Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sometimes It's The Little Things

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the big difference. Ask the Detroit Tigers – a great team undone in large part by their failure to execute the basics when it mattered most.

While stand-out performances from big stars can be important, winning also requires executing the routine plays, the fundamentals, the mundane tasks that you don’t think about a lot because they’re taken for granted, they're not top of mind, or maybe just because they're not very sexy.

Radio’s highlight reel likely includes the spectacular contest, the coveted interview, the wild stunt, the knock-it-out-of-the-park bit. But winning takes more than a nightly web gem.

Here are some of radio’s “pitcher-to-third-base plays,” the basics, the stuff of champions.

...Having specific ratings goals, a well-thought out and highly detailed plan for achieving them, and a faithful adherence to that plan.

...Frequent and creative ways of identifying your station, and imaginative and distinctive imaging that helps listeners understand the difference between you and your competitors.

...A thorough awareness of your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses, and a plan for rebuffing the former and exploiting the latter.

...Music scheduling software monitoring and discipline in coding and adding music, and making sure what you want on the air is actually getting on the air.

...Promotions that sparkle in design, imaging and execution, that create talk, and make competitors’ efforts sound boring and insignificant.

...A strategy for the streets including where you are going, why you are going, and how you’ll surprise and delight the listeners you encounter.

...A website that’s always up to the minute, that anyone in the building can update on the fly, that has elements that drive traffic, and a frequent listener program that really IS worthwhile for a listener to be a part of as well as a valuable tool for marketing the station.

...A staff where everyone is on the same page and understands the target and the goals and all the station’s movable parts; where the talent is “game-ready” everyday and never mails it in, and where everyone on the team is made to feel valuable.

...An overall product that exceeds listeners’ expectations, that they feel ownership in, that makes them feel glad they spent time with you, and that leaves them looking forward to coming back repeatedly.

The Tigers will have to wait until next year to perfect the basics. You get to do that today.

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