It’s a thing in my family. We play cards and board games and stuff. Vacations are planned with that fierce evening competition in mind.

The problem with these games is that you only really know what is right before you.

You only know the card that has just been played, or the next move, but NOT what the eventual impact it will have on the outcome of the game.

Programming a station can sometimes feel that way.

You can often do the next right thing – play songs people love, talk about things your listeners are interested in, create winning moments that will help them tune in again and again – but that is no guarantee that the Nielsen gods (small g) will reward you with remarkable ratings.

So, what’s the point?

Yes, you only know what is right in front of you, but if you’ve been through it before you have the experience of knowing the strategies that result in success. When I play this card… they’ll be forced to play that card… which will allow me to discard this lousy 2 of clubs, and to eventually become the champion!

Winning radio stations aren’t designed with the short term in mind, and yet most decisions are nothing more than that. Experience is the best teacher of what works, what principles are most effective, and what likely outcomes will be.

“We would never consent to surgery from a surgeon who hadn’t been to medical school, and perhaps even more important, from one who hadn’t kept up on the latest medical journals and training. And yet there are people who take pride in doing their profession from a place of naivete, unaware of or unfamiliar with the most important voices in their field.”

Seth Godin

You’ve been dealt a hand.

You can either just play the next card and hope for the best, or you can embrace the successful principles that actually allow you to win the game.