Musicvein Advice Series – Radio Airplay with Helen Mayhew

helen mayhew pictured by chris lopezIn the last installment of the Musicvein Advice Series we speak with the award winning Jazz broadcaster Helen Mayhew. Although you can tune in the Helen’s Jazz FM‘s ‘Dinner Jazz’ show 7-10pm every weeknight – I must stress that her views in the article to follow are her own and in no way associated with Jazz FM.

Twice winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Award for best presenter, 2005 and 2008, Helen Mayhew began her career in radio over 2 decades ago. Her evening programme is the most listened-to on the Jazz FM station with Helen being renown for choosing the finest music for her dedicated Jazz fans. In 2012 she was inducted into the Radio Academy Hall Of Fame.

Musicvein: Do you think radio airplay still has the impact today for artists that it had when you first started your career?

Helen: I think it is still a good way of getting your music noticed, although social networking is increasingly important. Some people do like to be guided by a trusted source.

Musicvein: What advice would you give to artists trying to get airplay?

Helen: I would say be careful about targeting the right programme. Listen to the station beforehand and if you think your music would fit in to the format, then submit it straight to the presenter.

Musicvein: Presenters get thousands of requests every week from artists trying to get their music played, is it acceptable nowadays to send a web link to a file sharing site or are physical CD’s still preferred?

Helen: I always ask for a CD, partly because I don’t have very good speakers on my computer, and partly because my programme is recorded as live, through a conventional radio desk. So I don’t have the facilities to be able to play MP3’s or whatever.

Musicvein: If an artist is unsuccessful in getting their initial song played by the station, is it worth going back with their follow up record?

Helen: Yes! I don’t play anything that isn’t right for my programme, but sometimes artists do send a follow up that is just right. That may be on their 4th or 5th album!

Musicvein: What are the common mistakes that artists make when sending in their music?

Helen: Sending in music that is badly recorded or performed. Not giving me enough notice of a release or a gig – even being a bit too persistent with emails. I don’t like to give feedback, as music is such a personal thing. My only criteria is, if I like it, and it’s right for the programme, I will play it.

To get in contact with Helen visit her website

Well that’s the end of this Advice series but I will be back with more insights from more music industry pro’s. If there’s a particular subject you want to get an answer on drop me a line and I’ll investigate

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