“Firing the customers you can’t possibly please gives you the bandwidth and resources to coddle the ones that truly deserve your attention and repay you with referrals, applause and loyalty.”- Seth Godin
We are so funny sometimes. We can have solid ratings, get rave revues, get a great research study, and still, when that one person calls to complain about what the morning show said, everything changes. They need to be fired!
Usually the person calling and upsetting the apple cart isn’t worth the trouble. They’re the people who listen to Howard Stern every morning so they can catch him doing something wrong, or the one that thinks your station isn’t family friendly enough, and so forth. They’ll never be strong supporters of the station.
Meanwhile there are the 30% of your listeners that PPM says are delivering 70% of your AQH. Those are the ones that you need to learn more about and concentrate on. Obviously you need a healthy cume too, but the core listeners provide the difference between mediocre and success.
Should you pay attention to people who call with complaints? Maybe. But if the station is doing well, maybe not. In my ultra-competitive past history I was known to hire people to call the competitor and complain. Because of how we react, it drove them crazy. So if your station is doing well, maybe you need to take a different direction.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“Well, what’s the risk factor on this?”
Ever had one of those moments when you said to yourself, “I wish I would’ve thought to say that.” You thought of the perfect reply about 30 minutes later. That’s where I was when an IT person asked me about the risk involved in a project. I wasn’t ready to answer, and “bite me” seemed inappropriate, so I was silent.
It was about 30 minutes later that I realized the biggest risk was to do nothing at all. It’s the risk-avoidance tendency we radio people seem to have adopted that hurts us, not that we’re taking too many risks. If we do nothing adventurous, which is that the guy was suggesting, we’ll continue to decline as an industry.
Having true talent is a risk – someone might want more music. Exploring social media as another relationship building tool is a risk, not everyone is on Facebook you know. Creating selectable streams on the Internet is a risk – we’d have to give up control. It’s a risk writing a blog like this – someone may disagree or think I’m stupid.
The IT guy was dead wrong. It’s time for radio to take some risks. It may be the only thing that keeps us viable in a fast changing world. That doesn’t mean doing stupid things, you still have to consider the downside, but you can’t let the downside rule your decisions.