When change doesn’t happen – or happen fast enough, we get agitated. However, when change finally comes, we often aren’t happy with the changes it brings.
One of the hardest aspects about change is that no matter how passionate we are about it, we need to accept that others will not embrace it. Not every change is for everyone, some people will embrace it, some people will tolerate it, some people will rebel against it and some people will leave to pursue a different journey.
Radio & Change
I’ve been writing this weekly blog for eight years and my readers often fall into two camps: those that agree with what I write and those who disagree. Often those who disagree with the changes that are happening to the radio industry, label me as “Chicken Little,” the character in the John Greene Chandler children’s short story written in 1840, who proclaimed the sky was falling.
To be a Chicken Little, however, you must warn of a calamity without justification. Clearly, the data presented by multiple researchers of media tell us the warnings are indeed justified.
The moral of the Chicken Little story is to have courage, and keep your eyes open even when it feels like the sky is falling.
Convincing the Unconvinced
It’s human nature to try to convince those who disagree with us, to our way of thinking. Sadly, trying to do that is almost always a mistake. What you will succeed in doing is often offending their dignity.
I don’t mind people who disagree with me. It lets me know that I’m not just “preaching to the choir,” but that I am also mixing it up with the “heathens.” It’s those people who challenge what I write that make me think harder, do more research and more fully develop my thoughts. To those people, I owe a debt of gratitude.
Instead of Arguing Against an Idea, Argue For It
In 1896, the Supreme Court codified the doctrine of separate but equal into constitutional law. It meant that individual states could decide if they wanted to discriminate against black Americans.
As you might imagine, people were up in arms over this SCOTUS decision, calling it fundamentally unjust. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision cemented racial segregation in America for another fifty years.
But a lawyer named Charles Hamilton Houston saw it differently. Houston set out to use his opponent’s evil idea for good.
Houston didn’t argue against “separate but equal,” but for it.
He used it to argue that when the University of Missouri law school refused admission to a black student that under the “separate but equal” doctrine, Missouri must establish another law school for black students. Something that would be unaffordably expensive.
A law that was designed to prevent black Americans from common resources, like drinking fountains, elementary schools and restrooms, now when applied to a rare resource like a graduate law school, was the beginning of the unraveling of the “separate but equal” doctrine.
In 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously overruled “separate but equal” with their Brown v. the Board of Education decision.
Applying This Concept to Radio
We need to listen to the people who no longer love radio, and not argue with them about why they should be listening.
If we listen to them, really listen to them, they will show us how to win them back. Charles Hamilton Houston didn’t argue with the “separate but equal” doctrine, he leveraged it to not only end that doctrine but also to take down America’s Jim Crow laws right along with it.
The radio industry needs to stop arguing with people and research data that it doesn’t like, but rather start using that information to build the foundation for action that delivers the very things radio needs to do to win its audiences and advertisers back.
We change the world by learning to see it differently.
My weekly blogs aren’t written to make a point, but to make a difference.
Believe that you can and you’re halfway there.