Guidelines for Artists, Labels, and Promoters

(updated September 2020)

Folk radio airplay is reported on two different charts using different parameters: 

  • FAI Folk Chart – monthly, administered by Folk Alliance International (FAI)
  • NACC FOLK Chart – weekly, administered by North American College & Community Chart (NACC), top 10 published by FAI

DJs and station Program Directors can report terrestrial, internet, and satellite folk radio activity and podcasts to both charts. The Folk Radio Charts are sent out together by FAI on a weekly basis to an opt-in industry list. Sign up here.

FAI Folk Chart

The FAI Folk Chart reports the most played Albums, Songs, and Artists on a monthly basis. The chart is non-weighted, and is based on playlists posted to the Folk DJ Listserv. The chart is international; however, most of the DJs currently posting to the listserv are based in North America. There is no cost to post to the listserv or access the chart. 

The chart is compiled monthly based on submissions from the first day of the month to 11:59pm ET the last day of the month. Reports submitted after that time are counted in the next calendar month. Program Directors of 24/7 format stations report top spins on a weekly basis – each song counting once regardless of spins.

FAI uses custom software to collect the chart data from listserv posts and to recognize variances in each DJ’s reporting approach. The program does not identify incorrect song names or spelling errors in submissions, which is mitigated by manually checking the data. In addition, all top 20 positions are manually verified to ensure final chart accuracy. To submit notice of an error or inconsistencies in playlists, please contact FAI at FAI is actively seeking improved solutions for the future to further enhance accuracy, participation, and access.

The FAI Folk Chart counts recordings played from live albums, but it does not count live in-studio artist performances. To ensure that no individual DJ has disproportionate influence on the chart by playing full albums, the chart does not count full album plays by a single artist. DJs are encouraged to program their shows as they have always independently done, which may include playing full releases; however, the chart only counts five tracks from the same album in a given playlist. This rule also applies to the artists chart, but does not apply the songs chart.

NACC Folk Chart

The NACC (North American College and Community) Folk chart, owned and operated by Marquis Label Services and Rights Management Ltd, reports Top 10 Albums on a weekly basis. In some instances, NACC will also report Singles and “Advanced Tracks” (when more than one song is released from an upcoming album). 

In 2018, FAI entered into a partnership with NAAC enabling FAI to publicly announce NACC’s Folk Top 10 Albums on a weekly basis, and to provide discounts and benefits for FAI members. Log in to your FAI account to get the member’s only discount page.

  • Artists – $75 for 3 month access
  • Labels, Radio Promoters – $50/month (only Folk chart access, not full NACC)
  • Radio Reporters – free access to NACC Folk Albums Weekly Top 30

The chart is weighted by market size, station frequency and position on other NACC charts. (see weights list below) Each station is given a weight between 1 and 5. Each position from 1-10 is also weighted with a #1 receiving more points than a #10. NACC multiplies the weight of the show/station by the position weight to determine a score, which is then combined with all other instances where a title has “charted” to determine a final score. Please note: This is a Taste Chart – it can be determined by spin count and/or curation of the DJ/programmer. Show hosts, programmers, DJs can all submit to this chart.


5 – Reserved for the largest stations (KCMP, KEXP, CBC 3, etc.)

4 – Stations in large and/or big college markets

3 – Stations in the 1000s watts range / Mid-sized markets

2 – Stations in the hundred to near 1000 watts / Smaller terrestrial stations

1 – Internet and Low Power (100w) stations

Servicing Folk Radio

The two ways to distribute music to folk DJs, programs, and stations are to 1) mail a physical copy, 2) provide links to digital versions. Digital distribution saves the artist money and is more environmentally friendly, while physical copies provide better sound quality. If mailing a physical copy it is good to still include download directions for digital versions by providing links to 1) a “stream only” preview (ie. private soundcloud tracks), 2) a well labeled wav/ mp3 download   and, 3) liners notes in PDF format.

A “One-sheet” should accompany the album with the following information:

  • Artist name (with pronunciation if needed)
  • Album title, catalogue number
  • Numbered track listing with track length times
  • Label, publisher, and PRO (Performing Rights Organization) affiliations
  • Musicians and instrumentation
  • Production and studio credits
  • A brief artist biography
  • Artist website and social media links
  • Contact information
  • Lyrics
  • FCC Clean indication for songs with profanity (Note: radio stations can get fined up to $65,000 (USD) and a DJ can lose their license for airing profane content)

Artists, labels, and promoters may post new releases to the Folk DJ Listserv – adhering to the guidelines provided here

To monitor release activity on the Folk DJ Listserv, you can use the tool here.

More Information

For charts prior to 2018, contact FAI at

For a list of Folk DJ contacts, sign into your FAI account and click here.

For questions, comments, or corrections regarding the FAI Folk Chart please email