Four things Public Radio can teach Commercial Stations

1. You look at your listeners differently when you have to count on them to pay for you.

“Less is More” would have happened years ago if we had been listening to listeners. And streaming never would have temporarily disappeared.

2. Listeners would buy pieces of your radio station (or your commemorative merchandise) if only they were available.

A logo is a badge. And if your station has a lot of fans that badge is one which listeners will go out of their way to acquire and wear.

3. A community of listeners is a precious asset.

Those meet-and-greets with NPR personalities are not simply fundraisers. They’re opportunities to build a community of listeners who interact with each other and spread the station’s love.

4. Imperfection can make you stronger

Public Radio News has tons of feature stories on topics unlikely to hold the interest of its general audience for long. But sometimes, these stories can be strangely captivating.

Still, everyone is imperfect. The most popular movie characters are the flawed ones. We recognize those flaws in those characters because they reflect our own. Our zeal to streamline every radio statio down to its essence and strip from it every ounce of imperfection or flexibility or risk or “space” is foolish beyond words. What you end up with is a flawless but flavorless station with flavorless music and flavorless personalities. And we wonder why we can’t win more listeners. Spice is what makes the food taste good, folks.

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