Guidelines for Radio Stations and DJs

(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 charts@folk.org. FAI is actively seeking improved solutions for the future to further enhance accuracy, participation, and acces.

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.

How to report to the FAI Folk Chart

The FAI Folk Chart data is collected exclusively from playlists posted to the FolkDJ listserv in the format outlined below in points 1 to 4. Please note the Folk DJ Listserv is an independent forum and is not formally associated with FAI or the Folk Chart.

  1. DJs must be subscribed to the FolkDJ listserv in order to post playlists to the Listserv
  2. DJs are encouraged to report playlists every time their show airs. 
  3. Post by 11:59pm ET on the last day of the month to be counted in the current month
  4. The only way to guarantee the chart software collects playlist data consistently is if the playlist post uses the exact same format each time as follows: 
  5. Email subject line should appear as:
    • Playlist (# of songs played during show), Name of show, Date(s) reporting

      Examples:

      Playlist (8): Mostly Folk Podcast Episode 405 featuring Lula Wiles (2/2/19)

      Playlist (61): The Acoustic Outpost, Folk Frontier on Feb 9

      Playlist (32): Doug Lewis show on WQCS IN Fort Pierce, Florida, Feb 3 + Feb 10

    • If you need to post corrections, use the original subject with “Corrected” added. For example: Corrected Playlist (58): The Acoustic Outpost, Folk Frontier on Feb 8
  6. Playlist report should include: 
    • Broadcast date, time, program/show
    • Host or “on air” name
    • Contact info for submissions (email for digital, mail for physical)
    • Tracks spun (Artist / Song / Album / Label)
    • Note interviews or special programming. For live studio performances, note “Live @ [Radio Call Letters] / Platform”

Top spins submission/count. Programmers (Those who program and do not host show(s))  are encouraged to submit their top spins of the month, following the playlist submission guidelines. Please note each song submitted on a spin list will be counted once on the FAI Folk Chart, regardless of the times the song has been broadcast that month on the submitting service.

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.

NACC STATION WEIGHTS

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

How to report to the NACC Folk Chart 

  1. Sign up by emailing support@naccchart.com to request a login
  2. Once signed up with NACC, login at www.naccchart.com
  3. You will be asked for your top 10 albums of the week. As a tastemaker chart, both Folk DJs (show hosts) and Music Directors can report to this list.

We recommend DJs make themselves aware of station or publication policies and federal guidelines. Two such policies to inquire about, if you have not already:

  • Conflict of Interest: It is a conflict of interest for radio professionals to benefit in any way from airplay of any song or album. DJ/ Programmers who are also promoters, venue operators, record label employees or owners, and/or artists are encouraged to be up to date on their station/ service policy regarding potential conflict of interest. Transparency and full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is encouraged, and playlist reporting is one place you can do that.
  • Obscenity, Indecency, Profanity: In our materials for Artists, Labels and Radio Promoters, we encourage those submitting music (physically or digitally) to indicate if any recording is not FCC Clean. We alert them that radio stations can get fined and DJs can lose their licenses, even if they unknowingly broadcast material that infringes on FCC guidelines.

More Information

For charts prior to 2018, contact FAI at fai@folk.org.

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 charts@folk.org.