Those words haunted me recently at a radio station. While they were spoken by a program director about the general manager those words could have once been spoken about me.
We only know what we know. Until the moment we say that we’re ready to learn, we’re stuck… with only the things in the rear view mirror as a reference.
“Everything I know I learned from someone else.”
Simply stated, strategy is about the big idea; why do we exist? What do we stand for? What difference are we making?
Maybe you haven’t thought about this in a while, but in moving back from five and a half years in Hawaii to my home town of Shreveport, Louisiana, I’m resetting the stations on my car radio. As a result, I’ve been listening to a lot of different stations recently. And I’m hearing a lot of things on music stations that I thought had been killed off a long time ago…
The “first in, last out” (FILO) thing where every break mandatorily starts with the name of the station, then also ends with the name of the station. (This was always ridiculous. Why do you want to sound like you somehow forgot that you said your name a few seconds ago? And why would you EVER put the name of your station right next to a commercial break? Think about it: You = commercials is not a good impression to lock into the listener’s brain.)
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
I’ve heard it said that there are no straight lines in nature. Every shoreline curves and winds. Every path is jagged and bumpy. Every landscape has heights and depths.
Over the years I’ve learned that radio stations go through seasons. Often we have the illusion of stability until we’re jolted by change.
A lot of shows struggle with getting any really viable phone call feedback from listeners. They tap into a subject, maybe offer an opinion, do a solicitation for feedback, give the phone number, then… nothing.
Waves of silence. No phone lines lighting up. Or if there is a call, it’s pretty much the same type of call they got last time (often from the same tiny pool of callers) with pretty much the same type of comment they always get.
The safe, predictable, no-new-ground-broken feedback loop.
Her name was Jane. She was the first girl I ever asked out on a date. She said no.
I convinced myself that it was because of the big zit on my forehead. Or that I wasn’t on the football team. I found out later it was because she and her family went out of town.
We think we’re pretty important, don’t we?
We think our station fans’ (P1s) behavior is a direct result of our programming tactics. I’ve heard otherwise reasonable people exclaim that ratings went up because of the new jingles, ratings went down because we didn’t hit the spot breaks within the bow tie, or question our ratings because we didn’t have a specific number of songs on our playlist.