The Realities of Radioplay: Part III

by Mary Dawson

Essential Ingredients of Radio-Friendly Songs

Hearing a song that you have written on the radio is definitely one of life's great "highs!" In fact, in the rich fantasy life of most aspiring songwriters, hearing your song on the radio ranks right up there with fantasies of winning the lottery or swinging from the chandelier with your favorite movie star -- clad only in loin cloths!

As we have been learning, however, radioplay is a "reality-based" medium. Program directors are constantly trying to capture as many listeners as possible to drive up their ratings and consequently, their advertising income. So songwriters who have more than just fantasies about hearing their songs on the radio must learn to write from the listener's point of view (Part I) and to understand the listener's mind (Part II). In this article we will examine some simple, but essential ingredients that will help you -- the songwriter -- to create such "listener-friendly" songs that radio decision-makers will select your songs for airplay.
Songwriters and Radio live in a symbiotic relationship -- in other words, we need each other! Songwriters need Radio to bring their songs to the world and Radio needs great songs to attract the all-important listeners. As in any relationship that is mutually beneficial, each partner must consider the other's needs and interests. If we as songwriters are conscious of what is important to Radio, Radio will usually be open and interested in what we are writing.

As Pam Shane of Shane Media Radio Consultants has written:
             ...the individual song has become the key to (radio) can't have a great year without lots of great songs.1

Songwriters.......Start your engines!

1Pam Shane, "Looking Back," January 11, 2001,

**From her earliest childhood years writing simple songs and poems with her father, through her twelve years as an overseas missionary, to her present, multi-faceted career as an author, lyricist/songwriter and conference speaker, Mary has always been adept at using words to communicate her heart to others. She is the President of CQK Records & Music of Dallas, Texas, a company which creates and produces songs in a panorama of musical styles for a variety of audiences, She is also the host of "I Write the Songs," a nationally syndicated radio talk show, especially created to inspire and instruct the more than 25 million aspiring songwriters in the U.S. "I Write the Songs" is broadcast over the Internet. Mary is a frequent public speaker and seminar lecturer on songwriting. She is a regular columnist for Independent Songwriter Web Magazine. Mary's commitment to discovering and mentoring talented new songwriters has given her extensive experience in song analysis through adjudicating songwriting competitions and conducting songwriting workshops across the country and around the world. Because of her role as president of an independent music company, she is also well qualified to instruct aspiring songwriters on the various business aspects of the music industry. She is married and a mother of four. She resides in the Dallas area.

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