Before internet radio and podcasting if you wanted your music to get airplay you tried to get on college radio. I spent a fun filled year attending Kutztown University where I partied, played lacrosse, and occasionally went to class, pretty much in that order. Needless to say when my parents got a letter saying I was on academic probation, I didn’t return for a second year.
While at my alma mater, in between the drinking and lacrosse playing I was also a member of the college radio station. I had been a part of my high school radio station which had a broadcast range of about a mile. I was excited to actually get on the air and have people hear me and my amazing taste in music. However once I went to the first meeting at the station I learned the ugly truth, our little radio station wasn’t actually broadcasting anything. The plan was that the station was going to be moved to the new student union building and that repairs to the existing station weren’t going to happen. However there was one catch, we had to pretend that we were an active station so that labels would continue to keep sending us cd’s so that when we did make the move our music library was current. What the radio station became was a music club, a place where we could hang out, listen to music as loud as we wanted, and make up fake play lists to send to CMJ. Every time labels would send us a batch of new releases we were like kids on Christmas. To this day I still have a bunch of cd’s that I took from the Kutztown radio station.
A few years ago I was working on the release of a Southside Johnny record and we decided one the best paths was to try and get as much college radio airplay as we could. Our campaign was mildly successful, getting airplay on a few stations. While it’s not as powerful and open as it used to be I still think it’s a viable option for artists looking for more exposure. Here are two things I used on the Southside Johnny release that I found very useful
Indie Friendly Radio Database
College Radio List
With these you’re going to have to do some homework. The Indie Friendly Database is kind of dated, so I wouldn’t expect the contacts to still be at that school. College contacts are hard to keep track of because they could change every semester. These two lists should give you an excellent point to get started.