“What Else Ya Got?”


Not long ago I was pitching a TV project to a cable network programming head. It wasn’t quite the right fit, evidently, and he told me so. But then he asked a question I hadn’t expected:

“What else ya got?”

Um, that’s it, I’m afraid!

I had one project in mind and that was the one I was pitching. It never even occurred to me to have some kind of ace in the hole – a backup project in the event that my A pitch went down in flames.

I think this is a big problem in the radio space. We too often have one solution to every problem. We look over our shoulder to see what other broadcasters are doing even as they look over their shoulders at us asking the same question. You don’t get new ideas that way, just the same ones over and over. And don’t think listeners don’t know this – especially in an era when most radio stations in the world can be sampled from the gadget in your pocket.

Does your morning show need entertaining benchmarks? Well here’s a short list to choose from – one you can hear almost Everywhere, USA. What should we name our new station? How about Star – or KISS – or Fresh – or Mix…? What should our website look like? Well, how about what everybody else’s looks like?

There’s nothing wrong with using stuff that has been shown to “work” elsewhere, of course. What’s wrong is narrowing our vision to only those ideas, so that when the audience looks us in the eye and asks “what else ya got?” Our answer is: “Um, that’s it, I’m afraid!”

There are too many choices – too many fresh ideas – to lean on only those which have “worked” somewhere, some time.

If you want to sustain maximum attention (and consumption) from folks who have a bounty of alternatives to your brands, you have to be ever-worthy of that attention and that consumption.

There must always be something shiny and fresh and new.

So what else ya got?

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  • Don Keith

    But Mark, that requires creativity and a willingness to take a risk or two. That and possibly even failing. We’ll continue to do the safe thing, watch what our peers are doing and emulate them even as they watch what we are doing and emulate us. Shadow boxing. Nobody gets hurt. Reminds me of investing in bonds. Safe, no big loss. In fact, you’ll make 1% or so. But inflation is 3%, meaning you lose 2% of your principal.

    We lose listeners and advertisers every day but we do the safe thing, whatever it takes to keep our stock price propped up. To avoid risk. To keep from investing in creative people with exciting (Read: “risky”) ideas.

  • Mark Ramsey

    Needless to say, the best way to keep up the stock price is to anticipate and plan for the future, not the past.
    But then, you knew that already, Don!

  • Don Keith

    Mark, you see right through my sarcasm!