Frost Advisory #259 – The Top 10 Reasons Stations Aren’t Successful – #2

Over the last several weeks I’ve attempted to bring out in the open the top ten reasons Christian music stations aren’t successful. While there are certainly a number of ways to measure success having lots of people listening certainly is a step in the right direction.

(Drum roll) It’s time for the #2 reason stations aren’t successful…

The very people who would enjoy your station don’t know you’re there.

In his book “Linchpin” Seth Godin tells of an author who has passion is for his craft, but no real passion for spreading his ideas. “And if his ideas don’t spread, no gift is received. When an artist stops work before his art is received, his work is unfulfilled.” It’s that if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forest thing.

The way I see it Christian music radio is the only faith-based art form that is still in the public square. In Michelangelo’s day all art was Christian. Not so now. Christian TV is laughable. Christian bookstores and movies are still a niche, although it’s encouraging to see the recent success of faith-based films. But there are a handful of Christian music stations with larger audiences than the AC, country, or rock stations in their market. That was once unheard of. Consider the implications if we really had a passion for letting people know that we were on the air!

In the landmark research study “Why Christians Don’t Listen to Christian Radio?”, 40% of those who said they liked the music indicated they didn’t know of a station that played it.


My friend Alan (not his real name) tells me about one company that considers $1 spent on growth more important than $1 spend on maintaining. Spending that $1 on growth is non-negotiable to them, rather than the first thing that gets sliced from the budget, a practice common at most stations.

When Jesus commanded to go make disciples of all nations, I don’t recall him adding “if it’s in the budget.”

Tommy Kramer Tip #104 – Hearing/Listening

I‘ve heard jocks complain that they didn’t get any calls or emails or Facebook posts when it was expected. This seems odd to me, like a playwright complaining that the audience in the theater didn’t get a joke.

It’s easy to just say “they heard, but they didn’t listen,” but that’s
the wrong end of the binoculars, because it’s about your agenda. We should be considering the possibility that “they were listening, but they didn’t hear,” because that puts the responsibility where it really belongs—on us. If the message isn’t getting across, then we need to do a better job of getting it across.

Besides the fact that people are busy and have lives, I think there’s always a reason why someone doesn’t really hear something. Assuming out front that what you’re talking about is on target, then you have to consider that (1) maybe it’s just not clear, or (2) that the way you did it just wasn’t as compelling as it could have been.

When you put maximum effort into the precise wording and emotional investment you’ll need to make someone actually pay attention, you’ll be far more likely to get the results you want. (Vocabulary is crucial.)
If you don’t really want to dive into it that deeply, you can still be pretty good—but you can’t be great.

Treat every time you open the mike like your career depends on it, because it actually kinda does.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Is Your Station Talkable?

“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” – Howard Schultz


John Moore, one of the authors of The Passion Conversation, shared some interesting thoughts about what he calls “Talkable Brands.”  Those are the brands with so much passion in their fans that they talk about them…a lot.

Here are three things he suggests every talkable brand has:

Talkable brands are Original
The more obvious you are, the more talkable you become. Being obvious is about expressing a company’s unique personality, not just for one day, but every day a business is in business.

Talkable brands are Informational
For word of mouth to happen, someone needs to gain some knowledge from either personal experience, or through conversations, or directly from the brand. The best way to deliver word of mouth information is through stories. Three enduring stories that you can use to spark word of mouth are: (1) Improve a Life, (2) Right a Wrong, and (3) Make Good Better.

Talkable brands are Cultural
Company culture starts with your people. It’s people who will make your brand talkable. Competitors can replicate your product, your programs, your services, but they can never replicate your people delivering your product, programs and services.

Your fans are your best avenue to more listeners.  Give them the motivation of compelling, relevant content, and they’ll tell everyone they know.  The biggest challenge isn’t the fans, it’s your understanding of compelling, relevant content.

Frost Advisory #258 – The Top 10 Reasons Stations Aren’t Successful – Continued!

For the last several weeks I’ve been making a down-right nuisance of myself by bringing out into the open the top 10 reasons radio stations aren’t successful. It’s remarkable the response I’ve received! “How’d you know?”, “You must have been eavesdropping on some of our meetings!”

Here’s #3 on the countdown:

Many general managers, program directors and board of directors simply don’t understand what makes the format successful in the first place.

Consider this:

Of the 1,075 Christian radio stations in the USA, only half a dozen have at least 400,000 listeners. (There are 17 stations in Seattle alone that have at least that). I reckon’ less than twice that rank in the top five in their market.

While there are certainly many ways to define success, if one views the format as just a bunch of Christian songs by a bunch of Christian singers with a bunch of Christian disc jockeys saying a bunch of Christian stuff they won’t have many listeners.


To be really successful a station must understand a bigger idea that transcends the nuts and bolts of most programming conversations.

People don’t listen primarily because of who you are; they listen because of who they are!

When you understand that, the rest is just details.*

(*There’s lots and lots and lots to the details, but I really needed a pithy ending!)

Tommy Kramer Tip #103 – Deepak Chopra on Surprises

If you get the Sundance channel, you probably know about the series “Iconoclasts”. I just saw an episode the other day featuring actor/comedian Mike Myers and the controversial Indian-born author and speaker Deepak Chopra. Myers was insightful and funny, but Chopra said something that really rang the bell of what makes great radio:
“If a life can be a series of perpetual surprises, that’s the most joyful experience you can have.”

That’s it. That’s the ‘secret’, if there is one. Most radio today is full of information, gossip, promotional messages, etc.—but lacks surprises. Being surprised by something is like seeing a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis when you’re a kid. Or an ending to a movie that you didn’t see coming. Or unexpectedly being moved by an act of kindness.

Shock is not the same thing as Surprise; it’s just one crayon. There are others. If you’re having trouble seeing them, well, that’s what I’m here for. Coaching isn’t about a set of “do this, don’t do that” rules. It’s about helping you access the things in your noggin that can surprise the listener.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.