I was in a conversation recently with a new PD about a radio station we’ve all heard of. “What do you think of them?” he asked me. Perhaps assuming I would respond with a critique of their music mix, deejays, liners, and contests, instead I responded with…

“They don’t have a brand.”

A brand is WHAT people think of WHEN they think of you. It’s the position you occupy in their minds that allows them to recognize and recall with “That’s the station that…”

“The essence of branding and being worth consuming is that experience, not the ingredients which make it up.

A radio brand, like any other, is in the experience business.

“Social” doesn’t mean “we have voices on the air and listeners can call in to win things.” “Social” doesn’t mean “everyone can listen to us separately at the same time.” “Social” means that every consumer is having an experience they share in some way with others.”

Mark Ramsey

I’ve found that almost all conversations about programming are about “the ingredients which make it up.” Get out the programming calculator. We have 65 of these, and 12 of those. Check list complete!

I’ve heard that when director Ron Howard and his wife go on a date, they always go to the movies.

“There’s something unique and meaningful in a group experience. You’re sitting in a large audience, and there’s a moment when everyone cheers or everyone laughs or everyone cries. You’re emotionally in sync.”

Ron Howard

A powerful brand allows people to feel a part of something meaningful. My friend Mike Blakemore and his son Brett (named after Brett Favre) are in London this very moment to watch the Green Bay Packers play the New York Giants. He could have easily watched that game from in his easy chair back home in Atlanta for less trouble and expense. Instead, it’s a lifetime bucket list moment with his son.

My friend Erica Parkerson of Spirit 105.3 in Seattle says, “That’s the kind of experience a radio station can provide – each person can feel like they are part of a family, of something bigger. Each person’s own life can be expanded by someone else’s relatable story.”

If I listened to your station…

Would I hear a weather forecast that is simply data, or would I hear the sharing of something we all have in common? Would I hear a PSA that is nothing more than a poorly written press release, or would I hear a story of a community coming together to make your town a better place to live? Would I hear a contest that is just about giving away a piece of cardboard, or would I hear real stories and you helping a listener be generous to someone they love?

What do people think of when they think of your station?