Does Your Media Property Provide a Shared Experience?

Have you ever heard the story about one of the ways NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) trained our astronauts survival skills for America’s Apollo missions? Before heading off to land on the moon, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Michael Collins and Charles Conrad traveled into the jungles of Panama for survival training from the Choco nation, training that began during the Mercury program and continued with both the Gemini and Apollo missions into outer space.

This training takes place at Geoversity’s natural campus in the 12,800-acre Mamoni Valley Preserve.


The Chair of Medicine and Human Performance at Geoversity, Michael Schmidt, writes that

“Geoversity welcomes the curious, the mysterious, the generous, the leaders, the followers, the suffering and the aspiring. The culture of Geoversity seeks to elevate rigorous science, the richness of nature and the culture of people and place.

It seeks to not only to find our place in the world but to shape our world in a way that raises human dignity while tackling the technical challenges of our day. It seeks to build leaders who excel at collaboration. It seeks to bring people together by find what we share while celebrating our uniqueness.”

The Power of Shared Experience

When we go to the theater or a concert, other than the performance itself, what enriches people’s experience is that it is shared with others. It’s not any different when it comes to going off to work in an office with other people or working from home (WFH); learning in a classroom full of students or online in front of a computer screen. What the COVID pandemic robbed from us the most are shared experiences in every aspect of our lives.

The power of social media is built on our ability to share our experiences with others. A Yale University study found that when two people share eating chocolate, the experience was more enjoyable than when one person ate the chocolate while the other person was engaged in some other activity. Experiences that are shared are more intense.

Understanding and harnessing this dynamic is invaluable in any communications effort, whether cultural, educational, corporate or political. The impact of a message is amplified, indeed transformative, when experienced with others.

-Maria Basescu, senior advisor at Denterlein

When Radio was “Theater of the Mind”

Last week I wrote about the 84th anniversary of the infamous radio broadcast of H.G. Wells “The War of the Worlds.” It was a time when families gathered around their radios after finishing dinner for a shared experience. Can you understand now why radio had such a powerful impact in its “Golden Age?”

In time television would replace this family activity, with parents watching TV while children my age gravitated to listening to our favorite radio personalities and the hit music they played (Top 40). This was the beginning of a shared family media experience being fractured.

The Past Guides Our Future

Concepts that stand the test of time shouldn’t be tossed aside, however to create the future we must also be prepared to break free of the past.

The challenge for all of us in today’s media world is to figure out what we leave in the past and what we bring with us into the future.

No matter how advanced our technology becomes our human condition remains little changed, in that we all have a deep longing for human connections.

The media platforms that will thrive in the 21st Century will be the ones that are best at leveraging live contact and bringing people together for a shared experience.

For the radio industry, that human connection was the live radio personality curating a shared experience.


Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio

2 responses to “Does Your Media Property Provide a Shared Experience?

  1. Walter Luffman

    Dick, your mention of the “shared experience” made me think. Radio is a big shared experience (and at the same time a very personal one) for listeners, but much of the workday it isn’t much of a shared experience for most of the people who work in it.

    Dayshifts at a well-staffed music station: one deejay at a time, with some shift-change chat; newscaster in a separate newsroom; production director in still another studio; engineer usually in shop or at transmitter site; GM, receptionist, perhaps other office staff in the own offices. Sales department (often including GM) out on the streets until shortly before end of business. Few stations offer staff lounges, nor do many stations encourage airstaffs to hang out when not working. Everyone working together, but in different spaces.

    Smaller stations have fewer people on staff, of course. Maybe no news staff, deejays may double in sales. Engineer may be a contractor who’s there only when something breaks.

    Maybe more people in talk-formatted stations. Or maybe not.

    Nights and weeds the station may have only one staffer inside. Or it could be completely empty except for the “digital deejay”.

    Yet we feel like a community, we hang out together when off duty, we share our “radio experience” in spite of physical separation at work.

    What a wonderful business. No wonder I miss it so much.


  2. Walter, radio is a shared experience when people share with others what they heard or why they listen.

    We see that happening with public radio stations and Christian radio stations, but rarely do we find that happening with commercial radio stations.

    Radio stations that are engaged with their community provide a shared listening experience, and we have some owner/operators who read this blog and show others how to do it correctly.

    The problems is often the consolidated owners that care more about their stock price that the listeners.


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