Seminar Series #2 : Getting your music on the radio – How UK Americana acts can get their music onto the radio.
Even in the digital age, getting radio plays for your music can be a game changer in developing a fanbase and having a successful release. But if you're an up and coming Americana artist, what opportunities are there to get your music on the radio, and how do you reach the gatekeepers and DJs who support new music? We assemble some of radio's finest to shed light on how to get your music on the radio
Chair: Ralph McLean
Ralph McLean is an award winning radio and television presenter and producer who has been making programmes for more than two decades now. He currently presents the evening shows on BBC Radio Ulster but has also produced a wide range of musical series for both BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. His Ralph McLean Country show, every Thursday on BBC Radio Ulster, remains a popular outlet for homegrown and international roots and Americana music on the airwaves.
Bob Harris OBE
Few people in the world know music better than Bob Harris. Described as a ‘national treasure’, few are more respected. Bob’s BBC broadcasting career spans almost fifty years - from his early pioneering programmes on Radio 1, through his presentation of the definitive UK television music show the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ in the 1970’s to his current award-winning shows on Radio 2 and his place at the forefront of the massive popularity of Country and Americana music in Britain today. Throughout his entire career, Bob has been a trusted guide and mentor to millions of people who have music at the centre of their lives. His guiding principle has always been the pursuit of excellence – reflected in the creative curation and construction of his radio programmes, his contribution to UK television culture, the understated passion of his unique broadcasting style and his tireless support for the artists he believes in. He was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his services to music in 2011, the year he also received the prestigious Americana Trailblazer Award, presented to him by Emmylou Harris, onstage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. He is a three-time CMA International Broadcaster of the Year, has twice been honoured with the CMA Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award and has been inducted in the British Country Music Hall of Fame. He is credited with helping to create the huge popularity of Americana music in the UK and received the Outstanding Contribution Award from Mary Chapin Carpenter and Ethan Johns at the AMA-UK Awards in January 2020, a ceremony he has hosted since its inception in 2016. He remains a passionate advocate for the music he loves in Britain, the USA, Canada and across the world.
'Bob Harris champions the unknown, the obscure and the legendary with equal zest and detail’ Robert Plant
Baylen Leonard is a CMA Award winning Broadcaster, Journalist, and festival organiser. He has presented a variety of shows for BBC Radio 2, BBC London, BBC Radio 4, and many others. Baylen currently fronts 6 shows a week on Country Hits Radio (soon to become Absolute Radio Country) including popular Sunday show The Front Porch focusing on both new and established Americana, Country, and Roots acts. In addition to his radio work, Baylen is Head of Music for the website Holler and Artistic Director of The Long Road festival.
Al Booth is an Editor at BBC Radio. Currently overseeing shows including Jo Whiley’s evening show, The Country Show with Bob Harris and Radio 2’s Sunday Live music programme, Al is also responsible for major network projects including music festivals, the recent Country season and a range of music documentaries. She produced The Country show with Bob Harris for more than ten years, ran the Radio 2 Country pop-up DAB station and has produced coverage of both the CMA and Americana awards in Nashville.
Richard Wootton has been an independent music publicist for over 30 years, specialising in projecting left field musical genres - including folk, country and Americana - into the mainstream while also taking care of specialists. “I like to think I run a boutique rather than a department store,” he says. Now only focused on radio and TV, his long-term clients include Richard Thompson, Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Gillian Welch.
Emily Barker is an award-winning singer-songwriter, best known as the writer and performer of the theme to the BBC’s hugely successful crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. Her new album A Dark Murmuration of Words was released on September 4th 2020 through Thirty Tigers and
hit number 1 on the Official Americana Album chart in the UK garnering widespread acclaim.
“an album of spare, striking beauty” Mojo ★★★★
“…a kind of Australian equivalent of PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake” UNCUT 8/10
“bold, direct, uncompromising” CLASH