This section discusses the functions of a record label promotion department. At this point, you may also want to review the StarPolish dedicated section on Radio Promotion for more details and do-it-yourself promotion tips. The radio promotion department is responsible for getting radio airplay. The end. Oh, I'm sorry. Did you want me to elaborate? Well, yes, it's true that there are other aspects to the job, like doing special promotions for radio stations, having artists perform for special-event radio shows, arranging giveaways, generally supporting radio and accommodating requests from the stations. But all of that directly relates to getting airplay. The promotion staff is a rare breed. They are true characters and personalities. Because radio airplay is of utmost importance in breaking a new artist or continuing the success of those who are established, promotion is under enormous pressure to deliver. I'm not sure if it's the pressure that makes them the characters they are, or if they choose to do promotion because of their personalities.
The Staff
The promotion staff at a label consists of two tiers: the national promotion staff and the local promotion staff. The national promotion staff works from the main office of the label (sometimes the national staff is split between NY and LA), and is made up of "format heads." There are usually two or three people for each radio format, who concentrate only on that format. Formats are: Top 40, R&B, Crossover/Dance, Modern Rock/Alternative, Rock, Adult Contemporary (A/C), Triple A and College Radio. The local promotion staff can be anywhere from 8 to 20 staff members who are each assigned regions around the country. The "locals" are responsible for getting airplay at all formats at all commercial stations in their territory (urban usually has its own separate local promotion staff). Typically, the locals' territories coincide with where the regional sales branch offices are located. But sometimes the locals are in areas where there is no branch (like Miami or Denver) and they work from home. The locals cover all formats in their region and are responsible for getting airplay based on the direction they get from the national staff.
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