What does your station sound like?
That question probably doesn’t mean what you think. I am not talking about the X’s and O’s that constitute the formatics of your station’s clock.
Let me explain.
In the last years of my father’s life his ability to remember things diminished. Like so many he could remember things from decades ago but couldn’t remember what he had for lunch.
The sounds in the hallways of his nursing home were often loud and chaotic. There was a lady in a nearby room that would yell out for no particular reason. It could be unsettling for someone like me visiting a loved one.
My dad’s dementia often caused him to be anxious and nervous, unable to just relax and be calm. But there was one sound that seemed to pacify him. And that was the sound of a baseball game.
My dad, like his youngest son, was a big baseball fan. He loved the Texas Rangers, and even had a baseball card of former Rangers’ outfielder Pete Incaviglia on his dresser. Simply hearing the sound of a baseball game on his nursing home TV soothed his soul. I recorded baseball games on my VHS in Florida and send to him in Texas so he could enjoy the sounds of baseball even during the winter when there was no baseball. Baseball is often referred to as the national pastime, and its sound helped my dad pass the time in a setting where just getting through another day could feel like a week.
Your station has a sound. Is it a sound that offers comfort and peace? (Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about whether your music is uptempo, but whether your station as a brand conveys something that nourishes the soul).
Is your station’s sound noisy and cluttered, or does it offer hope and comfort to the soul?
In discussions about programming we tend to focus the X’s and O’s, and often for good reason. But if those X’s and O’s don’t lead to an emotional connection and benefit to the listener, then they have no more relevance than trying to correlate a paint by the numbers drawing to the magnificence of the Mona Lisa. Technically perhaps correct, but lacking the emotional connection from the work of art to those viewing it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org