The celebration of our nation’s 241st birthday is a powerful lesson of focus, common ground, and emotion.

Over the last three decades in my other life, I’ve served as a semi-professional public address announcer for major league spring training and minor league baseball.  That’s lots and lots and lots of dizzy bat races, National Anthems, and seventh inning stretches.

Do you know what I enjoy most?  It’s when my voice is the cue for veterans to rise and be acknowledged for their service and sacrifice for our country.  And there is no applause that is louder.

What does that mean for your radio station?

My friend Bryan O’Neal discovered that on your birthday you can take the ferry for free from Long Beach to Catalina Island.  When you get there they give you a special birthday ribbon to wear.  The moment you put on the ribbon you become special.  Total strangers are immediately greet to you with a “Happy Birthday!” everywhere you turn.

But that’s not all.  You see, Bryan isn’t the only one who knows about Catalina Island’s birthday promotion.  So every day of the year dozens and dozens of birthday boys and girls share Catalina Island with total strangers that just so happen to share the very same birthday.  Of course they don’t come alone.  Each has brought along family and friends to celebrate their big day.  So, not only did Bryan become special, his family and friends became special, and the other people with the same birthday became special, along with all of their family and friends.  Instant community! … formed out of what could have been simply a bunch of strangers walking around an island.

My friend Pyromarketing friend Greg Stielstra puts it this way,

“If you help your customers feel special, they won’t be able to resist telling their friends.”

We have hundreds of thousands of people that listen to our stations that have important things in common.  Focus on those things.  Celebrate those things.  Invite them to stand and be applauded for those things.

It’s the reason that the cheer for the veterans is loudest.

Happy birthday, USA!