Frost Advisory #662 – Falling In Love With The Format

We programmers tend to be pretty nifty at analysis. It’s too long. It’s too short. There’s too much of “A” and not enough of “B.”

Successful radio stations are analyzed regularly. But analysis, if it goes no further than analysis, can have blind spots.

“Spreadsheets are lazy. They don’t tell you about people. They don’t tell you about communities. This is how too many business decisions are made today.”


Over the last two decades I have worked with several talent and programmers that simply didn’t love the format. That’s okay in a sense.

I once worked at a country station in Dallas and despite growing up in Texas I wasn’t particularly a country music fan. But that didn’t last long. I learned to LOVE the format. I met the listeners, I went to the concerts, I loved and appreciated the people I worked with, and I desired their passion to become mine. But it was a deliberate pursuit. I wanted to GET it.

What does it sound like if your talent doesn’t love the format? Perhaps they announce songs and artists as if they weren’t even listening to the same station as the listener. This is a missed opportunity to communicate a shared experience.

What if the program director doesn’t love the format? He/she programs like it is a secular AC, with little understanding of the format’s WHY and understanding that our format can be transformative, not just consumed as a medium. (I’ll detail this in a future Frost Advisory. It’s too important to be ignored.)

For your consideration…

Whether an air talent, program director, or general manager, ultimately…

  • You need to fall in love with the work
  • You need to fall in love with the show
  • You need to fall in the love with the format

In your analysis of the Xs and Os, don’t forget the emotional connection. Without that you’ll simply paint by the numbers.

John Frost

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *