A recent conversation with a program director new to the format reminded me of an idea that I wished I had understood two decades ago coming from a world of mainstream radio.  

People don’t tune to your station because of what YOU are, they tune to your station because of who THEY are.

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself.”

Donald Miller, “Blue Like Jazz”

Think about the things you love. 

I love the guitar because my high school buddies Kenny and Wally loved the guitar.  

I first loved baseball because my dad loved baseball.  In fact, when you ask someone how they became a baseball fan they usually respond by talking about someone else.  

I love Mexican food because I’m a Texan.  It’s the law.

I first came to faith because it was lived out for me by two people I admire most – my mom and dad. (My mom was the church organist. I’m not a PK, I’m an OK).

Everyone that listens to your station does so because they love something else. So every effort we make to make them love our radio “stuff” misses the point. It’s like trying to convince someone to chew a certain gum because it has a green wrapper. Our format is not about Hercules and the Chicken Fat People’s new CD or concert tour. It’s not about which artist won what award, whether we play 5 songs in a row, or more new music.  

No, it’s about an emotional connection to the very identity of your listener.

Check out this amazing video that demonstrates the power of connecting emotionally to what people already love.


People love your radio station because they love something else. That happens in almost no other format. When you figure that out, just stand back and watch people begin to love your station.