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Sterling Tarrant
KSBJ Houston / Production Director

What you Inadvertently learned at Momentum




 I was chatting with a co-worker who had her first Disney World experience at Momentum,  and I enjoyed getting to hear her first encounters with “Pixie Dust.”  One member of her entourage was a bigger Disney freak than me, and as they took off on  “Peter Pan’s Flight” her friend said “See the streets of London below?  There’s little tiny cars moving down there.  They didn’t have to do that...but they did!”

That got me thinking.  Even though I wasn’t at Momentum, I know that Disney theme parks are natural classrooms.   Some principles I learned working as an Orlando Cast Member years ago are applicable for radio, and I discovered some of them again during a trip there in August.  So, based on three things my co-worker said, here’s a “tip of the Miceberg” look at stuff you may have inadvertently learned:

1.  “They didn’t have to do that...but they did”

Walt Disney was adamant about “plussing,” and it continues to this day.  Plussing is taking an already good idea, adding to it,  and making it better.   Why?  Because he knew that his audience appreciated the difference.  They felt special when someone took the time to give them something out of the ordinary to discover.

Some examples are incredibly elaborate, like creating an alien language on the signage at Stitch’s Great Escape - something you can decipher if you look hard enough.  Other things are incredibly inexpensive, like the ticketing cast member we met who sprinkled Mickey confetti leading to his turnstile, and who told my kids that it caused only happy families to go through his line.

Are you “plussing” your station?  Doing out of the ordinary things like changing out the imaging regularly? Coaching your talents to not say the same things the same way?  Calling your donors just to thank them?  Giving your listeners a feeling of discovery - that each day has something slightly different to learn in-between the songs they love so much?

2. “I could just tell a difference between Universal and Disney”

My co-worker went to “Rock the Universe” instead of “Night of Joy” and she could tell the difference in the experience.  She said Universal was an immersive park, but not in a way she could peg. There’s advanced “wow-factor” attractions there, and beautifully themed environments, but it doesn’t cause our hearts to beat as strong as it does from a chance encounter with Cinderella.  For instance, I have a picture of my wife hugging Chip, her favorite Disney character, and her delight is forever burned in my mind.  A fuzzy Disney chipmunk will be much stronger to us two years from now than the few fuzzy details I’ll be able to cobble together of the Harry Potter ride.

This speaks of the fundamental difference we have in Christian radio vs. our secular counterparts.  Mix 107’s Morning Show and Power 88’s Morning Show can both talk about a 9 year old’s wonder in meeting Minnie, but only Power can tie that into the excitement that God has when He sees you.

Are your air talents weaving life experiences,  song lyrics,  and spiritual principles together?    Those are three strands of a cord way more powerful than the rope Captain Hook uses to swing away from the Crocodile. That kind of rope endures your listeners to you, ultimately snatching them away from the competition and ultimately away from the jaws of death.

3. “They don’t have an award for my job”

So this isn’t something my co-worker observed about Disney, but about our awards.  However, it is something that Disney addresses.  Disney geek common knowledge states that the windows on Main Street contain a lot of the unsung back stage cast members of the Walt Disney Company.  Sure the Executives, Visionaries, and Leaders are there,  and Walt, as the creator of the whole thing always has a light shining.  However,  folks like Carpenters, Ride Designers, and even the long tenured Superintendent of Janitorial Services have Main Street Windows.  It’s the highest honor you can get as a cast member.

The Echo Award winners got well deserved windows this week.  Some of us may never get a window, but  the light is always shining from the Creator, and our “job” is to get to show that light.  How amazing is that!   It’s far better than the piddly achievements of man that Epcot showcases.

However,  we all need to remind each other that the Creator is shining that light on each one of us too.  Always.  He is so pleased with us, just for who we are, not because of our performance.  Are you praying each week for your co-workers?  How about each day?  When every station continually praises God for every staffer, and every staffer naturally thanks one other from the outflow of that praise, you’ll have a radio station that people will be drawn to.


Sterling Tarrant is a 32 year Radio "Back Stager", and is the Production Director at KSBJ Houston.  For 10 years prior to that he was the Senior Creative Producer at Focus on the Family Broadcasting, and the Creative Services Director at KBIQ and The Word in Music Satellite Network in Colorado Springs.  He's been an overall "Messaging Guru" for more years than he can count and you can reach him at either, or through his website

Oh yeah, his 3 year stint at Disney was as a "Entertainment Costuming Assistant" where he actually got to be Goofy, and got to see a number of celebrities in their underwear. (Sorry, TMI).