When my girls were small they used to love having their daddy read them “Big Dog, Little Dog”, the story of two dogs that are opposite in every way but also the best of friends.

Big dog, little dog can apply to radio stations, as well. Big stations are that way for a reason. But so are little stations.

I’m often asked why many Christian music radio stations don’t have larger audiences. The answer in almost every case is because they are designed for small audiences. And many times they don’t even realize it.

There are examples in almost every format.

There is a sports station in Detroit with a 7.8 share (#2 in the market), but there is one just across the lake in Cleveland, a similar upper midwest city, with a 2.

There is an NPR station in Washington, D.C, with a 7.3 share, #1 in the market, but the NPR station in a comparably sized market (Detroit) has a 1.4 share.

There is a Christian music station in Orlando with a 9.7 share, but there is one just up the road in Jacksonville with less than a 2. There is another in Seattle, one of the least churched cities in the country, that is ranked 4th out of all stations, but there is one in the 18th most Christian city that barely makes the top 18.

Big dog, little dog.

This is obviously an oversimplification as market conditions and competitive environment can differ, but there is a lesson to be learned from understanding the strategic distinctions that separate market leaders of any format from the rest.

In next week’s Frost Advisory we’ll dig a little deeper and uncover what is really going on. I may even show you a picture.