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Guest Blog: Eric Alper’s 135 reasons why radio won’t play your song

Eric Alper, Director of Media Relations and Label Acquisitions for eOne Music Canada, breaks down dozens of don'ts and pointers for getting music on the radio. When I was a kid, my grandfather, who owned the Grossman’s Tavern blues/jazz bar in Toronto, passed to me a photocopied sheet with the title Reasons Why Radio Won't Play Your Song. It was probably one of the first memes I've ever seen - no author, no date, no source, nothing except for a funny list of about 20 reasons. I never forgot about that list throughout my years of working in the music industry. I found an extended list at Music Biz Academy ( that extended the same list to about 60. With an exciting extroverted passion for music, Music Directors of radio stations are, no doubt, the gatekeepers to get your song heard on the radio. I've spent many a meetings talking to the fine men and women about their roles, and why they love songs, and why they don't. There's still only one reason why they would - because it's great. But that would make for a very short post. And that got me thinking - in 2015, how much different would the list look like? What would be added? So, with that list to start it off all those years ago, here are now, sadly, many more reasons why radio won't play your song.
  1. Not for us or our sound
  2. No room
  3. No label support
  4. I want to give record the best shot, so we will have to wait till when we have more room
  5. There are no local sales
  6. There is no national action
  7. Considering...
  8. I'm watching and waiting
  9. It's the wrong image
  10. It's not modal
  11. I need another copy
  12. Poor reaction from test marketing it
  13. The jocks don't like it
  14. No phone reaction
  15. We played the import
  16. We're going to wait and see what the competition does
  17. Will wait for the single
  18. The record's not in any kind of stores around here
  19. Need approval from head office
  20. I like it but the P.D. doesn't
  21. It was vetoed in the music meeting
  22. Too hard
  23. Too soft
  24. It's wimpy
  25. Not as good as their last release
  26. It needs to be re-listened to
  27. It sounds too EDM-ish
  28. It sounds too pop
  29. We didn't get the co-promotion
  30. Trade #'s don't merit airplay
  31. Sounds like everything else
  32. It's not a good record
  33. I don't like it
  34. The MP3 file wouldn’t play
  35. The music file crashed my computer
  36. We only play stuff that “rocks“
  37. Saving room for when new releases get scheduled
  38. Going into the library
  39. We already have a female-fronted band on the playlist
  40. We want to hear a hook
  41. No tip sheet advertising
  42. Nothing about it hits me
  43. Don't like the mix
  44. Not enough guitar
  45. Too many strings
  46. Over-produced
  47. Under-produced
  48. Don't like the band's name
  49. This song is not consistent with their last release
  50. Our listeners won't be able to relate
  51. Too rhythm oriented
  52. Send all our jocks copies
  53. Can't play too many singles
  54. That music only works in the big markets
  55. We’ll wait till more stations play it
  56. Not our kind of music
  57. Too alternative
  58. Not alternative enough
  59. Where’s the beat…the BEAT!
  60. I've misplaced it, but its here somewhere, call me back
  61. Our competition got on it first, we have to be different
  62. I don't like the cover
  63. We didn't get a co-presents on their last show
  64. Too many vulgar words
  65. We're going for a younger demo
  66. We're going for an older demo
  67. We don't have an MD right now
  68. We're not the right station for this
  69. The chorus comes in late
  70. The intro is too quiet
  71. We have too many songs by the featured artist in rotation
  72. There's no release date
  73. We missed the release date
  74. No radio edit
  75. I don't like the radio edit
  76. No campus radio promotion
  77. Let's talk when the tour starts
  78. The .wav file was blocked because of the size
  79. The YouSendIt file was blocked by my spam filters
  80. There's no story happening
  81. They're overexposed
  82. I'm still waiting on feedback
  83. Too much CanCon right now
  84. Too much International right now
  85. It sounds like something my mom would like
  86. We never received your submission
  87. I don't agree with the political view
  88. We'll play the song next week (they didn't)
  89. I'm watching the charts, it's not very impressive
  90. I'm waiting on the charts, it's pretty impressive
  91. Their set at CMJ/SXSW/NXNE/CMW was way too long
  92. It's too country (from a country station)
  93. It sounds like karaoke
  94. We're playing too many covers now
  95. We love the song and band but have no room
  96. The intro is too long
  97. The chorus is too long
  98. You know what? The whole song is too long (with Stairway To Heaven playing in background)
  99. I'll listen, but no promises
  100. We should be playing this song but haven't played the artist for years
  101. I know this doesn't help but your band has no relevance
  102. I can't take this band seriously until they sell 100,000
  103. What are you going to do for ME?
  104. Let's face it, would you be working this song if you weren't being paid?
  105. We can’t play this. He's/She’s way off-key in the chorus
  106. Too much rap in the middle
  107. The stations on BDS aren't on it
  108. There’s only one original member left
  109. Didn’t the lead singer die?...oh...I thought they broke up
  110. They're only big in the east
  111. They're only big in the west
  112. They're only big in the north
  113. I don't care if they're big down south
  114. You sent us the wrong promo cds
  115. We only play established acts
  116. Why should I play a band that sounds LIKE Led Zeppelin when I can PLAY Led Zeppelin
  117. Their website hasn't been updated in a year
  118. It sounds like their last song
  119. It sounds so different from their last song
  120. We get no calls
  121. Ever since they cut their hair....
  122. I’m having trouble with DMDS
  123. I can't find my PD. Can you help me find my PD?
  124. We're a talk radio station
  125. Sounds too ‘Active Rock’ for us
  126. Sounds too Hot AC for us
  127. Sounds too ‘Modern Rock’ for us (this, and the above 2 were all the same song!)
  128. They don't sound as good as they do live
  129. They suck live
  130. It sounds like something my mom would hate
  131. Their video on YouTube doesn't have enough views
  132. Nobody's listening on Spotify
  133. Not enough Twitter followers
  134. Not enough fans on Facebook
  135. Didn't they break up last week?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Eric Alper is CTVs music correspondent and a regular contributor to CBCs The Strombo Show, Sirius/XM, TSN 660AM in Montreal, Country 92.9 in Chatham-Kent, DAWG FM in Ottawa among others. He has also been named to Billboard Magazine, Paste Magazine and The National Posts best on social media and served as co-chair for CMW 2014. With over 150,000 followers on Twitter, and 10,000+ friends/fans on Facebook while behind the board at, which now receives over 125,000 hits a week, he is one of the countrys authorities on music.  During the day, hes the Director of Media Relations and Label Acquisitions for eOne Music Canada, handling the PR for such artists as Bob Geldof, Randy Bachman, Ringo Starr, Slash, The Wiggles, Snoop Dogg, The Smashing Pumpkins, Ray Charles, Sinead OConnor, Sesame Street among hundreds of others over his 20 years in the music industry.  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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