As I approach my 40th anniversary in radio I’ve been privileged to work with dozens and dozens of people much smarter and talented who have generously poured themselves into me.
This week’s programming tip is a result of taking those influences to discern the decision making dynamics at dozens of Contemporary Christian radio stations over the last decade.
I’ve worked with radio stations that have become award winning in the industry, and I’ve worked with stations that have been a short blip on the screen. (Anyone remember Shine 97.7 in Albuquerque? I didn’t think so).
This week’s tip isn’t about the music you play, the disc jockeys you hire, or how much marketing and research a station has. This tip is about how trust is developed, and its impact on a station’s progress.
There is a lot of discussion in our format about new music. In fact, the only music discussion in our format is about new music.
Online forums, trade magazines, charts, and record company promotion folk spent much time, space, and energy in dialogue about what new songs your station should be playing. The foundational problem with this dialogue is that “new music” isn’t really a category of music at all, although the very discussion assumes that it is.
I collected baseball cards as a kid. I mean I really, really collected baseball cards as a kid. When most of my friends were buying a just pack or two at a time, I would ride my bike down to Klotzbach’s Little Store and buy the entire carton. The gum in those packs was hard enough to pick a lock but it gave the card an unforgettable smell.
Even at that early stage of life there was something about being associated with a winner.
The American Airlines commercials that ran over the 4th of July holiday are remarkable and a wonderful lesson in how to tell a powerful story.
(Please do not read below until you’ve seen the commercials)
Almost all brainstorming results in ideas. Some brainstorming results in good ideas. Seldom does brainstorming result in “the complete thought”—the place you reach when eyes light up and everyone shouts, “YES!”.
I had a remarkable experience recently.
I had the privilege of celebrating a unique milestone with an amazing TEAM of people who are extremely devoted to their mission. It was also the very first time in my 38 years of doing this radio thing where I experienced station leadership (notice I didn’t use the word ‘management’) creating an event where they could publicly acknowledge every single individual’s contribution and value to the team, from the higher profile air talent to the people who load the truck, stuff the envelopes and fix the air conditioning.
Every Christmas for the last several years I’ve thrown a few coins into the Salvation Army bucket down the street at Wal-Mart. But not this year. Nope. You see, they’ve changed their bell ringer. The guy standing outside the store ringing the bell is going to be different this season, so I’ve decided not to give.
Ludicrous, isn’t it? Obviously no one would stop donating to the Salvation Army because a single bell ringer was replaced with another.
Or is it ludicrous? My guess is that many radio stations experience this on a fairly regular basis.