FMQB Airplay Tracking
As if getting airplay weren’t hard enough, trying to find out who actually played your material seems to just compound the problem. You can’t always go by what the stations tell you.
Enter the tracking systems. “Tracking” is finding out when and where you are played. There are several companies who offer this service, but the focus here is FMQB (Friday Morning Quarterback.) FMQB also puts out two printed weekly magazines (“FMQB-Pop” and “FMQB-Rock”), along with 12 special-issues covering specific formats. But it is the tracking service that we are interested in. FMQB tracking is of great use to new artists/labels because:
1. It tracks commercial radio (as opposed to non-commercial/college radio.)
2. It includes small markets (where new indie labels have the best
3. It does this using the non-monitored system.
4. Results are available 24/7 on the web.
5. It is affordable.
The commercial radio aspect of FMQB tracking is important simply because most folks are seeking commercial radio. Other competing tracking systems also do commercial radio, and of course, there is one for college radio, too.
The inclusion of small markets, however, is a very important feature of FMQB that the other tracking systems don’t offer. While the other tracking service for college covers stations in large and small markets, it only (for the most part) covers non-commercial radio. And the other services which do handle commercial stations tend to be only major and medium markets. (See the total list of markets here)…
Large/medium markets won’t do a smaller label/artist any good, unless it is just specialty/mixshow spins that are desired. For regular rotation tracking in the smaller markets, FMQB is the only choice.
The method of FMQB tracking is the traditional “manual” reporting system, whereby a station sends a fax/email of what they are playing to FMQB. FMQB is the only commercial radio service to do this…the other commercial services instead use “monitoring”, where either people or computers listen to what the stations actually play. For new/smaller artists and labels, the traditional model is preferred since you can get reported by the stations even before you are spun. And you can feed this info back to the people who need to know, like clubs, press, stores, managers, labels, bookers, and other stations. With the monitored systems, you don’t get any results until after the spins occur, which can sometimes cost you an entire week.
FMQB is, however, similar to some of the other services when it comes to accessing the results, in that it allows you to get the results from their site using a password. This is compared to getting a fax, or waiting for a magazine, or having to load and run a separate program (that you have to install first.)
Lastly, FMQB is only $90/week for Metal or AAA (FMQB calls it “Progressive”) or AC. The Metal and AAA cover about eighty stations each, while the AC covers over two hundred. The competing services (which you’ll have to use anyway if you have a different genre) start at $100 per scan (not per week), or $500/week for ongoing weekly use, and they don’t even include the smaller markets (much less any advance results.)
Some notes on using FMQB tracking: Results usually start coming in on Monday mornings, and they can continue coming in until about Wednesday. There is an indicator that tells you how many stations have reported (0 to 100 percent), and it’s important not to judge your final results until it says 100 percent. It’s actually possible for you to move onto and off of a chart as more and more of the results are added to the total.
For a free trial of FMQB tracking, they are allowing the AAA (i.e.,
“Progressive”) tracking to be used without a password. Just go here:
Bryan Farrish is an independent radio airplay promoter. He can be reached at 818-905-8038 or www.radio-media.com