In life we have three important choices: 1) accept things that can’t be changed, 2) muster up the courage to change the things that can be changed, and 3) be blessed with the wisdom to know the difference.
In last week’s blog, I asked “What is Radio’s WHY Today?” In reviewing blog reader comments, I saw a common theme expressed, that radio should be LIVE & LOCAL. But does being “live” really make a difference in and of itself? If seasoned radio people are being honest with themselves, they would have to admit they had heard lots of bad “live radio” over the years. When it comes to being “local,” what is local today? We live in such a connected world, that in order to live the lives we’ve become accustomed to, requires a global supply chain. Any disruption, will negatively impact our happiness faster than a bee sting.
Radio’s guiding principle is relevance. People will gravitate to things that have relevance to them and their lives. Let me give you one example…
When it comes to raising money for a good cause, radio stations continue to turn in an outstanding performance, why? Because people feel these causes are very relevant, so they support these events.
Unfortunately, much like a retailer’s weekend sale, when the radio station’s fundraising ends the people depart for other activities that are higher on their relevancy scale.
The Amazon Lesson
In Seattle several decades agao, Jeff Bezos began Amazon in his garage. His guiding principle in building this company into the behemoth it is today was to invest in the future. Identify the constants of the people who use your product or service and build on them with relentless focus. In other words, be relevant to your customers.
For Amazon, it meant offering everything at the lowest possible price and delivering it to people’s homes faster and faster.
“When you have something that you know is true,
even over the long term,
you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
Great radio will always be about the listener, knowing what is relevant to them and delivering it 24/7.
Great radio provides community and companionship.
Great radio creates FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in the listener.
Great radio stations are highly focused on the audience they have set out to serve. They’re not trying to please everyone, but only to super-serve their target audience.
Less is More
The venture capitalists thought the way to riches was by putting more and more radio signals on the air, quantity over quality and in so doing abandoned the very essence of what makes great radio.
“Successful businesses are those that continue to find ways
to best fulfill (their customer’s) core needs.”
4 responses to “Invest in the Future”
As we travel this country, friends frequently ask about the people and the politics of the area. We truly mostly find it difficult to answer. We don’t talk about politics and religion to people we don’t know … but if there were relevant radio stations, we would be listening to local news and talk shows. I want more than a global perspective…I want to get a sense of the areas we visit and what activities are going on in the region.
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Sadly, as radio has become owned by large companies that focus on reducing costs and utilizing a homogenized national footprint, we lose that relevance.
Local radio sounds more like an audio version of USA Today, than your local newspaper.
Thank You for sharing that perspective.
More signals were put on or should I say saved by the conglomerates after 80/90 because it was evident that more choice was coming and fast. And relevance to an emerging youth, it was gambled, was to be gained by more choice not more humans. I was and continue to be one. Human and “DJ”. For some other perspective read Fred Jacobs blog post this week and the comparison to Dunk’n. Youth weren’t following their parents to Dunk’n. In a similar way to radio. You can blame it on whatever. But if the audience bucket has a hole in it, Live and Local may not be the magic cure. And local relevance has meant what to local newspapers that die every month? Oh radio is immediate you say. Tell that to social media and the internet in general. Radio may eventually become a quaint cottage industry enjoyed by finely mustached people who carry typewriters to non chain coffee shops. But like buggy whips at the turn of the 19th to 20th century, it wasn’t going to stay what it was or ever be that again. I didn’t feel this 10 years ago. But I do now. And this from a 40 year vet. Local relevance has some importance as does the concept of companionship, but glory days seem a distant memory at this point. And not because of 1996, conglomerates or anything else other than the passage of time and other innovations.
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Thank You Stewie for sharing your thoughts.
I read Fred’s blog article on Dunkin’ this week. I must be old, because I still call it “Dunkin’ Donuts.”
I subscribe to many different publications – newspapers, magazines, newsletters etc – and ALL of them are digital. I only have one print subscription left and that’s TIME magazine. Why? I don’t know. Habit, I guess.
I think radio will bifurcate into two forms. Comparing it to theater, I believe one will be like Broadway/professional theater and the other will be like community theater where volunteers with passion for this art form keep it alive.
I’m basically doing that with my current radio work. I do it for the love of doing it.