The ratings arrive. Our emotions react. There is running up and down the hallways and gnashing of teeth!


I’ve heard some pretty wacky ways that people have reacted to ratings. Moving the deejays’ shifts around, playing music from another format, and implementing formatics that make the station sound less distinctive and more generic.

“I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP,” as Dave Barry would say.

Making programming decisions based solely upon ratings is like driving with a GPS that shows only where you’ve been.

A thermometer and thermostat both measure temperature, but are designed for different purposes.

The thermometer is designed to measure specific variables that exist now; the thermostat is designed to create a specific environment in the near future.

Here’s the bottom line…

Information about the behavior of a tiny group of listeners months ago WILL NOT help you understand these three essential factors for making decisions:

  • what people love about your station
  • what they don’t love about your station (that is, what causes tune out)
  • how to design your branding and programming to be most attractive to new listeners

You have a choice. You can either look at the thermometer and react to what has been, or look at the thermostat and embrace what can be.