May 10, 2016
There's money to be made by suggesting you know the secret to success.
If a radio station merely follows your playbook, uses your clocks, your liners, your contests, your research, then reaching #1 in Arbitron or Mediametrie is virtually guaranteed.
...except they don't guarantee that, do they?
Because there is no secret to success in radio. There never has been.
Surround yourself with people who have the gift of insight and the courage to disagree with you, but also the wisdom and self-control to know there can be only one artist painting this canvas.
Play hits. Play the songs listeners love, and play them more often than songs listeners don't love.
Hire people talented and interesting enough to engage those listeners between the songs, to create a sense of personal connection, a stationality that clearly differentiates your station from all others.
Entertain or inform every time those people speak.
Avoid clutter, over-commercialization that you wouldn't put up with if you were listening, and the stale breath of predictability.
Be responsive to your community's crises and needs, 24 hours a day, every day.
The secret to success is dedication to creating something worth hearing, and talking about, every minute the station is on the air.
That's not as easy as the 'secrets' some will try to sell you, but it's free, and it's the truth.