Traveling from market to market throughout the year, I run into several difference circumstances as far as how radio people view their radio station(s). Some are very proactive with improving their stations, others seem happy where their station is at and even seem passive about the future. It is evident that programmers and managers create their own environment, which is not bad necessarily. The problem develops when the environment programmers and managers create is not based on the reality of the market.
One way we have found to help create winning environments is to persuade programming & management that their radio station should be looked at as a product like a box of cereal, a can of soda, restaurant, theme park, movie merchandise, etc. You get the idea. The primary reason for this is because people are more concerned about the tangible products they buy than the free intangible media of radio. So, you can see, the more we treat our radio stations like a product, from programming and marketing to station color schemes, the closer we will become perceptually to a tangible product. The closer we become to a tangible product, the more brand loyalty the listener will have with us.
When it comes to product development, I like to give this illustration that demonstrates that no matter what size market you are in, there are no legitimate reasons for you to have an inferior product. This is particularly true in today’s global society, where people are exposed to the highest levels of radio, TV, Movies, etc. When I walk into a New York City deli and have a delicious Pastrami sandwich, it is really great. Then just a few days later I can go into a deli in a very small restaurant in Northern Michigan and the very same sandwich is just as good, if not better than the one I had in NYC! The small-town deli could have used less cheese, second grade Pastrami, day old buns, and smaller portions than the one in NYC...BUT they didn’t. It was important for them to be the best, no matter who or what they were compared to. Just think if all radio stations would cling to this example.
Know that more competition is on the way, the world will continue to shrink, and your station is compared to stations not just in your back yard, but all over the world. Embrace the concept of your radio station being a product, act accordingly, and the listener will react as well.