Recently I was with a well-known leadership guru who shared his organization’s mantra for creating a culture of excellence.  He distilled everything down to what he described as three basic ideas.

  1. Make it better
  2. Make it better
  3. Make it better

He stressed that it is more than just a pithy way of emphasizing his organization’s desire for improvement.  It was their way of empowering every person in the organization to look for tangible ways to make their part of the process, from idea to execution, better today than it was yesterday.

So, what would this look like in the key areas of programming?

Make it better by only playing songs listeners love.  Weed out the so-so and ones without broad consensus.  Unfamiliar new songs must be exposed carefully and enough that listeners can become familiar with them.

Make it better by delivering what Mark Ramsey describes as “what they hired you for.”  Meet expectations. Be relevant and interesting (in that order).  Program directors can help by assessing a talent’s “batting average,” and helping them increase it over time.

Make it better by focusing promotions on the needs and benefits of the listeners.   Ask ‘Why should they care?’  Make it better by designing in your station’s brand values.  (Of course, your station has to actually have brand values.  See Frost Advisory #238—Celebrate What You Value.)

Service Elements (such as news, weather, and traffic)
Make it better by remembering all non-music elements are an interruption and must add value to the listener’s experience.  Information is either relevant or it’s not.  As my friend Dean O’Neal says “there is nothing more irrelevant than a traffic report for traffic you’re not in.”

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. Don’t look for the quick, big improvement.  Seek the small improvement one day at a time.  That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.”
~Legendary coach John Wooden

*Photo from a get-together of Chick-fil-A‘s best customers at The Hatch in Atlanta to talk about how to make it better.