fbpx
ArticlesFeature Article

John Frost “Lessons From The Weather Channel”

Having lived in Florida for almost thirty years I’ve learned that there four seasons;  summer, summer, summer, and hurricane season. 

 

It’s been said that the only colors that change in Florida are the colors of the license plates.   As Ian develops into a hurricane up Florida’s west coast and into the Gulf,  I figured if I’m going to stare all afternoon at the Weather Channel’s Cone of Uncertainty maybe there was something to be learned from them about programming.   

 

Consider:  

 

The power of ‘now’.   

 

You may have never thought about it this way but ‘now’ is the only thing all your listeners have in common. More than ‘local’, and more than even faith since we all come from different backgrounds and perspectives.  The more your radio station lives in ‘now’, the more common ground you’ll have with the largest possible audience.  

 

I believe that any day-any town-any format-itis is a plague on radio today.

 

The power of ‘community’.  

 

It’s been said that radio is the original social media.  

 

“Comebacks always involve other people.  The way we get out of trouble is by letting other people in to the reality of where we are.”  Louie Giglio 

 

The more someones with something in common the more someones there will be.  

 

The power of winning moments.   While it’s important to minimize things that result in listeners tuning away, playing defense isn’t the same as winning.  The Weather Channel uses graphics, camera angles, on the scene reporters, and live action video to keep viewers coming back for what Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen would call ‘listening occasions’.   

 

           A great radio station isn’t simply the one with the fewest tune-outs, it’s the one with the turn-ons listeners want to experience again and again – the moments that                   remind you to come back and listen again for more moments just like them.” Mark Ramsey 

 

 

The power of STARS.   If you see Jim Cantore out your front window, it’s not good news, the joke goes.  Jim and Stephanie Abrams are Weather Channel stars, which is why you see them doing stand ups from the most critical location at the most important time.   They are seen as trustworthy and reliable.   You can get the data from the bottom scroll, but Jim and Stephanie personify and humanize what the Weather Channel brand needs to be.   Humanity matters.  

 

On last week’s show I shared how staring at the The Weather Channel for several days as a hurricane approaches your state can be a great teaching lesson for your radio station if you pay attention.  

 

In this week’s Frost Advisory, I’ll dig a little deeper while it’s freshly on your mind.

 

The power of winning moments.   While it’s important to minimize things that result in listeners tuning away, playing defense isn’t the same as winning.  The Weather Channel uses  graphics, camera angles (literally), on the scene reporters, and live action video to keep viewers coming back for what Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen would call ‘listening occasions’.   We all want to know WHAT’S THE LATEST?  

 

           A great radio station isn’t simply the one with the fewest tune-outs, it’s the one with the turn-ons listeners want to experience again and again – the moments that  remind you to come back and listen again for more moments just like them.” Mark Ramsey 

 

The power of words.   “At times Hurricane Ian was moving forward no faster than a human can walk…..”    “Iam could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons, enough to cover the entire state of Texas with nearly 4 inches of water.”   I work with programming teams to create specific vernacular that best communicates the station’s brand values in ways that are meaningful to the listener.  Surprisingly, few stations pay attention to the words that they use.  Your station needs to have “a voice”. 

 

In a medium that is strictly sound, the right words can transform information into emotion.

 

The power of perspective.  What’s the camera angle that best connects with your listener’s life?   The Weather Channel told us how FEMA uses a “Waffle House Index” to communicate in every day language the severity of a storm.   

  • Index is green if the Waffle House menu is full.  
  • Index is yellow if they are only serving a limited menu.  

The Waffle House index is red if the restaurants are closed, because, well, Waffle House NEVER closes.  

 

So, when you have The Weather Channel on in the coming days consider the words of baseball great Yogi Berra,  “You can observe a lot just by watching.”  

 


John Frost is a partner in Goodratings Strategic Services, and has been a successful major market disc jockey and program director for such companies as CBS, Cap Cities, Westinghouse, Sandusky, Gannett, and Alliance during his 38 year broadcast career. John joined Goodratings’ partner Alan Mason in 1999. Contact John at john@goodratings.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *