I heard someone play the violin this morning in church. I love the violin, but for a different reason than you might think. I love the violin because my mother loved the violin.
“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is if they are showing you the way.”Donald Miller, “Blue Like Jazz“
It’s my guess that almost everything you love is because someone else loved it first. Whether it’s going to the ballgame with dad, or learning how to make your mom’s apple pie, or the family gin rummy game after dinner.
These are interesting times.
I can’t recall a time where our country was more polarized. Whether it’s politics, race relations, face masks or where your elderly mother can get the vaccine, it seems like we’re regularly ducking for cover. Even the MLB All-Star game is controversial, and that is mom and apple pie stuff.
What in the name of Dr. Fauci is going on?
So, how do we stay relevant in our mission while also handling the inevitable complaints?
When we hear criticism about our station we often react in a way that is absolute. There is a complaint about song and we yank it from the playlist. Someone criticizes a comment from a deejay and we make her write “I will not try to be relevant” on the blackboard a hundred times. A general manager once told me he had so over-reacted to every complaint that his station had little worth listening to anymore.
Rather than react in absolutes where SOMETHING MUST BE DONE RIGHT THIS MINUTE, consider the complaint as if a customer in a restaurant had just asked for more salt. They are simply telling you how they would like prefer their food; not anyone else’s food – THEIR food. Even with a politically charged topic they are really just sharing how they see things, not suggesting that you should go out of business.
We added a new jingle package and our ratings went up!
We ran that new promotion and our ratings went down.
I know of a general manager that wanted to change the shifts of the deejays based upon weekly or monthly ratings. I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP, as Dave Barry would say.
Our minds crave simplicity. We crave the Silver Bullet.
“People are drawn to black and white opinions because they are simple, not because they are true. Truth demands serious effort and thought.”Donald Miller
Just this week I found out a friend’s middle name is the same as my first name. But wait… wait… there’s more!
We also discovered that my middle name is the same as his first name. We’ve known and worked together for most of ten years and we never knew.
How do your listeners get a sense that your station has lots of listeners? Because they hear lots of listeners. It’s like an audio version of a crowd shot.
Trust me. I’m going somewhere with this.
In their book “Made to Stick,” Chip and Dan Heath share the story of a newspaper with a remarkable 100% circulation rate: everyone in his small town reads it. The publisher’s country wisdom was simple: “Names, Names, Names,” reasoning that people read his newspaper because they wanted to see their own names (or someone else’s).
Perhaps you’ve heard it said that the church is known more for what it is against than what it is for.
“A business is no longer what it tells customers it is. A business is what customers tell other customers it is.”
In his book “Know What You’re For,” Jeff Henderson recommends that you consider the gap between these two questions:
- What do you want to be known for?
- What are you known for?
The gap between the two answers will illuminate how your station moves from a transactional relationship with your listeners to one that is more relational.