Going up?

Zero-sum: A situation or relationship in which a gain for one side entails a corresponding loss for the other side.

Momentum is mostly a zero-sum game in Radio.

We can learn a lot about momentum from Apple.

Steve Jobs always understand that generating anticipation was part of marketing, so Apple scheduled regular product announcements, in arenas packed with fans and media.

Anticipation generates word-of-mouth, a buzz of excitement that’s impossible not to share.

Momentum requires anticipation of what’s coming next.

It feels like Radio has mostly lost that art of building momentum.

Great radio stations used to schedule regular “surprises” — stunts, contests, mysteries — that engaged not only their listeners but spread to other stations’ fans. You might have been on the opposite side of one of those surprises, when your listeners called to ask about a competitor’s plans.

If you want to build momentum, and then keep ratcheting it up, try this: Plan ahead. Schedule a surprise every 2-3 months.

Tease it.

Announce it.

Promote it.

Make the payoff better than the expectation.

Make each surprise bigger than the last.

I didn’t say it was easy, just that it works.