For people to see a thing in the same way it is helpful that they be standing in the same place looking in the same direction at the same thing.

Every radio format can be steered one of two directions – culture or subculture.

The direction is usually the result of leadership’s vision, financial or ratings goals, or competitive factors. But sometimes it happens by accident, with little awareness of the day-to-day, break-by-break decisions that move a station there.

My experience is that Christian music radio stations default to subculture (and therefore smaller audiences) unless they are purposeful about being culturally relevant. (Frost warning: that may mean taking risks and not doing what is easiest).

To a certain generation November 22, 1963 was a day the world changed, just as December 7, 1941 did for our parents’ generation, and September 11, 2001, did for our children’s.

Culturally relevant doesn’t mean that you read from Today in History. It means that you choose camera angles that connect to your listeners’ perspective while also being true to your radio station’s purpose.

Note how these websites covered the anniversary:

Catholic Online:

“We had a picture of John F Kennedy and the Pope on the wall. I vividly remember the fateful day when President Kennedy was assassinated… Many of the nuns were crying. I was crying… After all, we understandably took great pride in the fact that he was the first Catholic President of the United States of America.”

Former Twins’ pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant recalls, “Then they came and knocked on the door… and it was Secret Service. I said, ‘I would love to have breakfast with the President.’ And we had breakfast, and we talked for about an hour. And he said, ‘I have a speech to make today. If you come to my speech, I’ll come to your game tonight.'”

The Boston Globe shared how students at local JFK Elementary school learned about its namesake. His name is on the outside of the school and on the bulletin boards and on some of their shirts… The children knew he was a great president, but they did not know he was slain.”

The Palm Beach Post took readers Inside President Kennedy’s atomic bomb shelter and command post on Peanut Island near the Kennedy’s Palm Beach winter home. “They were Dr. Strangelove days. It was a time of ‘duck and cover’ and fears that the Cold War could, at any moment, turn hot.”

The Rolling Stone website told the story of Lou Reed’s song “The Day John Kennedy Died.”

Market leading stations like Z88.3 in Orlando, CRISTA’s Spirit stations in Austin and Seattle, and several of Salem’s Fish stations, are culturally relevant on purpose. That’s one of the reasons they are market leaders. They simply stand in the same place as their listeners, looking in the same direction at the same thing.