As I approach my 40th anniversary in radio I’ve been privileged to work with dozens and dozens of people much smarter and talented who have generously poured themselves into me.

This week’s programming tip is a result of taking those influences to discern the decision making dynamics at dozens of Contemporary Christian radio stations over the last decade.

I’ve worked with radio stations that have become award winning in the industry, and I’ve worked with stations that have been a short blip on the screen. (Anyone remember Shine 97.7 in Albuquerque? I didn’t think so).

This week’s tip isn’t about the music you play, the disc jockeys you hire, or how much marketing and research a station has. This tip is about how trust is developed, and its impact on a station’s progress.

The three stages of success is ultimately about relationships and trust. This is true between an outside resource (like me) and station management, between an air talent and the PD, or between a PD and a GM. I’ll change the names to protect the innocent and use the PD/GM relationship since most reading this tip have those positions.

Stage #1: You know something we don’t know. You’re hired!

It’s a no brainer. You have value or you wouldn’t have been hired. That value can be expertise, experience, track record, or on-air skills.

Stage #2: Tell us what we already understand or agree with and we’ll do it. We promise!

When a PD makes recommendations to the GM and the GM says, “That’s a good idea,” it’s likely to be a rather effortless process. While that may seem simple, there is a problem with that dance rhythm.

Since we can assume that the PD has programming expertise and experience that the GM doesn’t (or the PD wouldn’t have been hired in the first place) that station isn’t benefitting from the gap between the PD and the GM’s programming expertise. When we do only that with which we already agree or understand we fail to go beyond our own knowledge.

Former National Christian Radio Association president Joe Battaglia says, “It is impossible to learn what is outside ourselves from inside ourselves.” Golfer Tom Watson puts it this way, “Everything I know I learned from someone else.”

Next week’s I’ll share the transformation that can happen in a radio station when you understand Stage #3. (That’s a tease).