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Why Radio Stations have trouble Branding

Once upon a time, an industry guy I know made an interesting observation: “A radio station,” he said, “is like the world’s largest mom and pop store.”

He wasn’t completely right, but nor was he completely wrong. The truth is, some radio stations and groups are very sophisticated in their thinking. But most, indeed, are mom and pop’s.

That means there are two kinds of stations out there. The ones who can really put branding insights to work and the other kind, the kind comprised of what are essentially franchisees. You can, in other words, trust them to run the business but not to build the brand. In fact, the more rules they have to follow and the less latitude they’re permitted to exercise, the better.

There’s a reason why a franchise doesn’t let you do it your own way.

What this means is that the more turn-key the format the more successful it stands to become. You see, the world is full of a lot more franchisees than successful franchises.

This is actually a hidden advantage of the JACK format. It’s a formula that comes with a set of tools. Just shut up and follow the instructions.

I hope more formats are cooked up this way, because it will make the adoption process much smoother and faster and more effective. And as for the formats that are more “organic,” like, say, AAA…now you see why they’re so hard to popularize. Where’s the AAA franchise kit? Where’s the formula? What are the inviolate rules?

Not everyone is Steve Jobs. Some folks are Joe Blow.

And Joe needs his recipe for success, too.

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