  This should offer some balance since some of the groups listed or others that could be written in may have been played and more popular on KB before we began the chart system.   This leaves 30% which again is based on the same criteria I didn’t tell you about before.

I try to keep things as open as possible and welcome any questions and comments.  You can comment here on the blog or send an email to kbradio@rogers.com.

Thanks

Al

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Announcements A Plenty!!!

Lets start with the KB Radio announcements.  First and foremost is that KB Radio will survive beyond the new year and for many years to come hopefully.  Although we are yet to reach our target in the fundraising, a very generous donor has come forward anonymously and purchased outright a crucial piece of equipment needed to keep operating.  There are no words to express the thanks I have for this, and everyone’s contributions so far to this cause.

Sticking with KB Radio, there will be a new option for voting for the Top 40 Indie songs for the past year on KB.  Voting will begin as soon as I can update the web-page.  There are approximately 60 names and songs on the voting list and of course there will be the option for write in votes also.  The top 40 will be based on a combination of votes, past requests and the usual tabulations.  Voting will be held from now until December 24th 2017 and the Top 40 Indie Songs of the Year will be brought to you on December 27th.  Hopefully a nice listening option between the hustle of Christmas and New Years.

Also coming to KB Radio is a new Indie show feature from Patrick, of Ghostly Beard fame.  He is going to be giving us the Ghostly Beard pick of the week, featuring a great indie artist that will in some cases may be a familiar name to KB listeners, and sharing some new names as well.  This will be starting Wednesday November 15th on our Indie Show, and we are excited to be including this feature on KB.

KB Country Radio

Starting Sunday November 19th there are two new shows coming to KB Country.  Every Sunday at 9pm we are pleased to be welcoming “The Real Texas Radio Show” to our airwaves.  This show is recorded live outside of a studio on stage at LSA Burger.  Hear great interview and live versions of great Indie Country artists.   Boxed around Real Texas Radio is a new Indie Show as well, hosted by myself Al Yardy and welcoming Veronica Phillips to the microphone as well.  We will do one hour before and after Real Texas Radio, showcasing great Indie Country artists as well and spotlighting one artist and their music each hour.  Everything begins at 8PM EST on November 19th.

KB AOR Album Oriented Rock

I am pleased to off a third listening option for music fans.  KB AOR goes back to the early days of FM radio for its styling.  It featured tracks off of great albums that you weren’t hearing on Top 40 or contemporary radio.  The stations were entirely music based, not focusing on the entertainment of the dj, but rather just great music back to back.  Let me correct that, great Rock and Roll.  The idea of Classic Rock evolved out of this Radio format, but if you recall the lyrics for the band “Bowling for Soup” and their tune “1985”, : “When did Motley Crue become Classic Rock?”   Will you hear tracks that may have been popular or hits?  From time to time you will, mixed in, but the focus is on the other tracks.  The bulk of the music will be from the late 60’s to the 90’s.  However, great albums from the 2000s will be added to the mix and looking at the option of including some great Indie Rock as well.  There are no intentions at this time to offer live shows, but anything is possible as time goes on.  

The Website is still in development, but you can listen to the stream here.  www.kbaor.weebly.com

Twitter: @KB_AOR_CAN

I am very excited about all of the new developments that are happening within the KB Radio family.  We encourage continued interaction and always welcome suggestions.

All music submissions for KB and KB country continue to come to live@kbradio.ca.

A huge thank you to everyone for the continued support and encouragement. 

Cheers

Al Yardy

 

 

How to get played on Radio: Part ?

 

I want to start by saying this is how I do business, this is how Radio in general does business. I don’t know how others who aren’t trained in station operations etc. or have no first hand experience in working in radio other than starting their own online station operate, but that’s not the group I fit into.

With all of that said, I want to focus on music from artists that have already been played on stations like KB Radio and KB Country. We have already looked at the differences between mainstream music releases and indie releases. When an artist releases an album or EP, the mainstream focuses on one song, and pushes it for success. Then will move on to a second and third etc, following the same pattern. With Indie music, when an album or EP is released, the indie artists for the most part don’t promote one song in particular. If my station will play one track and another plays a different track then that is fine with them. This, in many ways, is a great method of promotion in basically getting the band or artists name out. However, it can also lead to confusion or negative effects in the case of stations like mine.

There are only so many spots for songs to be played in a given day or week on KB Radio. I have often been told that the mix of songs and entire playlist is really good, and this is something that I take great pride in. This doesn’t happen by accident. I have a rotation that is based on songs fitting in different groups or categories, and rotating songs from each of these groups in a specific pattern. In two separate examples KB Radio and KB Country Radio have two very different lineups or categories of music and each station’s rotation is nothing like the other. Why is that, you ask? It is because it is based on target audience. I approach this completely as a business, although I make nothing from the effort, I will not put out some half cocked bullshit lineup that tries to appeal to everyone. I don’t lead my life that way either, because the bottom line is, you will never please everyone, so I never try to. If you don’t like the music we play, that is totally fine with me and with all due respect, I don’t care. That’s not arrogance, it’s just knowing my audience. You don’t put the NFL Channel on TV to get the latest hockey scores do you? So, if you tune in and don’t like the music, look somewhere else. It’s very simple really.

Okay, I have gotten a little off course, but I think it’s important to understand the operation of stations like mine. Knowing all of those things, let’s get back to the music being released. The bottom line is, Indie Artists, in many ways, are not releasing songs individually. This is where my problem starts to show itself, and I think artists start to slip off the radar when they are missing opportunities for further promotion. So, understanding that my music rotation is set in a specific way for it to function properly, also tells you that each category has a set or approximate number of songs for it to function properly. So, if as an example, Category A has 100 Indie songs in it, if I add 5 new tracks one week, that means 5 songs have to come out. Now again, understanding the system, not all songs come out completely from the rotation. There are options based on a number of reasons and circumstances that these songs will move into a different category instead of being moved out completely. Of course, with a move into a different category, it’s still 1 in equals 1 out. I often tell people how much time is spent each week on putting music into the rotation, and with the second station and the help from Veronica, who came on board a few weeks ago, we are putting in about 20 man hours a weeks just on that one task. On a typical Wednesday night after the Indie Show concludes, I then add the music and make all the lineup changes. That takes about 4 hours to complete.

So, if you are an artist and you sent me an album in July, as an example, and the song we played has done fairly well, but has run its course and ends up coming out of the rotation this week, what do I do with your album now? I know simple right? Just play another tune. So of the 50 new artists I added in the past week, and I ask this with the most sincere of intentions; do you really expect me to go through the list of each artist I have removed and look to see if I have more of their music? Then look to make sure it is something they are still promoting, and they haven’t possibly released something new that I haven’t heard about? Then from there, go through all of that music to find another song to help promote them? Let me ask you this; considering that I do work so hard to help promote Indie Artists, do you really think it’s my job to do all of that stuff? I will give you a hint, if you do, then please respond to this blog and tell me so I can remove all of your music from my system. I don’t have time for your arrogance! I work really well when we work together.

If you are tracking your music being played, which we make it very easy for you to do by live tweeting each song that’s played, then when you stop seeing those tweets, send me an email again saying “hey, can we look at getting another tune into the rotation”. If you sent me an album, you can remind me of that also, which honestly is a very simple thing, or just ask, did I send you the album?

Please, Please do not send me the message, “I guess I am no longer one of the popular kids”. I am not and have not been a teenager for a long time. Comments like these will get ignored or if I am in a bad mood, maybe a file showing just how often your music was played, dates, times” etc. and asking if you always act like a kid.

My current catalogue of Indie Music has more than 1000 artists, all of which have been played at one time or another. I apologize if I don’t remember every single one of them, but most days I don’t know what day of the week it is. If you don’t believe that, listen to one of my shows when I call it by the wrong name because I don’t even remember what I am playing at that moment.   LOL

One of the funny things about writing Blogs like this is that in the end, I usually feel like a real shit. I know that isn’t even reasonable, but somehow I feel guilty that I have to explain some things. I guess the easiest way for artists and bands to look at things is like this. Each station or podcast, reviewer or writer is different. We are no different from people you know in your personal life. You won’t talk politics or sex or religion or other topics exactly the same with everyone you know, so why look at this group of people like we are all the same. Get to know the people in the stations or podcasts etc. and work with them individually. Do some research about them and find out what they are doing for you. If you have a podcaster who is doing a segment once a week and you have an opportunity to get your music profiled each week, then use a calendar or anything to remind you. Touch base with that person to find out how often they will play your songs. Maybe you can get a weekly spin. Maybe they can’t because of how much music they get in. Who knows, but the only way you can help yourself is to learn. The old saying Knowledge is Power still holds true today.

I always look forward to comments about my writing, good or bad. Being honest and open doesn’t get you banned from my radio station. We won’t all get along or agree on everything, but being an outright asshole will. Just a thought to keep in mind before you write your response.

 

Cheers

 

Al

Never discuss politics, except:

There are only a few topics in my world that I don’t mention publicly. Politics is the biggest subject to avoid when I broadcast or write because it can be so decisive. A perfect example happened this morning with a friend who generally I can discuss anything with. Politics, not a chance. It is of course entirely caused by two different view points, but I like to think of myself in many ways as a neutral third-party.

When I get up in the morning I read through various news services about what is going on in the world. The service I use, will have the headline for a story and then offer multi other news sources for the same story. It is fascinating to read a story and see how many different variations there can be to the exact same subject. The thing I find most comical is that many of the people writing or giving these stories are too you to have enough experience to understand a lot of what they are talking about.

My debate this morning came down to the point about what is reported and what is not said. I maintain both sides are guilty. Everybody has an agenda and news no longer is an unbiased reporting of facts. If you want the whole youth, you won’t get it from any news service.

Case in point. The recent incident with US President and the soldier killed in action. Did he say what is reported, only three people know for sure. One side of the press is slamming the Democrat who was in the vehicle with the family. They report she was eavesdropping and doesn’t really know what was said. It was reported that the call was on speaker phone by one side. One side contends that the family member has not spoken out or agreed with what was claimed to have been said. The other side interviewed that family member who stated publicly it was exactly what was reported. Now John Kelly is slamming the Democrat as well, with the use of a racially insensitive comment. The bottom line in this, who cares what the President said. This an emotionally elevated time, and a climate where words are misunderstood or misspoke. Everyone should just shut the hell up and let this poor family grieve. What a freaking circus this has become.

It is not just in the US that this type of reporting and actions are taking place. Here in Canada it happens constantly and has for years. I read news from around the world, from local sources not from our perspective here in North America.  It happens and is happening everywhere, and there is no good that is coming or will come from all of this.

It was funny that one of the hot points and has been in discussions with other people is the perspective of basically cause and effect.  A government in many ways function like a business but are also extremely different.  What happens when a government in any country changes who is the governing party is often not immediately felt.  Every government will offer programs and platforms many of which are a long term in nature and implementation.  This leads us to the fact that changes are not always felt within the time one government is in power.  Some of these changes take years for the effects to be felt, and sometimes even are never felt because the changing government cancels the program as soon as they take power.  It is a tit for tat situation that is in no way effective for anybody.  Every political party has their own platforms and viewpoints, and the bottom line is that none is perfect.  Ideally a government that functioned properly would take the best of both parties and implement programs that are beneficial to the country and the population.   HAHAHAHA!  That will never happen anywhere, of that I am sure.  But here is what happens, with my thought that it takes time for some effects to be felt from changes.  But in a new government after 6 months or a year or even longer some times, if there are problems with the economy the party that is in power will say, this is from the previous government because it takes time for things to take effect.  If it’s a positive situation in the country the government will say it is their actions that have made the difference.

Its called spin and it is bullshit.  They are both right.  Some effect will be felt immediately, businesses react to different governments, stock markets, dollar values and many others will fluctuate with a change.  Once again if governments on all sides, and I wont just say both because in countries like here in Canada there are multiple political parties involved in government.

So is this blog about my discussion this morning.  Nope, though I am sure it will be disputed.  This blog is about some of the reasons I stay away from politics in my posts, and my broadcasts.  Despite the fact that in many countries it is stated that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as we see all over the world, it has become normal to clash when one group opposes an others viewpoint.  It really is a sad state for society when you think about it, but at the same time, not surprising.  Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame even if it is at the expense of others.

 

Submitting Music, updated!!

I have written about this to some degree in the past but with last weeks blog I wanted to do a brief update on some items in regards to submitting music.  I hate to say this but it is going to focus more on what not to do and suggestions to make all of our jobs and communications easier.  But I do have a list of suggestions, you just need to get through the rest first.  It really is relevant.

KB Radio will accept music of all kinds but it doesn’t mean it will all get played.  We don’t play rap, thrash metal, music that is out there.  I find it personally offensive when I put a song on and the first 10 words include fuck and n**ger.  I won’t even write that one,  I was raised in a time that everyone was told how ignorant that word was and what it meant and represented.  Now apparently it is some sort of fashion statement to call each other that, though if I used the term I am sure I would be deemed a racist.  LOL  Double standards.

I get a couple shows a week that we air, and if you have listened or looked on Twitter to see what it is, you would have no idea.  Now these shows are a bit different than getting music but it is the same problem I get with music.  The shows come in without labels on the actual files.  Now in the case of the shows, I download them, as they come in right into the file folder they need to be to go to air.  But let me ask you a question, and it is something i actually debated with another person recently.  A show, such as the Indie Music show which I air on Wednesday night and than replay that show at 2am the next morning.  To do so I record the show and than run that recorded file.  Now this show I make sure is labelled properly not only for my files, but so it displays correctly on twitter and that if for some reason that show were to go to another station, I could send it, and without any effort know what it is.   I get show files labelled like this  06181293; which I am sure makes perfect sense in their file system, but doesn’t mean shit to me.  Should I fix the name, simple enough or not.  LOL  I don’t really want an answer, because I don’t plan on fixing the file names, just how I am.

Now that scenario, imagine that times 10 or 50 or 100.  Let me back up a little bit though before we go to far.  When we sit down to listen to the new music for the week, we open the emails one at a time, read what is sent and than do two things, listen to the song(s) included and download the files.  We go through each email one at a time, making a list, gathering information and than on to the next one.  Now as i mentioned when discussing shows in the previous paragraph,  when I go back to prep the music for airplay I am finding frequently that many songs have little or no information on them.  I find it hilarious that I get music, that when I click on the file, their is no song name, no artist name, no information to make it recognizable as coming from any specific person, artist, or band.  These I have corrected and continue to correct, but to do so, it becomes a process of elimination, going back through the emails to find where the song was attached.

Even worse some times is the email that comes in, the subject says something like “Greetings” or “Hello”.  There is no message, no body, no names just the email address and a file.  I have discussed this with other stations and promoters, and many of them tell me, that if they get an email like that, they just delete the email, never listening to the music.  In the world of Independent music you have to be your own biggest promoter.  How do you plan on getting your name out there, if you don’t even introduce yourself, or sign your emails.

I find it personally frustrating when I see emails like this, and music without proper labels etc.   Let me give you an analogy that I learned personally as a teen.  I used to work in gas stations, full serve and self serve, and when it was my shift I was responsible for what was pumped.  In the self serve, someone would pump $10.02 or $20.01 and come in and drop a $10 or $20 bill.  But what about the pennies?  The answer I always got was, “it’s only a penny or two.”  That is exactly right for them, but for me, watching some days a couple thousand cars go through the pumps on a shift, it added up to 2, 3, 5 and as much as $10 in total.  That amount came out of my pocket at the end of the shift to cover the shortage.  They were right, it was just a penny.  LOL  That equates to the music as well.  Yes, it only takes a minute or two to fix the label on a file.  It actually would take the sender a lot less because they know what the file is.

The process of going through music, listening, sorting, prepping, responding to emails, and everything else that goes into it takes even with help now, usually 10 to 12 hrs to complete.  A typical Wednesday to prep for the Indie Show the day starts very early, and usually doesn’t end till 3 or 4 the next morning.  Now that we have introduced KB Country Radio the amount of music coming in is going up even faster.

This feels like a bitch message with nothing but complaints, but trust me its not a complaint.  LOL  I put the extra effort in because i love the music.  Would I like to see people do a better job with their own efforts getting music and information to us, absolutely.  I fear that one day we will get to the point where we have to be more selective with these emails.  It is very difficult as I described in the last blog to make room for new music, and move around other tunes.  It actually concerns me that with the continuous growth in popularity and number of emails, it may come to the point where one of the simplest methods to sort music will be to do as others do, and delete messages with no info, with songs that aren’t labelled.  That would be a shitty way to conduct business, however, time is a huge commodity.

If there is one thing that I think is incredibly important but rarely if ever done, and it is the number one factor when it comes to sales.  Know who your client is that you are trying to sell to.  What are their needs.  Take the time to listen to a station before sending music.  Look it up online, many have show schedules etc.  You will save yourself time and frustration if you stop sending music to people that will never play it.  A station that plays Indie music in specific shows only will for example not mind getting lots of fresh music for their shows.  A station like mine that promotes through repetition doesn’t want to be introducing a new song every couple of weeks.

So lets make a list of what I would suggest you include in an email when submitting music:

  1. Start with your name, who you are and your relation to the song or artist.  Are you part of the band, are you a promoter, a fan.  I want to know who I am dealing with.
  2. How about the song(s) titles, are they new and off an album
  3. Any bio on yourself or if its a band.  Ideally in an attached word or pdf.
  4. The next is the most important stuff, your links:  Facebook, Twitter, Website, Instagram, make it easy for me.  I can promote something if I have the information
  5. Where you are from.  Its worldwide now, and i get music from every corner of the world, so please where are you from.

Are these things mandatory, of course not.  Does it make mine or anyone else you are submitting music to easier?  Yes to some degree.  I have seen some radio submission requirements that are longer than university exams.  Thats their business, but you want to get your music played.  Work with the people that want to work with you, and everyone is happier.

I hope I made sense through all of this and if you have any suggestions, feel free to pass them along.

I had held off posting this post for reasons I don’t even remember, and than today as i am going through the new music for today, I have two emails, one has nothing written at all, just the email address and the song attached.  The other email is one that has been forwarded twice, each time to a different group of stations or shows to play.  Am I wrong, or is that just lazy? I also find it in some ways insulting.  I think today to save time, when I reply to every artist that submitted music, I will send a message to everyone in the same email.

It will go something like this;  “To all 50 artists, some of you will get played, some of you won’t, some of you need to send more information or music, and others well I am sorry, I just cant play that.  I am doing it this way, because I am too f’ing lazy to take the time to communicate on a personal level.”

Maybe its just me?

 

Music, Rotation, Additions, etc.. running a Radio Station Playlist and Rotation

In this age of internet radio and corporate radio for AM FM and Satellite, the idea of music rotation is to me a lost art.  To run a radio station you don’t just throw 100 songs on and play whatever whenever.  This actually may be the case with some of the internet stations, but that’s okay for them.  Your typical FM station now has their music all programmed by a service.  Many stations use a preset format, like Virgin Radio, Jack FM, Froggy etc.  These stations for the most part are all playing the same music.  By that I mean if you turn on a Virgin Radio station in one city and then another city you will find they are playing the exact same music.  In some cases, with corporate giants like IHeart Radio, you can hear the same DJ’s or shows on multiple stations.  There was a report at one time that one announcer was being used on over 600 different stations.  That in itself isn’t a factor in the music programming, but, if a station doesn’t use their own people on air, they aren’t going to program their own music.

These formats are very tightly controlled and there is indeed a lot of payoffs going on to get music played and heard.  Most will deny this kind of thing, but the bottom line is that it is the truth.  For an unknown artist to get on some of these stations it is virtually impossible.  The ability for new and independent artists to get their music played and discovered has always been difficult, but on Terrestrial Radio or Mainstream Radio, whichever you wish to call it, the odds are against them even more so no.   Satellite radio really is not a factor in this discussion because to be blunt, Satellite radio has become an IPod or MP3 player in the sky.  Most channels you listen to repeat every 6 hours, so if you listen all day you will hear the same stuff 4 times.  Boring!

We get to internet radio, and most people think they can just start a station and play what they want.  It isn’t quite that easy, and the politicians and music industry in general worldwide has made it incredibly difficult for online stations to operate.  There are rules and guidelines that don’t exit in Mainstream radio, not to mention the usual licensing fees that go along with broadcasting music.  You didn’t know it cost money to broadcast?  I won’t even begin to get into the actual dollars involved, but if you are going to operate legally, because every country has different licensing companies and rules, for each country you broadcast into you have to pay for the right to do so.  In some countries there are even multiple companies that represent different artists so you are paying all of them.  Now the independent artists don’t fall into this class because as they are called, they are independent.  This explains why so many online stations play nothing but independent music.  There are no royalty fees to be paid so you can operate a considerable amount cheaper than those, like myself that play mainstream music.

When I decided to do a mix of mainstream and Indie music it was done with careful consideration and a great deal of time was spent developing the clock or rotation order that I use on KB Radio.  This is also going to be used, with some variation on KB Country Radio as it continues to grow.  In the beginning when it was just 3 hour podcasts it wasn’t a factor at all, but when I went to 24 hrs live streaming, the number of songs played every day grew 10 fold.  So let me throw some numbers at you, and show the development of my rotation.

The station plays approximately 350 songs per day, give or take, which works out to over 2500 a week.  It would be simple to just take 2500 songs and let each one play once than start it all over again next week.  But as a listener, you want to hear specific songs sometimes, and others not so often.  I also had to factor in that with the streaming service I use, that there needs to be some allotment for commercial time, and while you may not hear any, at specific times during the hour, other countries are actually hearing commercials.  The mainstream music i have selected and you hear daily is not divided in any way.  I have options to separate songs based on years, speed, type etc but I was fortunate to discover that most of the songs I program in that category work well with each other.  Will you hear some odd mixes from time to time, Ozzy Osbourne into a Simon & Garfunkel tune.  Sure, it happens, not very often and when I program the list I check it often daily when possible to look for mismatches.  That may not be as efficient as setting up the parameters before I establish the playing order, but I believe music is fluid.  Timing can change things and you just never know what will happen, so as hard as you try to avoid certain circumstances, it’s not always possible.  These mainstream tunes are also changed up to some degree from time to time.  A recommendation from a listener for another song and things like that will add to the list, and at some point you can have too many songs in that group so some have to come out.

When it comes to the Indie music it has been an issue that is always changing and in many ways becoming more difficult.  Here is the problem, KB Radio has gotten too popular,.   LOL  I know that sounds like a stupid thing to say, but let me expand on that radical comment.  When we signed on to 24 hrs we did not have the same number of Indie artists on our playlist.  As such at that time the rotation was very different and many of the artists were getting their music played 4 to 5 times a week.  Some would have 2 tracks playing as well, so they were getting a lot of airplay.  As the station grew and more artists learned about what we were doing musically more and more music was sent to be considered for airplay on KB Radio.  My goal all along was to be as consistent as possible with the sound of the station.  With this in mind, and my lack of interest in all ways in Rap music it was immediately dismissed as being played at all on KB.  Thrash metal or over the top stuff is also on the general no play list.  As such with the number of artists and amount of new music being sent, I had to develop the system I am now using.

There are basically 4 kinds of Indie Music for me at KB Radio.  I say me, even though I have recently taken on help with programming etc,it was entirely me who developed this system, so if people get pissed off about any part of it, blame me alone.  LOL,    So there are 4 kinds of music, the first is the music that is perfect for KB and the sound we are going after.  These songs get a higher rotation, not nearly the same as what Indie artists used to get, but a lot more are getting heard at the same time.  The music in the group will get played 3 to 4 times a week, or about 7 times every two weeks.  This could be any time of day or night.  This group also you should know has to be limited.  To achieve this kind of rotation it has to be capped at a maximum number of songs, within 4 or 5 usually.   The second group is larger but this group will only play once per week in comparison.  These songs could be here for any number of reasons.  They may have been in the higher rotation and are working their way out of the playlist.  They could be on the fringe of the KB Radio sound but we still want to give air time.  Lets be real here and remind everybody that a lot of Indie Music is self-produced, and some of that quality can be a bit lower, and as such a good song may lack the quality to get on the air more often.  This group again is capped at a maximum number of songs in the lineup.

We get to the third group of songs and that is music, we give a play or spin to on our Indie music show, but from there is not in the rotation, and may get played again in a future Indie Show.  At one point this group was also drawn from by another Indie Music show that is no longer in production, so unfortunately they will get played very seldom.  The final group is of course the music that is just not going to get played.  It may not fit the format, or in a moment of total brutal honesty may be so bad I just can’t subject my listeners to it.  That however is a subjective statement and just my and now Veronica’s opinion.  But we strive to pick songs that will appeal to our listeners.  Yoko Ono has a ton of fans and continues to make music, for reasons I will never understand.  But someone likes it so that’s good for her.  That is why I will never tell someone that I don’t like their music.   I know another Indie Music station that the wannabe Music Director actually emails artists to tell them they have no talent and should stop trying.  Somewhere there is a lightning bolt with their name on it for being so F’ing arrogant.

So each week  we go through the music that has been sent and figure out where to place it.  Now if it’s placed in high rotation, than one has to come out of that category.  If we add 10 into that group 10 come out.  As I stated some go into the lower rotation and others right out, but again if they go into the light rotation, and I am adding to that with new music as well, basically one for one, each song added another comes out.  Deciding which song comes out can be extremely difficult for me because i talk with so many of these artists.  I worry about feelings being hurt, or people getting the wrong impression about why or how these things happen.  Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, and honestly has only happened once and that was just this last week.  I was both insulted and pissed off about this artists reaction and questioning of my actions.  The person inside of me said, “really, what the hell is this shit?”  The diplomat in me explained politely the entire process and provided some documented information as well.

So that was part of the reason for writing his blog, but also because as we continue to grow these same decision-making processes are going to get tougher.  The last terrestrial radio station I worked in, I was also music director there, and every week we had similar meetings.  At the end of those, there was no communication to tell an artist we weren’t playing their music.  We usually added 1 or 2 tunes a week, and the rest sometimes more than 100 were set aside and basically forgotten.  No bonus spins to give airplay, no lighter rotation, to keep music in the mix.  The music business has always been an incredibly tough industry to make a living in, be it an artist, radio or broadcast related or producers and others.  It will only get tougher, so if you don’t have the strength to deal with rejection you are in the wrong business.

I will finish with a couple of stats that I am proud of and am very happy to share.

  1. Since going 24 hrs I have played more than 800 different Indie artists introducing their music to listeners in a professional manner.
  2. With the rotation I use I believe it contributes to the familiarity of Independent music with listeners to KB Radio.  As such apart from specialty shows like the 70’s and 80’s, Indie music is the most requested music at a rate of 9 to 1.  For every 10 requests I get 9 are for Indie tunes and 1 for mainstream.
  3. We don’t charge for airplay.  We don’t even lay out rules for how to send your music to KB.  Some stations have long forms to fill out, and you have to meet certain criteria of which if you don’t cross your T’s and dotted your I’s, they will simply delete your email.
  4. We try to respond to every single email we get in some fashion.  I would say we are 99% successful and I am proud of this as well.
  5. We treat everyone the same whenever possible.  Have we dealt with jerks or assholes?  Absolutely.  Some prima donna’s whose head’s are so full of shit whenever they open their mouth it pours out.  Yes Army people, some of you are on that list.   Always remember, I don’t need you.  I don’t say that with any arrogance.  I work my ass off to promote Indie Music and artists, but you come at us with crap, that 4 minute spot your song would have been in can easily be filled with someone else’s music.  They don’t need to do anything to get that, other than to treat me with the same level of respect they would like.

I digressed a bit there in the end, but now that you understand the process etc, you also learned that I am basically a no-nonsense person.  I have fun, as much as I absolutely can and give 100% to do what I do.  FYI and not that it matters, but I don’t make a dime doing this, work probably 80 or more hours a week, and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Comments are always welcome, and if you are an artist that is interested in your play times etc, I have everything logged from the first time we fired this station up.  I can tell you every song and when it was played, so if you need some information or would like some information, please just ask.  I will help if I can.

Cheers

Al Yardy

Indie music promotion

     Over the past few weeks I watched with dismay and fascination as a number of things around me, being KB Radio and myself personally, developed and became more apparent to me.   One side of this began a few weeks ago with a conversation I had with two artists, Patrick (Ghostly Beard) and Erin (Erin at Eleven)  Patrick had a vision of indie artists working together more and more, not looking at the music industry as a competition between artists trying to succeed, but an opportunity to work with others in a way that mutually supports and promotes all.  It is a lofty goal but as it turns out from someone who has a drive and a spirit like so few others I have watched him quickly build many connections and quickly grow his network of contacts in and around the music industry.

There is both a simplicity and an elegance to this idea and to see the positive effects that come from these contacts materialize so quickly is very satisfying. To see this kind of action and activity with no ulterior motives from someone is very refreshing to say the least.

I was involved with a group and an individual up until a few weeks ago when some information came to light and I felt I had to step back and away from that situation.  I am not about to name the group etc, though I have not gone back to delete all the history so if you really want to know you can find out.  The idea was that a number of stations provided their Top 10 Indie song lists each week to this group and from their they would be used to compile a Top 40 list.  What a fantastic idea; as a station operator I could look at other stations lists and the Top 40 to possibly get leads on other great talent out there that I hadn’t been introduced to yet.  This wasn’t entirely possible I discovered because none of the stations lists were posted as a group for everyone to see.  The website showed a couple of examples from the past only, and although had a section to register and be a part, it never worked and was told it was not needed by the site owner and operator.

I was getting music suggested from the same person who coordinated all the lists and put together the Top 40 and one day it was pointed out to me that he had his own music promotion company.  The way he operates and what he offers, I find offensive and it truly pisses me off, but he’s entitled to rip off anybody who is foolish enough to pay him money.  What really bothered me was that on his Top 40 list the first week I looked, more than 33%, 14 of the 40 songs, were all the artists that supposedly represents.  I could go on about this issue but it’s not important.  What is important to the entire issue is negative side of the music industry.  Here is an individual who is only in it for the money.  There is absolutely no way it is anything more than a way to take money from Indie Artists and give the positive news, that is entirely fictional based on his creation only.

This does nothing positive for anybody.  Apart from taking money from people who usually are not making very much to begin with, it also leaves them questioning the ethics of everyone in the industry.  There are good people working very hard for nothing more than the love of music.  How do you find these people is the first question?  If you are someone who can chat it up a bit, than start connecting with other artists.  Start talking to stations that are playing indie music.  Most of all start keeping track of things.  If stations tell you that you have to pay to play, tell them to FO.  Keep your money.  There are a lot of stations getting out to large numbers of listeners that aren’t playing games with artists. 

Patrick’s idea I am sure is not new or unique.  The part that is different is artists talking to artists, and why not.  Who knows who you may end up connected with or the type of things you could learn or share yourself with the other person.  Everyone has good and bad experiences, so why not share them.  Someone told me the line that often the people you see on your way up with your success are the same ones you pass on your way down.  The independent music scene is alive and thriving and bursting at the seams with talent and great music for everyone.

Here are links to the two individuals, Patrick and Erin that I started with.  Check out both of their sites.  They both have not only set up to promote their own music, but they are sharing music from other artists that they have heard.  Both of their writing styles as well is incredible and take a minute or two to read their blogs.

 

https://ghostlybeard.com/music

https://erinateleven.bandzoogle.com/

Like so many things you have the ultimate control over your music.  That control may not mean you are going to hit number 1 on Billboards Hot 100, but you can control the kind of people you associate with and work with in promoting your product.  If you have this choice, why align yourself with people who are only working for themselves and not for your interests?

In a bit of a self promotion sense, KB Radio has no prerequisites about submitting music, to either station.  The country station is looking for Country Music, and KB is looking for POP/Rock/ types of music.  My suggestion is to listen to the station if you are considering submitting music.  We don’t play Rap, so don’t send it, but if you listen and think your music will work, send it to us for both stations to   live@kbradio.ca  

I also now have help with the operation of both stations, and Veronica Phillips who joined the operation just a couple weeks ago is as interested and excited about music as I am.  If you have questions of any kind, you can also email either of us.  Our job is to play a combination of great music and work within the music industry.  We don’t know everything, but are always happy to share what we do.

Email either of us

Al Yardy  kbradio@rogers.com

Veronica Phillips    kbcountryradio@gmail.com

Buying followers or traffic?

I am not going to be writing a long blog, and it probably will come off as more of a rant than anything else, but I am tired of the endless stream of assholes trying to sell followers or traffic to my website, twitter account, etc etc.  The latest one today, from http://www.basedbusinesstraffic.com right away shows just how illegitimate these operators are and what a waste their offers will be.  I get an email to one of my radio accounts, the request account, which of course is an account that only gets emails, never sends.   I know of course i would never register for a site like this because I despise parasites, but at the bottom of the email it says, to unsubscribe, click the link to our site and  unsubscribe is in the footer.  My first question is why the hell should I have to go to a website I never subscribed too.  the only reason of course is every click shows more traffic to their site, no matter if its to unsubscribe or actually look into throwing your money away on their shitty product.  I get there on my tablet, and unsubscribe doesnt come up on the mobile site, so I click chat, and ask how to unsubscribe from something I didnt subscribe to.  The wonderful customer service on top of their crappy site, sends me a link to unsubscribe, but before I can click that link, closes the chat, and the conversation and link disappears.  So guess what to get my name off their stupid mailing list I of course could just mark as spam, but now I am really pissed off so of course have to return to their site one more time, on my pc and there is the unsubscribe link.

No they aren’t offering their fortune because they are a Saudi prince who has been kicked out of the kingdom, or have hijacked your pc until you pay a ransom.  But at least with thieves like those, you know they are thieves.  These people hide behind sites, with bogus names, and garbage ideas, going after people who usually can’t afford to be wasting money on crap like this.  So I promised them some press, and not all press is good, and I will continue to talk about them on air.  If you want to go and use their service, be my guest, but I would encourage one person to just go and mention in a comment this blog, to let them know, I am getting their message out.

Whew, oh and I did move them to spam too.

al

Submitting music to Radio Stations

It has been much too long since I took the time to write, and being so damn busy isn’t a good enough reason.  With that said, a subject that has been bothering me for some time and I believe has been looked at previously is the entire process for new artists to submit music to Radio.  I will not speak for anyone else in this process, but only say that this is in many ways the same as it has been for 30 years now, which is when I first got into the Radio Business.   I would like to focus on some of the things you especially shouldn’t do.

let me begin by telling you that an artist or anyone for that matter starting out in a business needs to take care of things themselves.  What does that mean exactly?  It means stay away from the automatic services that respond to Direct Messages and such.

Are you really that busy that you can’t look through messages you have received?  Please don’t waste my time or your own with excuses about how busy you are.  I operate a 24 hour radio station and I answer ever DM, every email and every notification on social media, be it Twitter Facebook or where ever.  It takes seconds, and is not some bogus automated answer that when ever I get I know every single person who follows you gets.  let me clarify one thing though, I don’t answer the stupid ones, the marketing messages that I have received  without asking for.

So lets expand on this premise a little bit further.  When you are a new artist and you follow a Radio Station, don’t expect them to go to your site or links and look up your music on our own.  We are already getting many requests to listen to music with legitimate emails.  I will expand on that thought momentarily.  Everyone’s concern is time it seems, and I am no different.  If you follow a station it is greatly appreciated, and generally I am interested in hearing your music.  But I don’t want to have to go to one link after another, try to find the music, which in some cases is incredibly difficult, than try and determine which is the music you want to promote.  Here is a very simple process, for professionally run stations.  Send an email.  But as simple as that is, some people still screw this process up.

I am not trying to sound like an ass, but please give your head a shake if you think to yourself, I have the best song ever, and the world will come looking for me.  I don’t need a long detailed email but some information is extremely helpful.  Many bands have an info page about themselves that can be an easy attachment with the email.  As much as I am not a fan of just getting emails with links to places like Soundcloud or Spotify, I will maybe follow those links to listen to a song.  But think about this, if I listen to your tune, and like it, I than have to email you and ask for a copy that I can air.  That is just adding wasted steps and time to the process.

Here is a near perfect email example.  Include a bio attachment or a bit of information in the text of the email.  Say hi and introduce yourself.  It doesn’t have to be long, and even just a simple, hi my name is “whatever” with the band “whoever” and we would be interested in you listening to our music to see if it fits with your stations format.

Here is what NOT to do, and all of these have happened in my inbox:

Do not just send an email, with the subject “hello” or something like this, no text, no information, and the only thing is a song attachment.  Worse than this, I have had some song attachments that don’t even have a name on them.  My honest response is, “WTF”?   I will never understand a person who believes that an email like that will even get looked at.

Do not send an email with links to music that are dead.  Yes it has happened where links to sites with tunes are no longer valid, drop box links are dead, and I had one who had dead links, because they had changed the name of the band, but apparently didn’t think that was relevant enough to tell me or change the link addresses.

Do not send me links and expect me to buy the music.  Trust me, I wish I could, but that just isn’t how its done.  Radio stations, legitimate ones, podcasts, legitimate ones, all pay licensing fees for the rights to air music.  I know, its only 99 cents you say,  but 150 new songs a week times 52 weeks, that would add over $8000 minimum a year in expenses.  It isn’t arrogance, it just isnt feasible for any station.

If the station or podcast tells you that you have to pay to get your music played, tell them to bugger off!  Don’t waste your money.  There are many stories of FM stations even that have started using this kind of system, but they need to be shut down.  Payola is still illegal as far as I know, and let’s be honest.  Unless they are guaranteeing you a huge number of listeners and airplay it will never be worth it to you.

Take a few minutes, listen to a station you want to send music too.  I actually have other radio stations send me music to consider.  That would be wonderful except even they don’t know how to do a tiny bit of research.  If you listen to my station or read any of the links, it states, we do not play rap.  If you listen you will hear a very distinctive sound and music format.  Once again I cant help but wonder why you would want to waste your own time and mine if there is 0 chance of a station playing your music.

If you use your time wisely, and effectively in anything it is always more beneficial.   if you are looking for a quick solution,  than you are in the wrong business.  The music industry is brutal and takes a lot of work and effort.  If someone treats you poorly in this business, than forget about them.  The internet has provided a lot of opportunities for anybody to start their own form of streaming radio or podcast.  Don’t be fooled by people who make big claims.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.  I don’t know everything, and have never claimed to, but I will share what I do know with those who are interested or have questions.  I will treat you and in the same manner you treat me.   Mutual respect is an amazing concept, and when used, the benefits can be outstanding.

 

How do you define success in the music world.

The question of the day is how to define success.  There is no clear definition, because it comes down to an individuals goals and what they are tying to achieve.  There is a Garth Brooks song called Fish.  If you aren’t familiar with the song, it is a story.  A business man sees a man fishing every day.  One day he strikes up a conversation and says to the man, you know if you sold those fish you caught, you could save your money and buy a boat.  From there you can work to get a bigger boat and a crew and staff and be in charge of an entire fleet.  He than says and when you reach that point you can do anything you want…. and the man says  “you mean fish?”

He didn’t have to work his ass off to achieve what he wanted.  While someone else would not see that as a success until they had followed the other path.  In the end the outcome is the same, and lets assume both are happy.

So as a musician what are you looking to achieve.  I can imagine that most would say that would love to see their music on the charts and maybe even a number 1 song.  But that may not be success to them.

At this point we come back to defining success.  if you check social media there are thousands of songs out for a cause or a specific reason.  Unless you listen on social media, you will likely never hear most of them.  Is success the number of hits or plays your song got on You Tube, Spotify etc. There is no magic formula for getting a hit record, if that’s what the goal is, it often comes down to luck.  Everyone has heard different stories about how someone was discovered.  In 1982 a Canadian band called Sheriff released a song called When I’m With You.  It was a top 10 hit in Canada in 1983, and barely drew any interest in the United States that same year.  We jump forward to the year 1989 and a DJ in a radio station looking through music to play, finds this song, and  plays it on his show.  They start to get requests, and thing explode from there.  The song goes on to hit number 1 in the US. This was also 4 years after the band Sheriff had actually broken up.  So what was the difference in 1989 and 1982.  Absolutely nothing was different and that is part of the point.  If not for a set of circumstances the song would have been considered a national hit only and the band probably rated as moderately successful.  Of course to the guys in the band, they were probably thrilled with a top 10 song.

There are many musicians who don’t care or dream about having hit records.  They want to perform and entertain.  Their idea of success is playing to a crowd and hearing the applause.  When you are up on stage and you can see that your audience is into your music.  If that’s what makes someone happy there is nothing wrong with that.  Just remember the old adage, you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.  Ask yourself, if I am up their playing night after night without ever getting on the charts will I be happy or see myself as some kind of failure.  If it is the latter, run away now and run away fast.  Go work in a factory and strum your guitar when you sit around the campfire.

That may sound harsh, and like you would be giving up without trying, but to reach the levels of some superstars, will take more work than you can imagine, and again, a lot of luck. Does your music come from deep inside you or as many would say, from the soul.  It is a way musicians express themselves that some can’t put into words otherwise.  Maybe not about them personally, but about life in general, events around them or around the world.  How many songs do you know the history , and what inspired a particular song.  How many songs do you know, but have no clue what inspired them.  Maybe as a listener that isn’t important, but as the entertainer, it can be everything.

If you want to be commercially successful I can offer some pointers, on some of the things that need to be done.  Plus some things you may not know about what goes into a radio station and why those goals are going to be so difficult.  I would suggest a book I read many years ago called, The Worlds Greatest Salesman”.  I have no part in this book, but I found over the last 25 years it has proven incredibly helpful many times.  The book is a true story by the worlds greatest car salesman.  You may be rolling your eyes right now, but his ideas work so well and can be used in many different avenues of life.  The book was written before social media, but what you can do, using his ideas and tactics these days is incredible, and I use them myself.  I took a small podcast from 0 to more than 12,000 listeners in 11 months.  No ego here, but I must be doing something right.

One of the biggest keys is people aren’t going to come to you.  Some may, but if you want to have commercial success but as cold as it sounds, you need more than Joe average listening to your music.  You need the music played where others can hear it.  With internet radio so widely available, it is more than just your traditional AM and FM stations to deal with.  There are thousands and thousands of stations.  Start by eliminating all that don’t play your type of music.  Check to see if any of the internet stations are based out of cities close to you.  Start with local and work your way out.  Use email or social media to message these stations and point-blank ask if you can send them a couple of songs for consideration.  If you don’t get a response, cross them off your list.  This is what happens the other direction.  If someone is interested in playing your music and you don’t bother to respond to messages, those people will not bother with you or your music.

It doesn’t come down to kissing anyones ass.  It’s a term that is a bit older and not practiced much anymore.  Courtesy.  If someone sends a question you don’t have to write a novel to them.  A quick short response will go a long way.   Set aside time every day or every other day to do nothing but go through messages.  Lets face it, you aren’t a superstar yet getting thousands of messages every day.  This is one of the biggest mistakes entertainers, business and so many people make.  Slow response or no response.  If someone send you a message telling you how much they like your music, a quick thank you, I appreciate the support is all you need.  You now have a fan locked in.  They will talk about you responding.  If its social media, they will share it likely, exposing you to more people.  If you don’t respond.  That chain is broken and goes no further.

When it comes to the radio stations, the better known or popular ones are getting huge numbers of songs sent to them daily.  I have discussed before that process, but it is a time-consuming process going through music.  It often comes down to listening to the first 10 or 15 seconds of a song.  I personally cringe when a song starts, and you hear the same few bars of music, repeated, and repeated and repeated.  it lends nothing to the song, and by the time it hits the 4th repeat without getting to the lyrics, its off, and I am on to the next song in the pile.  Radio stations don’t have the man power to have one person who does nothing but go through new music.  In fact with so many stations using a music service or running a preset music lineup, one person is effectively picking the music for hundreds or even thousands of stations.  Most stations will have someone doing multiple duties and one thing they won’t and can’t do is spend countless hours listening to new music.

But if you have reached out to them, you are no longer just a name in a pile.  You don’t have to be a nuisance, but stay in contact, and talk to them.  You want to be like that old door to door salesman, and jam your foot in the door so they can’t close it on you.  Now here is something to watch for.  If the station won’t play your song, see if you can find out why.  Diplomacy works wonderful in these circumstances.  if you find out the idiot making the decisions just personally didn’t like  it, than that’s a problem.  I know an individual  on an internet radio station who thinks it’s there job and right to tell an artist just how bad their singing and music is.  NOT A CHANCE.  If your music doesn’t fit the format or quite fit what they are looking for, that’s one thing, but getting personal is wrong.  But it happens, so be prepared and if it does, cross them off your contacts list.  Work with the people who want to work and talk to you.  Find out if they use social media to show what they are broadcasting.  It’s again a great way to spread your name around, and it doesn’t cost a dime.

So the key is to be your own best sales person.  But be smart in how you sell and promote and make sure you work with people who are interested in working with you.  If you are getting held off and delays, than pick a time to say enough and move on.  There is nothing a sales person hates more than a tire kicker.  Someone who really isn’t interested in buying, just wants to look around and pass some time.  Its the same with music.  If a station tells you than can maybe play it in a couple of weeks,  check back again, and if they still havent, move on.  When you find someone who is interested in sharing your music, you will find someone who will work with you.  Treat people how you want to be treated, and likewise, if you are not treated well, than don’t deal with the idiots.  There is no need.

I will define success to me in a very simple manner.  I recently had some technical issues that nearly meant the end of my radio station.  But listeners and artists said, NO WAY!  They said we needed to find a way to keep broadcasting.  It was humbling and heart warming.  I took that to mean one thing.  What I was doing, was something that was appreciated.  That to me, meant it was in some manner successful.  Decide what it is that truly make you happy and define yourself as successful.  Once you know that, you can work to achieve that target or maybe more.