Interview: JoJamie Hahr on radio promotion.

JoJamie Hahr of Broken Bow Records is as vibrant as she is personable. In spending just a little time with her it’s not hard to understand how she has made her way to a such place of influence in Nashville. She’s smart, has paid her dues, and bottom line: she’s super hardworking. I chatted with JoJamie about her work in promotion and specifically asked her to demystify some of the process of how a song makes it’s way to country radio. Here’s the beginning of the interview in print, and the remainder of the interview and the details of radio promotion can be found in the first episode of our brand new podcast which is premiering on CountryLiving.com.

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A little background: JoJamie started college at 17 at the University of Central Florida, and in her first semester she interned with Mike Moore at K92FM in Orlando (WWKA). Immediately after her internship ended, Mike hired her part time at the station where she worked throughout college. Upon graduation, they hired her full time to be an event coordinator and she had a role on the morning show. Meanwhile, Mike went onto Nashville to work as the PD for WSIX, and not long afterwards recruited JoJamie to move to Nashville as well and become his Promotion Director at WSIX. So at 23 JoJamie headed north for Nashville, and not too long after that, she made the jump into the label world working as the Promotion Coordinator for MCA Records, and ultimately landing at Broken Bow records where she worked Jason Aldean’s first single “Hick Town.” She spent a few years at Valory (an imprint of Big Machine) making her way to a national promotion position, but ultimately returned to Broken Bow— first as VP of Promotion from their management division, and now as their VP of Marketing where she works with the likes of Jason Aldean, Randy Houser, Chase Bryant, Lindsay Ell, and Dustin Lynch to name a few.

KB: Can you tell me more about your early days in radio: 

JH: I’m smiling so big, not because it’s not great now, but when I first started in the business in radio, to me it was the best thing ever. I was hanging banners in 100 degree weather. We had this 36ft long RV for the station and one of my jobs (on Wednesdays) was to drive the RV to the campground and empty the toilet. Not even kidding you. I love telling that story because for people that want to be in the business, it’s not glamorous and everyone has to do grunt work no matter what. I think back on that time, specifically in radio, as  it was just really cool. Even though at the time I was doing all this crazy work.

I asked JoJamie to explain how the promotion team (the people who promote records to country radio) is laid out at Broken Bow. It’s organized slightly differently at each label, but this is a great example of how they’re structured so those interested can see who does what.

JH: At BBR we have 4 different imprints and the thought process behind that is that every artist gets the attention they deserve. Those labels are: WheelHouse, Stoney Creek, Broken Bow, and Red Bow. Each label has their own promotion team which consists of 4-5 people. A VP of Promotion (the head of that promotion team), a National Director of Promotion, and 2-3 Regionals, and a Coordinator.  Let’s say there are 150 radio stations across the whole country, those areas are broken up into 4 “regions.”  So each Regional is responsible for an area, and here our National VP also is responsible for mentoring the Regionals but they also oversee one of the regions. And then the Promotion Coordinator is assisting those guys out in the field.

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KB: For the most part these promotion teams are promoting to specific radio stations, called “reporting stations.” Can you explain in simple terms what a “reporting station” is?

JH: A reporting station is a radio station that reports to one of our chart systems: Mediabase or Billboard. In the simplest terms, every time one of the stations play a song it is reported back to this monitored on a computer system.

Now…to hear more about the process and about how songs actually make their way to the radio station….click on over to our brand new podcast.

Follow Jojamie Hahr on twitter, insta, facebook, snapchat: @JoJamie. Also keep up with all the BTS stuff from Broken Bow Records via the #BBRMG Show here.

10 Comments on Interview: JoJamie Hahr on radio promotion.

  1. Kristy
    August 25, 2016 at 8:21 pm (10 months ago)

    I’ve always found the blog to be so well written and I hoped the podcast wouldn’t disappoint. Verdict: I loved the first podcast Kelleigh, you are such a eloquent speaker, songwriter, vocalist and your personality is infectious. Your podcast was so very interesting and I can’t wait to listen again. As for the country radio machine, it’s crap….you should be on radio along with so many other talented artists. What’s great about todays social media driven world is that people like myself can find talented artists like yourself. With any luck we will make a difference for you all by being your fans and purchasing your music without you being on the radio. Can’t wait to see you in concert again soon.

    Reply
    • Kelleigh
      August 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm (10 months ago)

      THANK YOU KRISTY. TOO KIND. THANKS FOR THE COMMENT.

      Reply
  2. Megan Hopkins
    August 25, 2016 at 8:33 pm (10 months ago)

    Listened to your podcast this morning at work!! Absolutely loved it, I was captivated from start to finish! Hearing from your perspective and personal experiences as well as having honest insight from other industry professionals was so refreshing!. Love that you’re not afraid to bring these issues to light and further debate and discuss them. Keeping kicking goals love. Can’t wait for the next installment xx

    Reply
    • Kelleigh
      August 25, 2016 at 8:38 pm (10 months ago)

      THANK YOU MEGAN! so appreciate you listening.XO

      Reply
  3. Abbie
    August 25, 2016 at 11:37 pm (10 months ago)

    This is my first time commenting. I’ve had two doses of you today: Nada from the Bobby Bones Show had linked your podcast on Twitter and I listened to it. Also I listened to you on the Bobby Cast. It’s very interesting to hear the struggles you’ve experienced in the industry, especially coming from a women’s perspective. My radio channel of choice is a country station and I honestly hated country music at one point. I’m in the age range where the Sam Hunts, Luke Bryan’s, and Blake Shelton’s appeal to me. Then again, I’m also listening to Tim McGraw, Keith Urban (just saw this amazing talent in concert last weekend), William Michael Morgan, Drake White, Carrie Underwood, Mo Pitney, and Chris Stapleton. Growing up on the mid 90s, I was introduced to Tim McGraw and Keith Urban and believe these two are making the best music of their careers at this point. There are some artists that are having a difficult time staying relevant due to the constant shift in trends (Brad Paisley). These artists may have to compromise their sound to be played on radio. Is that fair? No, not really but it’s also a means of income for these artists although I’m sure Brad is doing alright. One artist I think is severely underrated and has one of the best male voices is David Nail. His most recent album, “Fighter” is what every artist should strive for. A mix of radio friendly songs, great songwriting, and beautiful, subdued production on the more meaningful songs. Had “Nights on Fire” hit #1, we could see a more substantial song such as “Home” or “Old Man’s Symphony” on the radio although these two are very personal. It seems David can only get 1-2 singles from an album which is ridiculous. Now based off your discussion, I do believe an artist can “make it” without radio. Chris Stapleton is a great example of this. “Nobody to Blame” was played a lot on my local radio station but it didn’t reach the top spot. The case with Stapleton is that he was exposed on the ACM awards and his album then sold millions of copies and has essentially stayed number one on the country iTunes album chart for the past 6 months. There’s constantly an student against streaming. I use Spotify and pay for premium. An artist like Eric Church wants the consumer to listen through the whole album and nowadays, this isn’t a thing, especially given radio plays the singles that are sent to radio (usually). For the consumer who only listens to radio, they’re not being exposed to the whole album and I think that’s one fault in radio. My local radio station is very pop-country oriented. There are some bands and artists I can’t stand listening to and will change the dial if needed. There’s a lot more males being played but I also hear Cam and Maren Morris whom I adore. It seems that females are starting to break out now but I’d like a resurgence of Faith Hill, someone who I enjoyed listening to growing up. She probably wouldn’t get much radio play because of her age and that’s wrong. There should be no gender or age discrimination on country radio. If it’s good music, play it. That’s how I feel and that’s how I’d run my own radio station but that’s clearly not my calling. I tend to listen to music to decompress, especially with the stress that accompanies a rigorous nursing program. Whether it’s radio or streaming or even buying hard copies of the album, I believe an artist can make it without radio but artists are constantly striving for radio because I think they truly believe that’s the road to stardom.

    Reply
    • Kelleigh
      August 29, 2016 at 8:15 am (10 months ago)

      Hey Abbie, Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I too grew up in the 90s and those are the artist I still gravitate to. Personally I think this Keith album is one of his best. Also, agree about Fighter–what a great album–I hope they’ll be able to get a couple singles ups the charts for David. He is absolutely hands down one of the finest singers in town.Thanks for listening and commenting, and best of luck with nursing school!

      Reply
  4. Windmills Country
    August 28, 2016 at 8:35 pm (10 months ago)

    First, congratulations on such a terrific & compelling launch to your podcast! What a rewarding, informative and engaging listen, and this interview is a great supplement.

    I’m going to keep this short by my standards because I’m still not at the point where I can type comfortably at a computer, but still wanted to weigh in on a question you asked in the podcast: what is a hit?

    I think it’s fair to say, as you did, that airplay makes for a hit. But I also think that, between the narrowing trend of country radio playlists and the development of alternative music discovery/consumption methods, radio has ceded its monopoly on defining a hit. Two examples: Kacey Musgraves’s “Follow Your Arrow” never made t40 at country radio. But that song sold over 500k copies (actually sold, not just in terms of consumption). It permeated pop culture despite the lack of radio exposure. I like to refer to it as a hit song that country radio whiffed on.

    The second example you also know well: Chris Stapleton’s version of “Tennessee Whiskey.” His version has never been a radio single, but has sold over 802k copies and been streamed over 70 million times between just Spotify and Youtube. To me, that’s a hit song.

    Or maybe, if we want to continue to consider “hits” in terms of radio, we need a new term, like “impact song.” Not all radio hits are impact songs in the sense that not all of them sell or otherwise make a mark beyond their runs up and down the charts. But a term like “impact song” can maybe be used to incorporate consumption factors like sales, streams and whatever other metrics of pop culture permeation/acceptance we want to use.

    So can an artist have an “impact song” without radio? Between social media, TV and online platforms, absolutely. And that makes this an especially promising time for someone with the music you have out and up your sleeve.

    Again, congratulations on the launch of the This Nashville Life podcast! I can’t wait to hear what’s next!

    Reply
    • Kelleigh
      August 29, 2016 at 8:10 am (10 months ago)

      Thank you Dev. I love the language of “impact song” and the spirit of what that could actually mean for an artists career.

      Reply
  5. Charlotte Lawrence
    October 6, 2016 at 4:59 pm (9 months ago)

    Kelleigh: I am officially obsessed with your podcast. I’m on Ep3 already and just started listening this afternoon. I love country music and am not crazy about my current job. I have been really preoccupied lately with the nitty gritty details of country music and what it would be like to work in the background of that industry – how it gets made, who wrote this and what other stuff did they write, are there lots of lawyers? (I’m a paralegal – this is a weird question for most, but not me.) Your first podcast about how the music gets on the radio was fascinating. It makes me mad. As you were going through your questions in the beginning, I thought “Is it about representation?” I saw a blog post recently pointing out that award winners tend to be represented by the same agency. That coincidence blew my mind. I am constantly looking for good, new music to dive into and would be much more apt to listen to the actual radio if I knew of a station that would focus on that vs. a new song mixed in with the other top 10 most played songs over and over again.

    I love hearing the stories from people in the industry – the first few notes of Sugar blew my mind when I played Maren Morris’ album for the first time. Instantly one of my favorites. Maren, Maggie Rose, Miranda Lambert, Patsy Cline and your new EP are my current playlist. I saw you in Peoria when you were on tour in Bloomington, IL with Little Big Town and Drake White. You did awesome.

    This comment is such a hodgepodge of information, but I got really excited listening to episode 1. It really boils down to this: Good job, keep it up! I will keep listening. I wish the episodes were a bit longer, but the quality of the content is top notch.

    Reply
    • Kelleigh
      October 7, 2016 at 11:09 pm (9 months ago)

      Thank you Charlotte! That’s so kind. And I’m soooo glad you’re enjoying them. We’re having a blast making them. Thank you for your words, and for listening to new music and giving emerging artists a shot in your own playlist!! Means a lot. Xo

      Reply

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