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By Bryan Farrish

Why Clear Channel is Irrelevant for Indies

After endless concerns in the indie community about radio 
consolidation and Clear Channel, I'm here to tell you that it should  be of no concern to you. Regular rotation on large stations (Clear  Channel or otherwise) in major or medium markets is not available  now... nor has it ever been... (for over 30 years) to small indie  releases and artists any more than McDonalds is available to you  to market your indie toys. Remember McDonalds' 10-year  marketing agreement with Disney? Before it happened, do you  think you had any chance at all of getting your indie toy into  McDonalds? That situation is the equivalent of you trying to get  your indie release into regular rotation on medium and major  stations. Consolidation or no consolidation, trying to get a  product with entry-level marketing onto the largest media outlets  in the world is a terribly-misplanned idea. (This applies, of course,  to new acts/labels releasing their first or second record on their  own.)

So why all the hoopla? Because news outlets know that you'll  read it. And when you read it, they get paid. News outlets (like  the LA Times and need to print things that you are  worried about, so you will log on and/or purchase copies, or else  they will close down. Since the worse fear of all musicians is not  having their music heard, if the publications tell you how the  biggest radio stations are not going to play you, they know you  will pay attention and read.

But just because you are just now learning how difficult the large  stations are, does not mean that it used to be any easier. Fact is,  if you were trying to release your own record (even on AM radio)  in the 60's and 70's, you would have been going directly up  against Capitol, RCA, ABC, Atlantic, CBS, and the other major  labels at the time. So even then (with no Clear Channel), you  would have had to start off with the smaller stations, just like you  have to today. And also back then (20 years before the  McDonalds-Disney agreement,) you would never have been able  to get McDonalds to carry/market your indie toy; but you can bet  that the toy industry publications back then did their best to paint  a depressing picture for the small toy manufacturers, despite the  fact that the best way for an indie toy makers to market it's toys  (both then and now) is to work with the mom and pop toy stores  throughout the country.

What does this mean for your airplay? The same thing we've  been trying to get across for years: Start with small market  commercial stations (or college stations in any market,) and use  the results to book more and bigger gigs, all the while selling your  CDs and merch for full price at those gigs. You'll never have to  deal with getting distribution (or getting paid from distribution),  much less have to worry that you won't be getting any regular  rotation on a Clear Channel station. If you absolutely won't rest  until you get some Clear Channel spins, however, then consider  commercial specialty/mix shows... These shows are available on  Clear Channel stations from New York on down, and with good  music and a good push, you can get a spin or two for a few  weeks.

Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion is an independent radio airplay  promotion company. For further information contact Jackie Steele  (formerly of WQGN, WUXL, WSUB) at 818-905-8038 x22 or If you live in LA and want to be informed  of any events, seminars or parties we do, email and tell us what town you are in

Our staff promoter of the month is Larry Santiago (formerly of Premiere)... he can be reached at 818-905-8038 x15. Further info can be found at

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