November 8, 2011
The problem I have with music research is that it is designed to weed out songs the majority don't like.
It's a filter that reduces the size of your library.
Some songs that are highly polarized -- big favorite scores that sometimes also have big Dislike scores -- tend not to make the cut.
And we've all seen songs with huge Positive scores that also have what we consider "high" Burn.
By its nature, music research makes commercial radio "safer" and thus, more bland.
And that is definitely not the way to grow into a legendary brand.
"Organizations grow when they persuade a tiny cadre to be passionate, not when they touch millions with a mediocre message."
That's a quote from Seth Godin ... and I know he's right. You do, too.
At least half the people in any American city have a strong dislike for Rush Limbaugh. The same is true for Glenn Beck, Howard Stern and Simon Cowell, for that matter.
The strongest personalities are almost always highly polarizing, but they use the positive passion they induce from the half who loves them to create a really strong brand identity.
They don't try to win the love of every potential listener, because to do that, they would have to water down their opinions and content, and that would also water down the passion of their true fans.
If you want to build a legendary radio station, you need to start doing more to generate real passion among a small group -- your super-P1 listeners -- and stop worrying about all the others who cume occasionally.
If you want your brand to grow, pay more attention to "Favorite" or "Love" or whatever term you use to categorize these songs, and less to "Dislike" or "Hate."
Program to your fans. Give them a reason to spread the word about your station.
You can't do that by simply eliminating negatives.