I grew up listening to one of the all time great Top 40 stations in the US, KFRC in San Francisco. Man, those guys were perfect, the way they’d segue songs or talk up a song right to the vocal.
But I think what got me hooked on KFRC in the first place was those DJs ability to make it feel like they were talking right to me, almost every time. It was crazy. If I was sad they’d say “cheer up” over a great song. If I was flying they’d say “you deserve it” over a cool song. They were doing their thing on the radio but from the outside in. Or so it seemed.
The first year or so that I was programming a radio station, I had forgotten about taking an outside in approach, and I had the dismal ratings to prove it. Then one day I got in the car, turned up the radio, and started to remember what got me to that point in the first place. Not what career path or job got me to that place. But what listening experience got me to that place.
The rest is history. A lot of history and a lot of success, it turns out, with great radio stations like KFI, KNX and KABC in Los Angeles, shows like Glenn Beck, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Jim Rome, Stephanie Miller and Bill Handel. And with launching first-time-ever talk stations in places like the UK, Poland, Peru, and Mexico.
There is a lot of that 9 year old kid listening to KFRC in any programming I do. That kid is always on the other side of the radio just waiting to be touched personally by a radio personality he’ll never meet. But now that’s balanced by a whole bag of tools I have picked up and earned and learned, often the hard way, over nearly 25 years. Strategic tools, tactical tools, tools to help programmers program in a supercompetitive environment. Tools to help personalities take a segment, an hour, a show, a year of shows, to a whole new level.
When you program from the outside in, you touch people, deeply. Imagine where you can take them from there….