Category Archives: Mason Morning Minute

Changing Listeners Minds

“Persistent stories that are true, amplified by the tribe… that’s what changes behavior.” – Seth Godin

future and past

Have you listened to some of the imaging you hear on radio? Not quite “the more you listen the more you hear,” but close. We’re so busy talking about our own perspective and our own needs, that we forget that stories, not slogans, have impact and are memorable.

We write for print, use cliches, and sound very radio. But it’s not just us. Much of what you see in TV advertising falls into the same category. But we should expect more of ourselves, we’re radio people.

David Ogilvy, one of the greatest marketing people of all time, once said “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.”

With that in mind, take a listen to your imaging. What kind of “image” are you looking for? Is that what you hear?

If you listen to how your fans describe your station to each other, you get insight into what’s important. The best stations find a way to reflect that self image.

The Delusional Manager

“In the past a leader was a boss. Today’s leaders must be partners with their people… they no longer can lead solely based on positional power.” – Ken Blanchard


There’s a great scene in Forrest Gump where the Army Drill Instructor asks Gump what his responsibility is, and Gump replies, “To do whatever you tell me to drill sergeant.”  Of course the DI thinks Gump is a genius.

Unfortunately that’s often the perspective today’s boss has too.  They think they can make anyone do most anything they want by ordering.  They’re not only wrong, it’s a dangerous misapprehension. There’s a term for this kind of management, KITA, which stands for Kick In The A… never mind, you get the idea.

Only the very deluded think they can drive their team to greater success by snapping the whip and making all the decisions.  The landscape is dotted with people who thought they were leaders, and turned out to be bosses.  Usually they thought they were the only ones with all the ideas.  They thought they were expert leaders, when really they were strong bosses.

If you’ve ever felt demeaned, chances are you’re working with a manager, not a leader.  Sometimes they want to dominate you, but more often they just want you to do what they think is right.  Life seems very simple to these people.  They’re the Lone Ranger and you’re Tonto.

I know it’s not fun for the employee, and imagine it’s not fun for the boss either.  Ordering people around doesn’t really work and is followed by frustration.  In real life you need to be more like John Wooden and less like a boss.

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

“Emotional roller coasters tend to emphasize the lows, tend to be more affected by the low, by the dip in an emotional roller coaster than when you are at the peak.” – Rush Limbaugh

Roller Coaster

Roller coasters always clank and make a lot of noise as they haul you, and everyone else in the cars, up to the top for the first dip.  Funny how, with a roller coaster, it’s the dip everyone looks forward to, and they relax as they build for a drop again.  Unfortunately, we don’t see that happen with ratings with the same delight.

All it takes is for a little drop to cause gray panic, and I don’t mean screaming in delight either.

Which is too bad, because those ups and downs that come with a roller coaster are are part of life too.  Up is never straight up, it’s always up and down over time, but up overall.  When you look at your ratings over a longer period of time, like Nielsen suggests, you can tell if it’s a trend or fluctuation.  Reacting in the short term produces the reality of self-fulfilling prophecy – that most radio stations die from the inside, not the outside.

I guess the moral of the story is this: If you want to crash your station in the quickest, most efficient way, focus on the fluctuations, especially the down ones like Rush says.  Rattle your troops, shake the unshakable, confuse the future, and paint yourself into a “reactionary” corner.  If you want to continue to grow, have a little maturity and understand the ups and downs of Nielsen and life, and be the one that stays on focus.

Create Your Own Fate

“History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

John F. Kennedy

Edward John Smith was born in Great Britain, went to school, fought in war, and became a Captain. He married, had a daughter.  The family lived in an imposing red brick, twin-gabled house, named “Woodhead,” on Winn Road, Highfield, Southampton.  He was doing well.

You may have never heard of Smith, but some of you, especially those of you who are in leadership roles, are heading toward his fate.  You’re letting life happen around you with an unclear future that you think you’re protected from.  As Kennedy said, “To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

It’s not the future you’re expecting, but you may be in the same boat, with the same result, as Edward John Smith, Captain of RMS Titanic.

There’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” – General Eric Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff.


Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an advance copy of the future? It would come out early for those that registered. Or, how about an App or something that could show what’s a trend, and what’s a fad.

Too bad, but oh well. Guess we’ll have to do it on our own, learning, watching, growing and acting. It’s difficult but there are optics that can give you a better idea, not of the future, but where we’re going.

What seems clear to me is that the most popular option is to do nothing. We’re too busy working on today, or don’t have perfect clarity, or are confused by the future, or maybe you just don’t care. These people are the born followers, the people who just can’t go to the head of the line and say, “Let’s go!”

So fear and eventual irrelevance are in their future. When when you don’t spend any time thinking about or planning for the future you’ve given up.

If you’re one of those people pardon my directness, but get out of the way. Make room for those of us who want to lead, or even follow.  Stand aside, and let those who can craft the future.

Doesn’t Play Well With Others

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual starts in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth

It was kindergarten, my first year of school, at a small school in the Mohave desert. I thought I was doing ok, but then the report card came out with that dreaded admonition.

Doesn’t play well with others.

That appears on my report cards many times in my early years. You might think that’s because I was always trying to take control and tell others what to do. But you’d be surprised, because it was the opposite. I always removed myself from the others, where I could be in my own.

I was painfully shy up until my senior year in high school. Some people who know me now can’t believe it, but it’s true. I wasn’t at all social.

But I knew and saw plenty of the other type of “doesn’t play well with others.” Always had to have their way, would take toys from the other kids, and generally tried to boss around a bunch of other five year olds.

Sometimes I think they all grew up and got into radio.

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Morning Minute – The Brilliance of the Founders

“But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations… This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.” – John Adams

It’s the fourth of July and we’re celebrating the birth of our nation. In a moment of retrospection, it struck me that the founders of our nation were brilliant in how the crafted the heart and framework of the United States of America. Continue reading

Morning Minute – The Art of Storytelling

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

I first met John Moore in Nashville at a GMA event. He was a guest speaker, and wanted to meet my friend Jon Spoelstra. The next day I saw him speak about Starbucks, and how they managed the brand through their marketing.

It was only after he’d spoken that he mentioned about his stutter. Yes, someone who makes a good portion of his income speaking in front of large groups had a stutter.

But the real point of this story is the story. In a recent post John talked about his situation, but it’s not only the story, but how he told it. We can learn a lot about how John told the story. When we see on-air people trying to communicate a story, it’s a great example of mixing facts with emotion to create a reality you can feel.

Telling a great story can take longer than 60 seconds, but if it’s done well enough, it’s worth it What do you hear on your station, facts or the emotion of a story like John’s.

P.S. If you want to have a highly successful station, you need to read “The Passion Conversation,” which was co-authored by John.

Morning Minute – Leadership Lessons From Mom

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” –  C. S. Lewis

It’s Mother’s Day, not only a day of celebration but a day of reflection. It’s amazing what mom do for us, and how they teach us. One leadership lesson I learned from my mom was humility. She thought you’d never be a great leader if getting credit is the driving force behind what you do.

My mom was a foster mother for dozens of kids over the years, but only the ones no one else wanted. That’s why I was raised in a household with American Indian babies, blind kids, ones with cleft palates, and African American babies.

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Morning Minute – The Story Makes The Difference

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” – J.K. Rowling

It was on a visit to the Coppola Wineries in Sonoma County, California, when I had lunch at the great restaurant there. There was a bottle of hot sauce on the table called Mamarella. No big deal, you can find hot sauce anywhere.

But I was curious how this came to be here, and found if you turn the bottle around and read the story of the hot sauce, you have a whole different picture about it.

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