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Alan Mason
Goodratings Strategic Services

Through Their Eyes



The movie "War Of The Worlds" by H.G. Wells, the original, was one of the first movies I remember scaring me. Everyone in the theatre jumped at the scene where they heroes cut the "eye" from the spacesuit or whatever, and took it to a laboratory where they set it up and arranged to look through the eyes of the invader from outer space, and see what they world looked like to them. While the effects seem pretty cheezy now, it's still an apt metaphor for what we do, and don't do, with our listeners.

While I'm not advocating you go out and dismember your listeners, one of the most important things you can do is to view the world through they eyes. But most of us don't. Instead we assume we know what their perspective is. Only a few actually do research to find out what the listeners are seeing. Just as the people in War Of The Worlds were shocked when they hooked the eye up to the camera and saw things like the alien saw them, many of us are shocked at what the listeners see in us.

But think what would happen if we could look through our listeners eyes and see the world?

Suddenly the ongoing debate about what size the music library should be would evaporate. We'd see that the listeners want to hear their favorite songs - nothing more. Library size would be decided by how many of those songs there were.

Next, we'd begin to see the rest of the world through their eyes, and find out what interests them and what doesn't. All those morning show features about "on this day in history," and it being national pickle day would disappear, and instead we'd be talking to them about what really interests them. Given this new insight we'd be able to not only talk to them, but engage them. We'd be able to involve them in the station because we'd become involved in their lives. After all, isn't that what friendship is really about, sharing things you have in common?

We'd also get to see how they see us as people. Are we the kind of folks they'd hang out with, or do we distance ourselves by talking about ourselves and seemingly never listening to them? Are we seen as being people they can relate to, or are we older people, talking down to them? Are we the kind of people they'd invite over to dinner, or are we seen as being too stodgy and distant for them?

Finally, we'd get to see how they see us as Christians. Are we really seen as "seeker friendly," people with arms wide open, ready to embrace them for their belief in God and understanding of Jesus? Or would they see us as judgmental and political, always telling them what they should be doing and passing judgement on their lives? Would the buzz words we use on the air make them feel invited, or like strangers?
One of the reasons many of us don't spend time trying to see the world through the eyes of our listeners is it scares us. We don't want to see what they do, because we'd have to change our own paradigm instead of expecting the to mold to ours. We don't want their input on music and library size because we'd have to do things differently than we are now.

But seeing the world and yourself through the eyes of your listeners is one of the most important things you can do, if you're really dedicated to a role of servant.




Alan Mason has been consulting successful CCM and mainstream stations for decades. He has been married to his wife Becki for 39 years, and they currently live in Lincoln, California. His other interests include genealogy and political strategy. He was the recipient of the 2007 Rob Campbell Award, and the Radio & Retail Echo Award for industry impact.







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