Asian martial arts proves that it's quite possible to quickly prevail against a stronger, bigger adversary if you understand what true force is and how to leverage it.
My first lesson in this fact came in the late 1970's when I left local radio in San Jose to join consultant-syndication company Drake-Chenault.
One of my first client station visits was to North Carolina Summit Broadcasting General Manager Roger Stockton, who I was trying to convince that his radio station should move from one of our 24/7 syndicated formats, "Great American Country" which was voiced by the legendary Bob Kingsley to adding a live morning show and other "live and local" dayparts.
"Don't people wonder if Bob ever sleeps?" I queried Stockton.
He replied, "they don't seem to, since we have an 18 share in those time periods."
Consistent music rotations, a familiar voice front and also back announcing all of the current music and tight formatics compared to what other choices Triad country listeners had was sufficient force to win big at the time.
That station was WTQR and fortunately Stockton and his company had the foresight to add budget for some great personalities over the next few years, thus maintaining a ratings juggernaut that has endured for decades.
Now, of course, it's a Clear Channel station and is both in the crosshairs of its present ownership's "RIF" and its Entercom direct country competition which is working to make it an "RIP" instead.
Jay Meyers, CEO of Adelante Media Group and a former Clear Channel executive told Inside Radio yesterday that where a personality is located doesn’t matter.
“Local and relevant are important but live and location are not,” he says. “What matters is whether the content keeps the listener in touch with their community and gives them the same bond they used to get when there were jocks around the clock.”
Meyers is talking about a force that matters most right now if you're across the street as Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman shakes things up in the programming ranks at radio’s largest company, relevance.
IR also quoted Pittman from Facebook’s f8 Developer Conference in San Francisco last month: “We’ve got to get our program directors to rethink. We’ve got creative talent and great programmers but we have to figure out a way to unleash them so ideas come flooding in.”
Automating radio's programming is nothing new and neither is this tested and proven theorem:
- Great beats local.
- Great local beats unengaged execution, no matter where it comes from or how famous the voice.
- Fun, originality, creativity, passion, interactivity, proper targeting, position, excellent formatics dominate as long as it makes the listener feel something more than anything else on the radio right now.