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Avoiding the shotgun

I got the following post from someone in response to the radio industry’s rush to create hundreds of new channels, each a sliver of a sliver:

Sounds like “shotgunning” – spew out lots and lots of alternatives and hoping someone, somewhere will bite and endure your ads. The glory days of FM had disc jockeys who had followings. They used creative selection and discovery of new talent to build an audience. By adding creativity, they help shape the tastes of millions. Many are still fondly remembered by listeners to this day. In publishing, editors add value to writers. The people who shape the content of the new channels and can add value will be valued by listeners and owners alike.

In other words, it’s not all about providing innumerable new choices. It’s about providing a guided experience. It’s about creating “shepherd” stations which lead the “flock” of listeners where they want to go. It’s not about reading a library full of books, it’s about reading the books Oprah recommends. It’s about creating radio “gurus” – “DJ’s” and “Programmers” we used to call them – that build a following. People you trust to introduce you to what’s new or share with you what’s old. It’s not about content. It’s about shape. And shape is about the shaper.

It’s more than possible that creating hundreds of new listening choices will give everybody something they want to listen to, but nothing they want to hear.

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