Every Christmas for the last several years I’ve thrown a few coins into the Salvation Army bucket down the street at the H-E-B. But not this year. Nope. They’ve changed their bell ringer. The guy standing outside the store ringing the bell is different this season, and I’m upset about it.

Ludicrous, isn’t it? Obviously no one would stop donating to the Salvation Army because Bert replaced Barry at the bucket.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”

Simon Sinek

Many stations reach historic levels of listening during the Christmas season. I know a handful that reach over a million listeners per week, once unthinkable in our format. Another handful reach the top tier right alongside the pop, rock, and country stations.

But this Frost Advisory isn’t about getting new listeners. It’s about keeping them.

“Our WHY is our purpose, cause or belief – the driving force behind everything we do. Our HOWs are the actions we take when we are at our natural best to bring our WHY to life. Our WHATs are the tangible manifestation of our WHY, the actual work we do every day.”

Tactics designed to create tune in opportunities and familiarity with the regular format are certainly valuable tools. But those tactics generally revolve around the WHAT.

Changing bell ringers at the red kettles doesn’t impact my willingness to donate to the Salvation Army because I know their WHY, and I share their belief of helping those who can’t help themselves.

My talented friends Brant Hansen and Sherri Lynn produce distinct “WHY” content pieces for new affiliates like my friends at UCB Canada. The folks at UCB know that Brant and Sherri don’t sound like the typical radio deejays in Canada, so they want to get a head of it and establish a context that will help listeners embrace their uniqueness.

As Christmas turns into the new year your station has the potential of turning many new listeners into station fans. That transformation will start with your station’s WHY. Make sure you share that story.