The Long and Bumpy Path

You’re already on it…

Radio’s a tough business these days. Well, not really, not if we’re talking cash flow or profit. Most radio stations still throw off 30-40% returns annually, and have for decades.

Try finding that in a mutual fund.

No, it’s tough because the advertising business is morphing, so you’re transitioning to a ski board while you’re still skiing on Lake Michigan, or something like that.

It’s apparent that the old system of mass marketing is heading somewhere, but you still have to produce that big profit number, which frankly takes all your time because you’re managing 5 stations at once.

And, you may also be the receptionist in some markets.

We can see glimpses of the future, where our success is defined by our relationships with our listeners and our clients, but we can’t stop running in the hamster wheel long enough to really reflect on it.

Companies like Apple and Starbucks led the way, creating needs we didn’t even know we had, and delighting us so thoroughly that we became evangelists for their products.

In your city, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people willing — eager — to shout to their world how much they love you.

That is, if they do love you.

They love Apple and Starbucks because they believe that love says something about them to others who also love Apple and Starbucks, but also to everyone else who knows them.

As Seth says, they want to join the tribe.

They also love the products they get from Apple and Starbucks, buying into a differentiation both companies have fostered. The products are noticeably different, even if the difference may only be how expensive they are.

So how do you make even one of your stations beloved, and how can that belovement (I love creating words) be unique if it is based soley on music?

We both know you don’t have time to think about that.

But luckily for you, I do. I have. I am.

Hint: Samsung isn’t beating Apple because it made a cheaper iPhone.

Call me. Let’s talk about the future. I mean, next year, not next week.

Not the call, the future. You knew that, right?

Never mind.