Radio’s Secret

From a legendary programmer


Yesterday’s post prompted lots of comments, including this one:


As always, a very thought-provoking piece this week! I love reading your comments.

Recently, I was at a gathering that was attended by mostly Millennials and Gen-Xers when the discussion of radio came up. Their radio station of choice? Unanimously – Spotify.

I heard comments like, “Spotify Gets Me. Every Monday morning, they present me with the perfect playlist designed just for me. I discover great music from them.” And paying ten dollars a month for this service is more than worth it to them.

When is the last time we heard people talk about radio in this manner?

For years, radio was the go-to place to discover music – both new and old. Now, stations are afraid to do anything but play the well-tested hits and play what they think is the Nielsen game.

But even more importantly, radio has lost the thing that has always been what made it special – localism.

Most radio stations are programmed from a place of fear: Don’t do anything that will create a tune out.

So, DJs are instructed to keep their breaks short and non-offensive. And the content of most of those breaks is a tease about what’s coming up or talk of a station promotion.

Maybe I’m old school, but I believe the biggest opportunities for radio are to do what radio has always done best: Talk about the local community; tell stories about the music played and most importantly, don’t be afraid to do things differently.

This is the reason Radio Woodstock’s recent Hudson Valley Tour was so well-received.

Every day for two weeks, the station broadcast from a different town in their listening area. The station told stories about each town and made listeners proud to live where they do.

Here’s to creating great radio!

Those are the words of Dennis Constantine, one of the two best pure music programmers I’ve ever known.

Dennis is responsible for two of the best, most iconic radio stations in American radio history.

He created KBCO in Boulder, Colorado in the late 70s, and with it an iconic stationality that made it one of the most admired radio stations ever.

Then he took on an even bigger challenge: he resurrected KINK in Portland when no one but Steve Keeney and Dennis thought that was possible.

Today, Dennis continues to consult a select few radio stations and also works with digital companies that offer online radio.

That’s one of the reasons he is so convinced that localism and not being afraid to be different still produce success.

If you need an outside ear, if you need help with your music, if you need a stronger local stationality, call Dennis. You can thank me later.

His office number is: 928.224.2220