Who’s Your CPO?



What’s the purpose of your radio station?

I mean, besides making money for your CEO and shareholders.

Does your station have a purpose beyond making money?

Does it stand for something within your community, something positive and inclusive?

If you asked every person you walked up to in your local grocery store, “What purpose does KXXX have in our town?” what do you suppose their answer would be?

How about your own station employees, from the receptionist (if you’re still allowed to have one) to the Sales team to the Programming staff?

Maybe you should try that.

I’m not being facetious.

Perhaps one way to make your station stand apart from all the other options is to have a clearly stated purpose that will resonate with some of the listeners in your town.

Some, not all, because if you try to stand for anything everyone likes, you stand for nothing. Every issue has many sides these days. And that’s ok.

Worry about connecting with some listeners in a deeper and more personal way.

Maybe your station stands for truth about our climate crisis. How do you prove that to the listeners who care about it, knowing from Day 1 that your stance will piss off some of the people who hear your proof?

Maybe it stands for finding solutions to gun violence in your schools and churches, or equal pay for equal work, or more kindness and less vitriol.

Maybe it stands for fun and optimism and entertainment. You’d better prove that every time I tune in, including overnights and weekends. I’d better be entertained every freaking time!

You need to hire or appoint a Chief Purpose Officer, gather your staff – all of your staff – together and talk about what your purpose should be.

I think it should be a corporate position but that is so unlikely given consolidated Radio’s corporate executives that I’m laughing as I typed it.

You need someone to help your station state and support a purpose beyond profit.

That person needs support when the complaints begin rolling in, and you need enough patience to see if you connect with more listeners than you lose over a year or two.

What do you think?

Why do you go in to work every day?

Why should listeners – especially younger listeners – ever listen to your station?

If the answer is because you play the best music or the most music, stop already. You know that’s not a real reason. They can find more and better music on their freaking phones every minute of every day. And they are.

So what can you say to these younger listeners that will make them connect with more than your music format?

And do you have the courage to say it?

Do you have the courage to have an actual purpose beyond selling ads?