Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why 5 More Inductees Into the Country Radio Hall of Fame Matters

2015 Country Radio Hall of Fame Inductees
Photo courtesy of Kristen Englund
Honoring excellence is always a good idea.

That happened again last week in Nashville when the Country Radio Broadcasters inducted five new members into the Country Radio Hall of Fame (left to right: Randy Carroll, Mike Kennedy, Karen Dalessandro, Joel Raab, and Sammy George).

Each year, the Hall recognizes individuals who have a 20 year history (including at least 15 in the country format) of making “significant contributions to the radio industry.” 

Halls of Fame of course run the gamut from the famous (like the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to the infamous (the now defunct Cockroach Hall of Fame which was in Plano, TX). Your degree of interest in a Hall’s subject matter no doubt plays a huge role in what you get out of your visit. 

For things you’re passionate about, a Hall of Fame is more than an historical record or a repository of memorabilia; the strength of a Hall is the inspiring accomplishments of those who are enshrined.

At the very least, the Country Radio Hall of Fame is a reminder that excellence matters and is still acknowledged and celebrated.  At its best, the Hall and inductees inspire us all to make a daily, “significant contribution to the radio industry.” 

If we’re talent we strive for excellence every break, every show. If we’re managers and program directors we seek to coach each person to their full potential. By example, we encourage each other to believe in ourselves and aspire to be the best we can be.

If you’re passionate about what you do and want to inspire others, Bain & Company has these suggestions:

  • Discover and cultivate individual skills
  • Excel at a few of your distinguishing strengths rather than attempting to be excellent at everything
  • Recognize that inspirational leaders can be anywhere in an organizational hierarchy
  • Improve your effectiveness at inspiring others with repetition and experimentation

If you want to show your passion, be your best, and inspire others to do the same, the good news is you don’t wait to be inducted into a Hall of Fame to begin.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Taking a Bite out of a Market Leader: What a Sandwich Chain Can Teach Us

Taking a bite out of a market leader
Shifts in listener and consumer loyalty happen all the time but they always seem newsworthy when “suddenly” a top performer is dethroned.

In reality, many of these abrupt declines may have actually been months, years, or even decades in the making. 

Some of these are the end result of one or more competitors' long and persistent “creep” against a leader, or a leader being too static for too long in a changing marketplace ('slow to react' was one of the points in a recent Washington Post article on Subway that inspired this blog).

Format and market leading stations must continually negotiate the tripwires that can give toe holds or growth opportunities to competitors.

  • Commoditization stemming from a growing lack of differentiation in the listener’s POV; that is, listeners don't perceive a sufficient number of particularly unique and important-to-them benefits gained by listening to your station vs. a competitor
  • Listeners believe the "listening cost" of your station exceeds its value
  • Failure to accurately assess a challenger’s strength or appeal in a timely manner
  • A delayed response or inability to adequately respond to "Values Drift;" listener values/standards have evolved but the leader has remained static 
  • Time pressures have severely limited creative and/or forward thinking
  • The status quo remains status quo for too long;  new services, features, products, or offerings are minimal, or there’s a lack of excitement about initiatives that are launched
  • Lack of employee passion for the station, format, listeners or even self
  • Eroding relationships with listeners for any of the above reasons

These are rarely intentional over-sights. I haven't walked into a station recently and found GMs, OMs and PDs looking for ways to keep busy. Finding time to just think is a challenge.

Still, in the spirit of ipsa scientia potestas est ("knowledge itself is power"), consider regularly scheduling a meeting of station creatives to talk through these (and other) bullets, share listener Intel, and have a "what if..." discussion.

Do it over a sandwich if you like.