You’ve likely been a part of this kind of conversation in your station’s hallways.

“The client wants us to give away vacuum cleaners or we won’t get the buy.”

“The morning show will give clues for 30 days. Listeners go to the website and submit their guesses, and anyone that gets all 30 correct will be a finalist…”

I had an epiphany recently.

I was listening to a major station that you’ve heard of and in the tapestry of their programming I heard music that touched my soul, content from friendly voices that connected with my life. I heard stories of generosity, the kindness of a stranger, and a subtle reminder that we can take steps toward our better selves.

Despite being a part of the planning process and knowing the various priorities for sales, marketing, and programming, my reaction in listening simply was, “We would want that on the air anyway!”

“People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.”

Simon Sinek

Because of this experience I have a new litmus test for whether something is aligned with the station’s brand values and resonating emotionally with listeners. When I hear something on the air, regardless of whether it originated in sales/underwriting, marketing, or fundraising, I want my response to be…