The Christmas season brings out the best in our format. More people tune in than at any other time of the year, some stations topping a million listeners per week, once unthinkable in our format.

I know stations that do their best work in connecting on big tent values (those that resonate with new listeners as much as with regular fans) with stories of hope, forgiveness, and fresh starts. Over the last several weeks we’ve heard some amazing stories and songs.

I heard how Pamela and her daughter were helped to move out of the homeless shelter and start a new life!

I heard Craig’s story of being able to hear for the first time because of a caring surgeon.

I heard the story of the man who decorated his house with Christmas lights knowing that his son wouldn’t live to see Christmas. When his neighbors found out they joined in and decorated their houses months early.  

Stories and songs.

Our format can be so much more than songs people don’t know by artists they’ve never heard. In this new year my hope is that we won’t settle for stations that aren’t even listened to in our very own hallways, but instead make a resolution to do the the harder work of creating radio stations that really matter, that are creative, interesting, and worthy of having true fans.

“A brand is shorthand for the customers’s expectations. What promise do they think you’re making? If you have true fans, the only reason you do is because the group has engaged with you in a way that signals that they expect something worthwhile from you next time. That expectation isn’t specific, it’s emotional.”

Seth Godin

After all…

It doesn’t matter what we do if what we do doesn’t matter.