What’s Your BHAG?

The past couple of weeks have featured some pretty intense webinars on where the media industry is headed and my mind is still spinning from all that was shared.

Let’s start with the meaning of BHAG (pronounced Bee-Hag); which means to have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, a term coined from the book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Poras. President Kennedy presented America with a BHAG when he said the United States would put a man on the moon.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

-John F. Kennedy, President

The Elements of a BHAG

All companies have goals; probably too many actually, causing employees to have a lack of collective focus on what’s really important. So, what are the elements of a BHAG?

  • A BHAG is a compelling, long-term goal that brings employees together and inspires them to take action.
  • BHAGs should pull employees out of a slump and give them a reason to tackle a big-picture-type plan.
  • BHAGs should cause an organization to focus on a common enemy, and on a defined target, while bringing about an internal transformation.

From what I’m hearing in these webinars,

the radio industry needs a BHAG for digital.

Gordon Borrell

In a Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) webinar “Digital Sales Approach $2 Billion” Gordon stressed the importance of have a long-term revenue BHAG for digital sales. He said radio stations should consider hiring digital-only sales reps.

Larry Rosin

Edison Research President Larry Rosin co-hosted the 25th Anniversary of Edison’s “The Infinite Dial Study.” It was truly eye-opening to realize how much audio media access has changed over the last quarter century.

  • Internet access 1998 (31%) versus 2023 (95%)
  • Households with computers 1998 (~50%) versus 2023 (91%) where computers have become smartphones we carry with us
  • Streaming digital audio listening 1998 (6%) versus 2023 (70%)

Why I Stream ALL My Radio Listening

On January 9, 2022, I began my 8th year of blogging with an article on why I stream all of my radio listening and how it’s so easy for anyone to do what I do. In our home, we effortlessly connect to the internet and streaming digital audio using Amazon’s Echo. I can’t remember the last time I played a record, cassette tape, reel-to-reel tape, CD or thumb drive; anything I want to hear can be heard on demand by voice command.

As a family, we don’t’ have the latest cars, Sue has a 2006 Subaru Forester and I have a 2009 Honda Accord, but both vehicles seamlessly connect to our iPhones when we enter the car and allow us to stream any digital audio content through our car’s audio systems.

Comscore Year-in-Review

As of December 2022, 91% of America’s population over the age of 18 are digital users. The Comscore webinar was especially eye-opening, when they told the audience that the “digital population grew relatively 2x more than the total population in the last 3 years with increasing emphasis on mobile usage.”

An average adult internet user will spend almost 4.5 hours a day

accessing the internet via desktop or mobile.

-Comscore Media Metrix Multi-Platform United States 18+ Total Digital Population

Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks, responded “because that’s where the money is.” Now you know why all media entities are racing to win with their digital media offering.

The interconnectedness of audiences

is where the wins will be found in measurement.

-Jason Clough, Senior Director, Partnerships & Insights, Comscore

I think Jason Clough perfectly summed up what radio’s BHAG should be in the above slide from his presentation: if media wants to stay relevant to its audience and win with any audience measurement metric, it must interconnect with them.

But, instead of “interconnectedness”…


Is your radio station delivering the best listener experience, wherever and however they access your programming?


Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

16 responses to “What’s Your BHAG?

  1. You wrote: “both vehicles seamlessly connect to our iPhones when we enter the car and allow us to stream any digital audio content through our car’s audio systems.”

    Here in the sticks of Kentucky, cell phone coverage is still hit and miss in places, so I general keep a thumb drive in the car so I can play my favorite oldies. But streaming is definitely the future, causing some folks to say we nolonger need over the air radio. I won’t go that far, as I still listen to a local Classic Country station over the air. But that said Alexa has become my home radio. I just ask.. and I receive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Paul, I completely understand your situation. I lived in Kentucky for seven years and know there are a lot of dead spots for internet service in the “sticks.”

      However, I’ve found in my many road trips over-the-years, that the dead spots are becoming fewer and fewer.

      We aren’t there yet, but it’s coming.

      Thanks for sharing that dose of reality.


      • Do we need over the air radio? I somewhat disagree that we don’t. However, I have always thought that we might all become streaming stations some day in the future. But I will also say that more and more states are adopting stringent rules against using your cell phone while driving. Here in Ohio, you can now be fined just if an officer sees your car in motion and you with a cell phone in your hand. Android Auto, for example can help with that. I just used it on vacation in Florida. It transmitted Google Map directions to the screen in my car while I was driving. So, yes…the push toward streaming will continue. I suspect though, that those with the best programming will win the day with listeners. Those preaching on social media about their station “playing 50,000 songs” will lose in that respect.

        Liked by 1 person

      • When we rented a car two years ago, I requested GPS. When we got to the rental station at the airport, we learned they don’t offer GPS any more. People just use Apple CarPlay to access the navigation screen with their smartphone.

        That’s what we did and it worked seamlessly.

        It truly is the direction things are headed in Kevin.


  2. Steve Biro

    Streaming can be great. But remember, streaming costs money. If OTA radio goes away, many people won’t be able to afford to listen. Sure, most people have some kind of cell phone. But not everyone can afford unlimited data. I know. Many sales people will say they’re not interested in anyone who is that poor. But is that really where we want to go as a society?

    And then there is the issue of data mining when using devices like Alexa or Android Auto. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t like information about my preferences and travels being sold to third parties for profit. Its one reason I don’t use Alexa – even if various services have attempted to give me one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve wrote: “I don’t like information about my preferences and travels being sold to third parties for profit. Its one reason I don’t use Alexa – even if various services have attempted to give me one.”

      As a long time Alexa user I have no problem, as I look at it this way. It is the same thing as using a loyalty card at the supermarket. If the store wants to know what brands I prefer and willing to give me coupons or discounts on those products, I’m all for it.

      If they want to track the music I like and the stations I listen to, I look at it as a vote for the music/stations I enjoy and want them to know I am here and enjoy them.

      If someone offers you a free Alexa, my suggestion is accept it and learn some of the joys of voice recognition software. We are moving closer to a George Jetson future. Try to embrace it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If you use a credit card, you’re being tracked. Tracking has been going on for decades. Yes, it’s become more prolific as the technology has advanced, but to not be tracked in the 21st Century means living off the grid. No electricity, no phone, no deliveries to your home, no loyalty card, no computer or internet, etc.

        I really don’t believe I could live that life.

        I have come to really enjoy the benefits of voice command and the friendly reminders that it might be time to reorder something I am probably running out of or asking for music to play and hearing the radio station or streaming service I enjoy.

        In life the one thing that has always been true is: THERE’S NO FREE LUNCH.

        One way or another, you’re paying for the things you need and use.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Steve, I understand your concerns.

      The latest development in the automobile is FaaS; which is Features as a Service. You want to listen to FM radio, you purchase that service on your dashboard entertainment center.

      I fear that everything we used to get for “free” will become subscription in one way or another.


      • While I was in Florida last two weeks, the car I rented had “Android Auto”. It provided the navigation from my phone displayed on the car’s screen. Radio was on their as well as Spotify and Apple Play.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The problem radio suffers from is that it’s doing the same thing as it has done over the past 45 years – over 60 years if we consider that it’s commercials haven’t been improved, only magnified in numbers. Both aspects of programming need a revamp.

    The concept radio needs will step into the digital realm is bogus, and I’m tired of hearing how the industry only needs to “get into voice control” to regain relevancy.”

    “Amazon Alexa is a “colossal failure,” on pace to lose $10 billion this year” – https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/11/amazon-alexa-is-a-colossal-failure-on-pace-to-lose-10-billion-this-year/

    In 2000, less than 7% of America was on broadband. Today it’s over 90%.

    Radio is an industry of words, and it’s been great at talking about “what it’s going to do” for over twenty year. There’s no indication anything will change. The same people who led it down this path are still in control, and none are interested in spending the money to implement the software, or hiring the expensive digital experts to change that path.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Amazon Alexa is a “colossal failure,” on pace to lose $10 billion this year” – https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/11/amazon-alexa-is-a-colossal-failure-on-pace-to-lose-10-billion-this-year/

      I am told that’s the Alexa division.. not the device. The division also handles Echo devices, Alexa, and Prime Video streaming, are all the same.

      The device is a huge success. Alexa Echo devices are among the best selling items on Amazon. Business Insider claims Alexa is the has 71.6 million users.


      • Device/division – what difference does it make? Privacy concerns have been a major problem since it became common knowledge that Alexa needs to be listening to everything you say in your house to trigger activation. Plus, there are human ears listening at times to improve the algorithms.

        Don’t go with what you are told. Listen to the experts in the field. Alexa is a money pit. Techies have been aware of this for a long time.


      • Ken wrote: “Device/division – what difference does it make?”

        You did not notice Amazon Prime Streaming video and related productions “Prime Original films, etc” is a big chunk. If you have Prime Video you know the subscription costs for subscribers is constantly going up. To help counteract that Amazon offers a free service called FreeVee, which depends on advertising. I have personally noticed some of the movies I used to see without interruption on Prime, now is being fed to me on Prime through FreeVee and I am seeing commercials. If it wasn’t for the free shipping on orders, I’d dropped Prime before now.

        Don’t throw out the baby with the wash water.


    • Hi Ken,

      First off, I like my Amazon Echoes. I now have seven of them. Use them all the time. They tell us when our refunds have been posted, stuff has arrived or might be delayed (rarely happens), remind us that we might want to re-order a staple that we might be running low on (we do) etc.

      I enjoy controlling things by voice command. Alexa has me using Siri more to get things done when I’m not at home.

      I have voice command for my GPS in the car.

      My grandkids got Echoes or Google Home for Christmas, because they asked Santa for them. They don’t have radios, but they have Echoes, iPhones, iPads and computers.

      We completely agree about radio missing the boat.

      However, I would disagree that radio is doing the “same thing it has done for the past 45 years or more.” Radio gave up the very things it excelled at that long ago, contributing to the current state of affairs.

      Radio has been dreaming about what it might do, but never had a goal. (A goal is a dream with a deadline.)

      Thanks for stimulating everyone’s brain cells.


      • Dick:

        While you may enjoy a voice-connected home saying that it’s a reason why V-C is a success is similar to a station playing music because the GM likes the songs. We both know that’s a recipe for disaster – https://www.google.com/search?q=examples+of+Alexa+failing&rlz=1C1ONGR_enUS998US998&oq=examples+of+Alexa+failing&aqs=chrome..69i57.6618j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        I agree on radio abandoning what it excelled at – but my point (poorly said) is that radio has done nothing to improve the quality of its product for advertisers or audience over decades. Dismantling newsrooms, staff and multiple expenses so the CEO could continue to take home millions of dollars annually reflects the greed seen throughout business. It wasn’t until near-2010 that consultants began saying “digital may have promise. Though few businesses had the license requirement to “serve the community.”

        Don’t forget iHeart’s Bob Pittman’s famous 2010 quote: “…broadcasters shouldn’t become too hung up on digital revenue.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sure your analogy works, but be that as it may, my wife and I enjoy our voice controlled world — and as we age, I’m sure that will only be more so.

        As to your point about why radio is in the state it is in, we are in complete agreement.


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