Frost Advisory #478 – Learning The Language Of Your Tribe

We learn to talk by imitating our parents. It’s so instinctive that we hardly notice that Mommy is referring to herself in the third person (“Give it to Mommy”), inverting the perspective so the child learn will learn to say it correctly.

Your station’s tribe has a language.

Music is the language of your tribe.

But not in the way you may think.

“Before recording technology existed, you could not separate music from its social context.”

David Byrne

Music is a language of culture, which is different than being the language of the music industry.

Why do you think “I Can Only Imagine” hit #1 on the mainstream pop charts? Because it spoke the language of hope (yes, for even non-believers) that there is life and relationships beyond what we can understand.

Unfortunately we program our radio stations with a calculator rather than a heart monitor!

We focus on quantity, logistics, bow-ties, and efficiencies. We have 14 of these, we have 5 of these, we have one of these in a row. And don’t forget to mention its ranking on the charts.

When we promote concerts using language like, “they’ll play all their hits and some of their all-time favorites,” we’re speaking the language of the industry not the language of the tribe. And worse, we make new listeners feel like outsiders.

But your listener is asking “How does it make me feel?”

“Radio isn’t just filling a slot with audio. It’s a chance every time to love someone in the middle of the mess.”

Sam Kelly

Our format is the only one that speaks the language of real life, from the depths of despair to heights of joyous shouts! But you have to speak the language of your tribe to be able to sing their song.

“There’s singing at people,
There’s singing to people,
There’s singing about how you feel…
Then, there’s singing about how THEY feel”

Tim McGraw
John Frost

About John Frost

John has been a successful major market DJ and PD for such companies as CBS, Gannett, Cap Cities, Westinghouse, Multimedia, and Sandusky and publishes the Frost Advisory.

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