Meet Chris Clay, NYC radio presenter of Soul Cafe Radio ! A radio station built exclusively for great independent music Soul – RNB – Soulful Jazz – Adult Contemporary with 3 millions weekly listeners in 5 country!
Hi Chris! how did you originally get into radio? Why radio?
Chris Clay: I got in radio 32 years ago after graduating from LSU In Baton Rouge, La with a Degree in Broadcast Journalism. Radio was the obvious choice for me since I grew up in a home that was filled with music from my mom playing all the Motown greats to my dad listening to everything, from Jazz to Hits of the day. Being that I am from New Orleans not only did I hear music in my home I heard it everywhere I went. I also really enjoyed meeting people so radio was the perfect fit for me!
Can you tell us about your radio show?
Chris Clay: I was hired in May of 2018 by Taylor Made Media Group which is partly owned by Apple Radio to come and produce an indie soul radio show: Monday – Friday. When we started the show there was nothing on the radio like this …
I remember the first week I went on the air and we only had 53 people listening to the station. Now 2 years later we are the #1 Indie soul soul station in the USA / New York.
I believe the reason for that is there were a ton of artist making music and nowhere to get the music played.
We designed a platform to support the very best of that music inside a professional presentation. We support the artist with Interview, Monthly Awards. Our annual event the Indie Soul Awards which is equivalent to the Grammies. Also we also learned that’s there an audience in the world that really digs this style of music.
“With Indie Indie Soul Afternoons I try hard to fill the show with the very best indie soul, interviews with the top performing artist and humor based on the ratings its working!”
Who have been your influences and inspirations in the business?
Chris Clay: My Influences in the business have been some of the greats like Frankie Crocker, Walt baby Love and I interned under The Late E Rodney Jones and The Late Guy Broady. These guys lived and breathe radio 24 hours a day. They knew how to garner and keep an audience listening and how to break music. It was a total honor to study under these gentleman. It was tough but I’m glad they wouldn’t let me cut the corner. Its playing off today big time!
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Chris Clay: I believe that once the cellphone and tablets became mainstream it was the natural progression for the internet to become a major player in the music business. The consumer wants new music ASAP they don’t want to wait on record companies to release it. Back when the day the music lover had to wait on record companies to make the music available. Nowadays an artist can go in the studio this week and have the music playing on consumers computer or phone by the next week.
“As we look at companies like Tidal and Spotify, they’re breaking more records in one week than most major labels have done all year. I attribute that to the internet.”
What is considered a “hit record” in today’s music world?
Chris Clay: We believe a hit record is a record that’s requested organically, it streams huge numbers and when we go the the show it’s normally sold out to their crazy fan base.
There’s a lot of good records out and they sound good on the radio but when we pull the data (Sales, Streaming, and Radio Airplay) about 75% of them just don’t size up.
“I believe a lot of it is because indie artist and there team were good at making the record but don’t unstained how to market the music to radio, podcasters, and DJ’s. The other thing is finances. Radio promotion can be and expensive game.”
Do you have any tips for independent music artists?
Chris Clay: My Tips would be have a great team of honest people around you,
“Don’t burn no bridges, Learn the business (Radio, Distribution and streaming)”
Each person on your team needs to be an expert in their field whether it’s Social media, Radio, Production, Promotion etc. When hiring a indie promoter make sure you do your research on how long they’ve been in the business, how many records have they broken, what kind of relationship they have with radio before you spend your money. There are a lot of thieves in this business !
Do your research and talk to people before writing the check.
And lastly because most of making it is just pure luck Pray Often LMAO!
Are there any resources or even advice that have really helped you on your journey?
Chris Clay: I’ve always had my ear to the street … I think if you’re gonna be effective you need to be 5 steps ahead of the audience you serve. So I make it point to talk to others in the business, studio owners, artist, promoters etc to make sure I know not only what’s happening in New York but the whole country. I think that’s the only way you can be effective. And finally don’t be afraid to help … when you see something that has potential but maybe it doesn’t have the proper funding or promotion behind it ..
“Don’t be afraid to help out it will come back to you 2 fold!”