When my friend, Kevin Metheny, was programming a small-signal station in San Diego he chose the strategy of creating his own universe to compete in. The world outside the signal didn’t exist. He put all his effort, from music research to community involvement (called remotes in those days) into this smaller definition. He wound up taking the station to the top of the ratings by focusing on where he was, instead of where he wasn’t.
I wonder if that’s the same thing as one of Seth Godin’s recent posts, called “In search of the minimum viable audience?” He points out that most people are focused on reach or the maximum possible audience. I know in our business being at the top of the ratings gives bragging rights, but I wonder if the continual focus on reach hurts us in the ability to create raving fans? Or as Godin says, “When you seek to engage with everyone, you rarely delight anyone. And if you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind changemaker, you never get a chance to engage with the market.”
Those who tried to lower the demo in ’60s oldies, make AC more hip or create a Christian CHR are all chasing the maximum reach. Those who understand, and embrace, what some would call their limitations, but in fact are their realities, are the real leaders.