Written by: Joy Nathu is one of the most recognized voices and names in Malawi through his work as an MC, Club DJ and Radio DJ/ Presenter at MBC Radio 2 FM. Joy commands a weekly listenership of over 2 million through his Monday night show, Made On Monday.


Do your research and identify the right radio station, radio show, and the right DJs or presenters for your music. Just imagine a Secular Hip Hop artist sending their song to a Gospel radio show or DJ. It may sound crazy, but many artists fall into such traps because the show or DJ is trending. Don't get too excited with the idea of "trying your luck" that you forget to consider the boundaries involved. Every radio show has a format that is observed. Always stick to your lane and submit your music to the platform that suits it.


If you are going to send your music to a station, first find out how they prefer receiving their music; is it by email, CD, or do they have a cell phone that they use for receiving music? You can do this by contacting any personality that works there and asking them. If you can, make a trip to the station and find out in person.


As with the point above, make sure you do your research on personalities too. Find out how they prefer to receive their music. Every radio personality (DJ or presenter) has a preferred method of receiving music. If you have their phone number, ask via phone call or message. If you follow them on social media, you can inbox them and ask for their preferred method of receiving music.


Do not, I repeat, DO NOT send music by WhatsApp before getting authorisation to do so from the DJ or presenter. I get a lot of music through WhatsApp from people I do not know - without any greeting too! The few greetings I get are usually a ‘Hi’ or ‘Hy’, while others simply send their music and write a message afterwards saying they ‘want’ airplay - not asking but imposing. This is a total let-off. In addition to that, WhatsApp audios that aren't sent as documents don’t contain embedded information about the song title or artist, so they usually get lost in my music library.


If you have a DJ or Radio Presenter's contact and you call to talk to him/ her on the phone, remember to first introduce yourself. Make use of the few seconds you have to inform the person who you are and what services you require. If you have interacted before, do not assume he or she will remember you. Introduce yourself still.


I usually advise artists to try and meet a DJ or presenter physically. Not only does this cut the back-and-forth messaging but allows the two of you to know each other by face. It creates a great working relationship - supposing that your music fits the DJ or presenter's radio show.


Try as much as you can to submit your music to more than one person. There is no harm in trying your luck with several DJs or presenters. This helps create opportunity and visibility if your music is liked by two or more DJs or presenters as it equates to more airplay.


Sometimes unprocedural methods can be the answer as it's not always about submitting your music directly to a DJ or presenter. If you want to get your music heard, spread it everywhere - from the internet to CDs to flash drives to bars. Doing this will get your music played in places you never expected. There are many stories of how DJs or presenters discovered music at clubs or other places and eventually ended up sourcing the music to play on their radio shows.


Try as much as you can to build a name for yourself so that you slowly gain mileage before getting airplay. It becomes much easier for any Radio Personality to work with someone who has an established fan base whether big or small, because that helps portray an image of how serious you are taking yourself as an artist.


Treat anyone who plays your music with respect. Make sure you appreciate the time and consideration to play your material because radio DJs have a million other songs to play but decide to slot you in. I hear many people saying "It’s a DJ's job to play my music". Well, that's both true and false. Have you ever thought about how many music folders a DJ has? How special are you to be played? He/ She could have played Chris Brown or any other song but instead chose yours. Playing your song means they have you in mind, and that should be appreciated.