Back to school time is everywhere.  In the stores with sales.  On the highways with school buses.  There are even tax free days for Back to School.

It’s not an official holiday like Christmas, Ground Hog Day, or Millard Fillmore’s birthday, but it is just as evident.  Back to school affects everyone’s schedule, even those that don’t go to school.  (Can’t say that about ole Millard’s birthday.)

“The difference between school and life?  In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test.  In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”
~Tom Bodett

My friend Tim McDermott of KSBJ recently introduced me to the book, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller, where he shares “the ability to dismiss distractions and concentrate on your ONE Thing stands between you and your goals.”

So, let’s go back to school and discuss the one thing that can transform programming.

I’ll begin this back to school lesson by asking for a permission slip to skip the obvious first answers – music and positioning.  Let’s save those for the second semester.

On this first day of school I’d like to introduce the idea that “The One Thing” for our radio stations is… meaningful content.  You know, the stuff between the records.   While that may not be a new idea on this first day of school, there are important ramifications that, if we ignore, could send us to detention.  Or extinction.

  1. Meaningful content creates familiarity.  We care about things that relate to us.  And what we prefer is directly related to things we know.  Said another way, we can’t prefer things we don’t know.
  2. Meaningful content creates humanity.  People relate to people.  A bunch of technical stuff can’t create a bond like an interesting, caring person.  (Even Facebook, which is a breakthrough in technology, is all about people).
  3. Meaningful content creates distinction.  If your station is just like the other stations (i.e., playing the same music) there is no reason to prefer you.  Preference is directly connected to donor support and ratings performance.

So class, on this first day of school let’s return to Gary Keller’s “The One Thing.”  He asks, “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Beyond the fundamentals of music and positioning, The One Thing that your station has to do is to do things that matter.  That can only happen if you have meaningful content between the songs.