The winner is…
There is no secret clock that, once implemented, rockets your station to the top of the PPM rankings.
There are no magic words which, if repeated at precise times, result in higher ratings.
Every station that cares to can research their music. Listener panels are ubiquitous. Many companies are even returning to an occasional perceptual to get a sense of what listeners really think and want.
So why are some stations so much better than others?
Program Directors can fill their days doing busy work that must be done but that has zero impact on ratings.
The urgent steals time from the significant in every station.
What makes one PD better than another?
- Insight, into her listeners, into her staff, into her superiors; when to push, when to pull; when to yell, when to whisper; when to encourage, when to commiserate.
- Courage, to stand apart from what others are doing, to say NO when NO needs to be said; to never lose the sound of the station in her head and to program relentlessly for listeners when most in our industry program for other programmers or radio executives.
- Competitiveness, that drive, that need to be better today than she was yesterday, in all dayparts, never complacent, even when that would make her job easier.
- Creativity, the innate desire to make things fresh, to add enough newness to banish predictabililty and to keep generating listener buzz.
- Judgment, knowing when to compromise and when to put her job on the line and hold her ground; when to give talent more time and when its time for new talent; when to take a chance and when to play it safe.
Of course you have to play the right songs! Play the songs listeners love and play them more than the songs listeners don’t love. If you haven’t mastered that, you shouldn’t be running radio stations.
Surround those songs with content that speaks to real people, and their real lives. Talk to them about them, spark an emotional reaction in them, surprise them with your humanity and humor, entertain them, delight them, embrace them.
Reward the excellent, coach the failures. Upgrade talent whenever you can. Build a real team, each with separate roles, clearly articulated and understood.
Repeat, in new ways, using new words, every single day for years.
If you do that, you can be Program Director of the Year.
But if you do that, you won’t really care about being Program Director of the Year. Your station will be #1, you’ll be loved and admired by your staff and management, and you’ll know you’re performing at a level not many ever hit.
And that feels great!