The Salvation Army And The Bell Ringer
November 28, 2014
by John Frost, Goodratings Strategic Service
Every Christmas for the last several years I've thrown a few coins into the Salvation Army bucket down the street at Wal-Mart. But not this year. Nope. They've changed their bell ringer. The guy standing outside the store ringing the bell is going to be different this season, so I've decided not to give.
Ludicrous, isn't it? Obviously no one would stop donating to the Salvation Army because Bernie replaced Barry at the bucket.
However, many radio stations experience this on a fairly regular basis.
"You've change programs/you've changed the music/you've changed the disc jockeys/You did this ONE thing that I don't like.....so I'm not going to listen/support your station anymore." They are basically saying you've change the bell ringer.
I know what the Salvation Army stands for. I believe in their cause of helping those who can't help themselves. My understanding of the vision and purpose of their ministry is far more important to me than who stands outside Wal-Mart with a bell.
Just this week I overheard a listener tell my friend Tyler McKenzie , "I got a mammogram because of you." Tyler and her friend Ellis B Feaster are the #1 morning show in their town, and not because they play 5 in a row or they hit the spot sets at the quarter hours. * It's because they are meaningful, they connect, and may have even saved someone's life.
No one will refuse to go to New York Yankees' games because Derek Jeter has retired. I reckon' no one stopped going to Starbucks because they quit serving the Captain Crunch Frappuccino.
Just as nature abhors a vacuum, when you hear complaints about the bell ringer it's because the bigger story isn't being told.
* There is nothing wrong with tactics that potentially minimize tune out or enhance additional listening occasions, but they should not be confused with creating reasons to love your station.