Almost every discussion about programming follows a paint by numbers trajectory.
Music! Paint that section!
Personalities? Color in another!
Station imaging? Draw in that section over there.
Just this week I’ve heard these statements:
“That station is too Christian.”
“That station isn’t Christian enough.”
Diagnosis by quota, interpreted like a programming P&L, drives both statements.
This connect-the-dots simpleton-ness disregards the ability of the talent (and their coach), the role of beliefs and values in connecting to the hearts of new listeners (E-gad! He’s talkin’ strategy again!), and purposeful artistic design – storytelling, dynamic range, perspective on the meaning of life – of a compelling and meaningful radio station.
If you take the Mona Lisa apart and then paint-by-the-numbers it together again, you’ll have little that resembles the most famous painting of all time.
The most successful stations in the format are the ones that understand more than just paint by the numbers. They understand that it doesn’t matter what we do if what we do doesn’t matter.