Frost Advisory #182 – Thanksgiving Thoughts on Encouraging the Encouragers

The Frost Advisory this week is a departure from the usual thoughts on how to make your radio station better. Instead I’d like to take this moment during Thanksgiving week to encourage you in the important work you do at your radio station.

I’m told that the word “encouragement” literally means to pour courage into. This word appears over 100 times in the New Testament.

Despite announcing some games for the St. Louis Cardinals over the years I never met Darryl Kile; but I wish I had. He was a pitcher for the Redbirds when he died suddenly at age 33 prior to a game at Wrigley Field. His teammates were so stunned by the loss that the game was postponed.

The tributes began almost immediately.

“When Darryl Kile showed up at the ballpark each day, he did so with an agenda – it was actually written out, too – that identified who he would seek out to encourage that day. His hope was that the attention would make someone better, that his love would make a difference.”

There is an old saying,

“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.”

My how-I-got-into-radio story is unique because it came about as an indirect result of the death of a friend. After sharing my story someone gave me words of encouragement I’ll never forget.

“You went to the radio station to get bad things off the air and to put good things on,” she said, “and you still do.”

Thousands and thousands of people are encouraged by your station each day.

Sometimes we need to step back and encourage the encourager.

Frost Advisory #181 – November 22, 1963 and Your Radio Station

For people to see a thing in the same way it is helpful that they be standing in the same place looking in the same direction at the same thing.

Every radio format can be steered one of two directions – culture or subculture.

The direction is usually the result of leadership’s vision, financial or ratings goals, or competitive factors. But sometimes it happens by accident, with little awareness of the day-to-day, break-by-break decisions that move a station there.

My experience is that Christian music radio stations default to subculture (and therefore smaller audiences) unless they are purposeful about being culturally relevant. (Frost warning: that may mean taking risks and not doing what is easiest).

To a certain generation November 22, 1963 was a day the world changed, just as December 7, 1941 did for our parents’ generation, and September 11, 2001, did for our children’s.

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Frost Advisory #180-Stuff That Doesn’t Matter Doesn’t Matter

I saw this road sign recently and couldn’t resist pulling my car over to take this picture.

Seems to me this sign communicates two distinct messages. First, the road I’m traveling on is currently free, which is undoubtedly obvious. Second, that someday it won’t be, which is undoubtedly negative.

Obvious and negative. Interesting concepts for marketing lines, don’tcha think?

Whether it is as seemingly insignificant as pointing out you’re airing the FINAL traffic report of the morning or afternoon (translation: if you want another traffic report you won’t find it here) or as significant as claiming your station has a wide variety of music all the while knowing that listeners come to you specifically for a narrow niche of music, obvious or negative marketing messages don’t add value to your station’s programming.

I’ve heard of a station that claims to be the “official” Christmas music station, without any explanation of what that means or how it is of value. (By the way, that’s not necessarily a bad concept but its value is directly proportional to its benefit to the listener).

The Contemporary Christian music format, perhaps more than any other, has real benefits and real value for listeners. We don’t need to just make stuff up that doesn’t matter.

Frost Advisory #179 – 4 Easy Steps to a Really Swell Radio Station

It’s simple, really. *

In a short burst of clarity and creativity I’ve come up with The World’s Simplest Checklist for a really swell radio station. (Believe me they only come to me in short bursts).

Grab your pen and count up your points!

When real people tune to my station for the very first time they hear something that sounds familiar and makes them feel at home. (True-25 points: False-zero)

When real people tune to my station for the very first time they hear something relevant to their life. (True-25 points: False-zero).

When real people tune to my station for the very first time they hear something compelling. To them, not to us. (True-25 points: False-zero).

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #24 – The 5 Subjects: How To Choose Content

No doubt about it; the thing I get asked about the most is Content; what to talk about each day.  Choosing the right Content is crucial to doing a great show, no matter what your radio station’s format is.

Some of your Content is provided for you with station promotions and events, contests, special listener “clubs” that give feedback on the music, stuff like that.  And in a music format, there’s always stuff about the artists, concert dates (if they apply to your market), and whatever special musical features you provide.

But that’s only about half of what you need.

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