5 Ways to Get Your Requested Song On The Radio

If you’ve ever requested a song and wondered why it never played, we have the scoop.

In my 20 years of radio experience, the industry has changed significantly in how requests are handled. In fact, one of my first duties with my very first station was taking requests on the phone and passing it along to the talent on the weekly request show.

Not every station is the same in terms of request policies. Some stations don’t allow requests at all. Other station delegate requests to specific time slots.

Here are some reasons why your request may be ignored.

1. Radio is no longer live

Radio is a corporate entity like many other industries. Conglomerates often find ways to cut costs and increase profits. Enter prerecorded radio or voice tracking.

I know this is a fact that surprises most listeners. People are often perplexed when I mention prerecording a show a day ahead of time.

This practice is nothing new. It has been in existence for a solid 15 years or greater.

The personality on the radio may not be in the building, much less in front of the microphone. The talent prerecords a show with a predetermined playlist selected by the program director, the person hired to make decisions about what and who goes on the air.

Even if you successfully reach a person by phone, there’s no one to play your request.

2. The request algorithm

I worked for one group of stations that had the philosophy that listeners will most likely request a popular song that will play soon anyway.

I like to call this the request algorithm. If you call into a Top 40 station and want to hear Taylor Swift, chances are Taylor Swift is scheduled to play within the next hour.

While this works for popular artists, what if you request a song that isn’t played often? Your song isn’t played.

3. The Radio Personality has no control over the music

Each station has a program director, who makes the final decision as to what songs are played when. This process requires a lot of time and expertise.

The person on the air doesn’t have much, if any, authority over what is played. The music is predetermined and plays on a computer.

Even if you call or text in a request, the talent isn’t authorized to deviate from the playlist.

I, along with other talent, were encouraged to use the phrase “we’ll see if we can get to it” when answering request calls.

As far as I know, there’s no research to back the request algorithm.

4. The song doesn’t follow the format

Every station has a format or genre it follows. You may request a song that isn’t in the station’s music library.

Sometimes, listeners call the wrong station. It happens way more than you would think.

There was a gentleman who called almost daily for the same request. It was a classic rock song, We were not a classic rock station.

5. How to Make sure your request is played

While this all sounds bleak, you can still have your request played on your local radio station.

Many stations have live request shows. Make sure to request songs during the request show.

Request songs in the right way. Most stations are using text services and apps for requests, partially to eliminate the need to tie the talent to the phone.

Most importantly, request songs that the station actually plays. This ensures that station has the song in their library.

For more tricks of the trade and behind-the-scene secrets, read our series.

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