First Impressions

113You’ve probably heard the old saying “you can’t make a second first impression.”

It’s true.

In sales, in those first few seconds when you meet a new client, you are either going to continue forward progress or it will be full-stop.

Same goes for job interviews or first dates. This is what makes making a good first impression so stressful.


Good first impressions start with projecting a positive image. Projecting a positive image comes from your attitude.

I won’t go all Norman Vincent Peale on you, but your attitude is formed by what you do every waking moment. You can’t just turn it on when you need to. That will project a faux image easily discerned by any human being that can fog a mirror.

Derry’s Dad

In my broadcast sales class on talent assessments, guest lecturer and professional sales trainer Chris Derry, shared with my students that his dad was a stickler for having a positive attitude by what you wore on your face.

Come down to breakfast without a smile and you were immediately sent back upstairs. His dad didn’t care if you were late for school, you were not going to start the day at breakfast with a frowny face or a grumpy attitude. Chris said his sister went back up stairs many a day, but he quickly learned how to play the game.

But it wasn’t a game. It was building a positive character trait that would lead to a life of success in every endeavor that Derry would take on. He quickly learned even on days when he didn’t feel like smiling that forcing a smile for breakfast with his dad very quickly had him feeling more exuberant.

Fake It Till You Make It

Zig Zigler tells the story of faking a smile on his face and voice when he wasn’t exactly feeling it. He said that by faking it, it quickly became genuine and his mood would reflect his face.

Therapists will tell you that logic cannot change an emotion but action will. That by doing something that gives you a feeling of accomplishment, you will enrich your spirit and improve your attitude.

HD Radio’s 1st Impression

HD Radio is 15 years old. It answered a question no listener was asking (and still isn’t).

But why was HD Radio such a bust?

First, it was introduced with very low power that made reception of HD Radio nearly impossible in the home, office or car.

It tried to fix the poor quality of AM radio and improve the quality of FM radio. It would destroy AM radio with increasing co-channel noise interference and really make a mess of the band’s sky wave at night. With FM its improvement was almost unnoticeable to the average listener.

Worse, the promotion of HD Radio on FM radio stations often drew the comment to a listener with an FM not an HD Radio set that the sound of the station did sound better in HD. The listener didn’t understand from the radio ads they needed to buy a new radio set to pick up the HD Radio signal and so they didn’t. And even if they did figure out they needed an HD Radio set, trying to find one to buy at Walmart, Target or even Radio Shack was an exercise in futility.

Media Life magazine reported that media buyers say things like “HD Radio doesn’t feel like a thing” or “there’s almost zero consumer interest” or “it’s the least-promising technology of the new ones introduced in radio in recent years” or “most people won’t be able to hear the difference between HD Radio and regular radio and that’s a problem.”

First Impressions are a Bitch

There are 19,778 FM radio signals on the air as of the end of 2016 according to the FCC. Of those, around 2,000 of them are broadcasting in HD, about ten percent.

The number one reason those 2,000 FM radio stations are broadcasting in HD is to feed an FM translator that is not broadcasting in HD.

Media Life magazine compared how New Coke was introduced after the Pepsi Challenge was promoting it was beating Coca Cola in taste tests. I remember those days well. I was in radio sales and the local Pepsi bottler was my account. (I was a Coke drinker.)

I took that Pepsi Challenge one time with the owner of the Pepsi bottling plant and yes, I said I liked the taste of Pepsi better. He beamed.

I could tell the super sugary taste of Pepsi easily and I preferred the less sugary, belching kick of Coke. But I wasn’t about to pick the wrong one. I was in sales after all. I knew which side my bread was buttered.

Coca Cola totally bummed out about the Pepsi Challenge introduced a high sugary version of its drink and called it New Coke. It was a disaster. In months Coke brought back the original formula as Coke Classic. Today all remnants of New Coke are gone.

The lesson Media Life tells us is that “you can introduce something new and improved, but you can’t make the public want it.

Which brings me back to HD Radio.

Classic Radio

Maybe it’s time to bring back the elements that make great radio, great.

A product that is focused on a defined listener 100% of the time.

A product that is curated from music to jingles to personalities to commercials.

Nothing is put on the air that is out-of-place.

I think FM radio sounds great sonically.

Listeners do too! It’s why radio still reaches over 93% of Americans every week. It’s the #1 reach and frequency medium in America. It beats everything else. Period.

FM radio doesn’t need to make a first impression. It already is embraced by its listeners.

Bring back the classic formula that made radio great and cement radio’s future with the next generations.

Being Human Never Changes with Technology

No matter how much the technology changes, the reason one human being is attracted to another human being will never change.

Radio has their ear.

What will you say to them?



Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

17 responses to “First Impressions

  1. Tell and show the listeners you love them. Love at first sight and sound! Ascertain interests, engage with broadcast & music experts, connect. Add today’s informational & social media and grab ’em by the ears! Thank you, Professor Taylor! Clark, Boston.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rick Starr

    I remember when Alan Thicke was promoted as “The next Johnny Carson.” He came on, and 10 minutes later everyone said “No he’s not.” He never recovered. Remember when Badfinger was going to be “the next Beatles”? No, they weren’t either. You hype something and it doesn’t live up, you will never get those people back. People listened to “HD Radio” and said “it sounds the same”. Done-ski.


  3. Curt Krafft

    I don’t believe that the average person even knows what HD radio is, or cares. They don’t have the special receiver in their house and probably have no desire to shell out the extra bucks to get one. That’s especially true if they are already paying for satellite radio. Bottom line is this. All these HD2, HD3 and HD4 stations have one thing in common. No one is listening. No one cares.

    Liked by 1 person

    • People today will spend the $$$$ for the latest smartphone before they will ever spend the $$$$ for a new radio Curt. You make a good point.

      As Roy Williams says, if you want to see what people will spend money on, give them the cash and watch what they spend it on.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion. -DT


  4. Since I’m a “tech” guy, radio has lost me… (Spotify, SiriusXM IR, TuneIn Pro)


    • What’s the appeal for you as a “tech” guy that radio doesn’t deliver for you? -DT


      • DT,

        No commercials BUT more importantly… much more music AND taste variety/flexibility. I’ll use SXMIR channels 1st Wave (80’s Alt) and Hits1 (CHR) as examples. Two great channels but within those, you can tweak the channels to even closer to your own tastes.

        1st Wave can be modified with five choices from “Depth” to “Popular,” five more choices between “Synth” to “Guitar” and additional five choices that lean more “Euro” or more “American.” My taste is set to most “Popular” with the other two set in the middle.

        With Hits1, it goes from “Hit Bound!” to “Hot Hits.” Style can be from “Pop & Rock” thru “Pop & Rhythm” and a third option of “Teen Pop” (from less of it to more of it). My taste is set to a slight lean to “Hot Hits” with the others set in the middle.

        On Spotify, I put together an amazing Classic Christmas music playlist (among a couple of other playlists). Christmas is big around our house. There is NO way we could ever listen to the all-Christmas stations.


        Liked by 1 person

      • Very enlightening Bob. Thank You for sharing. -DT

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The only time I will listen to HD radio is in our Hyundai Sonata, but even WCBS-AM in NY is a pain to listen to as it’s constantly dropping out of HD. Too many things are promoted as “the best, funniest, or newest” thing ever, then when they turn out to be everything but, the promoters wonder why people turn away. In short….don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. It never works out well.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bill Cain

    HD Radio serves a purpose in the Major Markets; the BIG Chain Owners put their inferior formats that really don’t work on them, and then apply for a 250 watt FM ANALOG Translator to rebroadcast it, clogging the band more. All the while denying a hurting AM station that needed frequency. BTW, Crystal Pepsi is returning to a store shelf near you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Digital Radio faces the same problem in promoting itself across the pond as it does in the USA. James Cridland tells us more in his article, “How the Industry Should be Promoting Digital Radio.”

    Here’s the link to that Cridland article:


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