The Power of Habit

Make it work for you.

As attention becomes more scattered, and listening ever more fragmented, helping your show and your station become part of a daily habit takes on more urgency.

Anyone who’s trained a dog understands that habit has three requirements:

  • Cue
  • Behavior
  • Reward

At one time, Radio owned lots of listening cues, and if people are in their cars, we still do.

Seeing smoke rising from the runway at San Francisco International Airport was the cue for most drivers on U.S. 101 to scan the radio for news.

When funnel clouds were spotted in Oklahoma last month, you can bet 99% of those in their cars turned on the radio.

But massive cuts in local staffing have decimated radio’s ability to provide the reward that reinforces the behavior brought on by the cue. If a station is voice-tracked when one of these cues happens, it’s more than a one-time squandering of a listening opportunity.

We are training all potential listeners that Radio is not a source of information when it is needed NOW.

We are causing our own obsolescence, purely out of greed and poor executive management.

I know many stations automatically switch to local TV coverage when disaster strikes, but that’s not really a solution, is it?

Being granted a federal license to serve a local community should carry with it the responsibility to staff that radio station to actually provide local information when it is urgently needed.

And if the largest consolidated radio companies can’t do that profitably, they should be required to sell those local stations to someone who can before we train an entire generation that Radio won’t ever reward their behavior, simply because it can’t.

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