Anyone who’s ever played sports on a really good team, or a really bad one, knows that it takes successes or failures in all areas to become either consistently dominant or consistently lousy. That’s why coaches across all sports are constantly going on about winning in all phases and playing a complimentary, balanced and complete game. The same is true of radio stations. When a station is overperforming or underperforming it’s never because of just one strength or weakness.
However, when working at or managing an underperforming station we often tend to try and point to one problem area. ‘If we could just get sales up we’d be fine’ or ‘We just need to get more out of our programming staff’. While in reality, if we were to take a step back we’d realize that we likely have breakdowns in multiple areas. An on-air staff that’s complacent and coasting, an unmotivated sales staff, digital assets that look dated and are rarely used, station events that seem more like obligations than opportunities to market/brand and so on.
Just like turning a losing sports team around, turning an unsuccessful station around starts with changing the culture. But getting a diverse group of people and personalities to adopt a winning mentality isn’t easy. However, clear and concise structure and leadership at the top will get the ball rolling. Then it’s time to balance the Negative Nelly’s with some Positive Pam’s to create a healthy creative vibe, give them the tools to succeed and use the carrot and stick approach to hold the entire staff accountable while incentivizing them to overperform with rewards. Once we’ve done that it’s amazing how fast the excuses and finger pointing stop and are replaced with creative solutions and covering each other’s backs.
The sad thing is, it’s not really more work to create great radio than it is to create bad radio. Especially once we figure out how to better manage our time on the things that really do move the needle, like creating compelling, original content on air and on our digital assets, executing cume/tsl building on air promotions, doing radio events that sizzle, choosing on-air programming that’s external instead of internal and selling based on real value instead of perceived value.
What do you think? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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