On last week’s show (see Big Dog, Little Dog, Part One) I shared that 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, many times unknowingly. Continuing from last week’s theme there are lots of little dogs but few big dogs.

In programming nothing GOOD happens by accident.

Reading this week’s Frost Advisory may be the first time that some stations have even considered how their station is designed, or for whom.

A station whose design consists of unfamiliar songs by unknown artists, and where the on-air folk talk mostly about things a new listener can’t relate to, will resonate only with those that are already fans of the music, (see nifty graph below) a relatively small group of listeners. I’ve heard this on even the best of stations, particularly when presenting a music festival or big station event.

My friend Stan Mak, big boss for CRISTA Media and GM of Spirit 105-3 in Seattle, shares that this lifegroup pyramid was pivotal in helping his team understand the strategic programming principles that transform stations.

My pal Tim McCoy, GM at Spirit 105-9 in Austin, has this pyramid prominently displayed in his office. Both CRISTA stations are now top five performers in ratings, each also playing touch with #1 in their market, a rarity for the format in any market.

Stations that achieve that level of success have to be designed a specific way. Those stations understand that to reach beyond the small subculture of existing Christian music fans everything on their station; the music, what the talent talk about (and how), promotions and contests even news and traffic reports, needs to be designed in a specific way.

In programming nothing GOOD happens by accident.

*Special thanks to my friend BJ O’Neal for his fancy artwork.