John Frost “The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.”

Published On November 11, 2018 » 182 Views» Articles, Feature Article

Say it isn’t so!   

 

My cousin, the brilliant surgeon, told me of the time that a hospital board member barged into the operating room during a gall bladder surgery and told him they should remove the patient’s kidney.   He had done the Google search, you see.    

 

It’s a joke, of course, but…..

“We would never consent to surgery from a surgeon who hadn’t been to medical school, and perhaps even more important, from one who who hadn’t kept up on the latest medical journals and training.   And yet there are people who take pride in doing their profession from a place of naïveté, unaware of or unfamiliar with the most important voices in their field.”  Seth Godin  

 

Radio stations would simply be transformed if only those most qualified to make a decision in a certain area were the ones that actually made the decision.   


On last week’s show I shared how my cousin the surgeon has a coffee mug that reads, “Please do not confuse your Google search with my medical degree.” He tells me more and more patients find a bit of information on the internet and think they know something. This, combined with our desire for simple answers often results in a “Can’t I just take a pill?” mindset. Perhaps you’ve seen this at your radio station.

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.” Charles Spurgeon

I once worked for a company where the big boss, a brilliant thinker and deal maker, would occasionally get in the weeds, presumably out of boredom. Idle hands, don’tcha know. The stories were legend about firing an overnight guy he had never met, changing a format on a whim, and dictating that a certain station have 666 songs on its playlist. It wasn’t a number based on their music research or strategy, it was simply a number stuck in his head from an article he once read at the barber shop. As a result the station was forced to play a bunch of songs the listeners didn’t like. Probably not a good idea. (See Frost Advisory #306, “Maybe we’re asking the wrong question”)

Then there is the story of the executive that insisted on a marketing campaign with messaging their own research indicated would be not be effective in attracting new listeners, and the top boss who criticized the station’s music mix citing that the receptionist, because she was in the target demo, didn’t care for the station. I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP, as Dave Barry would say.

“We would never consent to surgery from a surgeon who hadn’t been to medical school, and perhaps even more important, from one who who hadn’t kept up on the latest medical journals and training. And yet there are people who take pride in doing their profession from a place of naïveté, unaware of or unfamiliar with the most important voices in their field.” Seth Godin

Expertise matters. Experience matters. A track record of success matters.

On next week’s show I’ll share the four stages of being really, really smart and stuff. That’s a tease, don’tcha know.


Remember when you first began to get curious about what was coming out of the radio?   

He was a freshman in high school when he realized that he listened to the radio differently than most people.   While his friends turned up the volume for the music he turned it UP when the disc jockey talked.  He began to notice there were different kinds of personalities (“he’s the funny one”) and even talent levels (“he can talk really fast right up till they start singing”, long before he knew what hitting a post meant.)  Even in his pre-pubescence he sensed that the voices booming in from Chicago were better than the ones from Buffalo Gap.   

That 14 year old John Frost didn’t know what he didn’t know.   Then he began to realize that he didn’t know.   Noel Burch described this process as “The Hierarchy of Competence.” 

That 14 year old me moved from Unconscious Incompetence to Conscious Incompetence.  And that’s when the fun really began.  

 

I remember sitting with the PD of my first big station watching him go through air check tapes.   He would take a cassette, put it in the cassette machine and listen for no more than 15 seconds.  He would then take the cassette out and toss it into one of two boxes, one labeled “potential”, and the other labeled “fossil fuel.”   Aware that I was a Conscious Incompetent I asked him what he was listening for.   

 

‘There’s nothing wrong with him that 10 years of 4 hour shifts won’t cure.”  

 

Malcolm Gladwell formalized that idea decades later in the book “Outlier” with “the Rule of 10,000”; it takes 10,000 hours of practice to make you an expert of anything.  That perspective from a programming mentor changed my trajectory in the direction of Conscious Competence.  

Today everyone of us can all learn something new.   Let’s never waste that opportunity.       

 

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”  Coach John Wooden 

 


John is a partner in Goodratings Strategic Services, and has been a successful major market disc jockey and program director for such companies as CBS, Cap Cities, Westinghouse, Sandusky, Gannett, and Alliance during his 38 year broadcast career.  John joined Goodratings’ partner Alan Mason in 1999. Contact John at john@goodratings.com

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