Beyond Just The Games

 “Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” – Andy Law

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Pandora now has an app for the Microsoft XBOX system.

Not really earth shaking…or is it?

Gaming is huge, which draws people to XBOX, and then XBOX provides them an entrée into movies, the web, and music.

Pandora uses Kinect to allow people to listen, vote, and change songs with just a gesture. So Pandora has now integrated themselves into yet another popular distribution channel. Have you heard the old story about finding a parade getting in front of it?

But both may soon be rendered obsolete as Virtual Reality achieves broad acceptance over the next five years.  Change is a fact of life.

My point here is to show how unimaginative and lame most of our radio apps are. Radio will not continue to succeed by being “good enough,” at a time when the life cycle of an app becomes shorter and shorter.  Let’s do something different that really intrigues the listener/consumer, and be prepared to understand that change is faster and more constant than ever.

A “Fixer Upper” For Your Station

“The most seductive thing about art is the personality of the artist himself.” – Paul Cezanne

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You’ve probably heard of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” where husband and wife Chip and Johanna Gaines rehab houses in the Waco, TX area. There’s a lot of talk about the show, how talented Johanna is…and how crazy Chip is.  That’s true, but what really makes it work is the stark differentiation between the two hosts. Dare I say role definition?
Two people who are exactly alike, or even closely alike, rarely generate the kind of passion seen on “Fixer Upper.” She’s smart, creative and more of a “driver,” he’s a total expressive, and a lovable clown. If it were just Johanna or just Chip it would wear out quickly. But that’ll never happen since both people are uniquely different, yet oddly compatible.
So how about your team shows? Are they similar in personality and approach, or do they create stark differentiation? By stark I mean…well you’ll just have to see the show and how much they play up on the differentiation. They stand out from each other, and the result is a ton of entertainment.  Even “serial” entertainment, where they’ll want to come back day after day.

It’s the personality of the two of them that creates the “art” that’s made them so successful.

P.S.  Yes, I know part of the show is fake, but the two people in it are very real.

The Future Comes To Those Who Make It

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

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When you’re walking along the beach, early in the morning, everything past the waves on the beach is invisible. You know there’s an ocean out there, but due to the fog bank, you can’t see it. Just like you know there’s a future out there, but you can’t see it.

This is where so many visions fail. The people involved can’t see past the fog bank, so they avoid anything about the future, missing the people on the small fishing boat and the ocean liner carrying passengers to far away places.  There’s a critical shortage of the Christopher Columbus’, John Glenn’s and Elon Musk’s who saw a future and made it happen.

Some of this is a simple vision block, we tell ourselves we don’t have a vision and so concentrate on the tactics that wind up taking us nowhere.  But some of it is also because we’re so tactically oriented that we don’t take the time to dream.  We think we have to be in a state of constant busyness – and you know what they say about a body in motion staying in motion.

Finally, there are those who think that planning gets in the way of a grander scheme to which we’re only a part of.  There’s an almost Biblical ban on strategy because it could get in God’s way.  I could be wrong, but I subscribe to what a famous dreamer, Galileo once said, ” I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, intellect and reason intended for us to forgo their use.

The perfect way to predict the future is to create it.  There’s a wonderfully simplistic, strategic sense to that, Abe.

Unsinkable Radio

If you look in your dictionary you will find: Titans – A race of people vainly striving to overcome the forces of nature. Could anything be more unfortunate than such a name, anything more significant?” – Arthur Rostron, Captain of the rescue ship Carpathia


This photograph is believed to be the last for the HMS Titanic, before it sank.

Everyone bragged on the Titanic in its time. It was too large to fail, it was unsinkable, and it was unthinkable that disaster could strike them. All those rich people would not have scrambled for tickets on the Titanic if they knew it was going to sink.

Sorry, but this still reminds me a little of radio as we vainly strive to overcome our own forces of nature. I am told almost daily that radio is in great shape and always will be. But actually, I can’t stop, because I remember history.

I am not anti-radio, and understand what it has done for me, but I can’t accept that everything will be as it was.

Change is inevitable, a part of life.  The radio industry is changing and won’t be the same tomorrow as it was yesterday.

The days of radio, television and print as the dominant media are ending, and the era of audio, video, digital and social have begun.

Toward the end of the Titanic’s cruise there were several things that were missed or neglected.  Had they acted on any of them the ship’s name “Titanic”  wouldn’t mean anything to us.  I’m wondering if we’re not seeing the signs and ignoring them, and are headed to a similar end?

Don’t fear change, embrace it!  Make change happen, don’t wait for it to happen.

What’s Your Story?

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” − Seth Godin

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Apple has a story.  Budweiser has a story.  Nike has a story.  In-N-Out Burger has a story.  Most successful brands do.  They have a story beyond their “product” that has been burned into the minds of the consumer.

Microsoft doesn’t.  Microsoft is a utility program – a good one – but a utility program mostly purchased transactionally instead of emotionally. There aren’t a lot of positive Microsoft stories. Stories are what people remember.

Take that all down to the level of say, your radio station, and how does it translate?  Is there a story you tell everyone about the station – one that is about the music, but beyond the music at the same time?    Something that taps into your listener’s passion? Something that’s uniquely yours and not shared by other stations in the same format?

This post is a “how to” one.  Here are two people who can help:

The right story starts with the “why.”  Simon Sinek’s concept links well with media brands.  You just have to figure out why your station does what it does, and why people become fans. Chances are you can weave those into a terrific story.

You can also find help from author Donald Miller’s Storybrand site.  You may recall Miller from his book, “Blue Like Jazz.”  Someday, when I have enough time, I’m going to attend his sessions on building your brand’s story.  But I’ve already learned from him the value and importance of the right kind of story.