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John Frost

How Well You Are Doing Depends On Who You Ask





The folks at Arbitron tell me there are more radio stations in the good ole’ USA categorized as “religious” than any other format.   They also tell me “religious” radio stations have fewer listeners than any other format.   

So, what’s going on here?   

My brilliant friend Scott Valentine of Spirit 105.3 in Seattle recently told me this story:  

"Have you heard the story of the Hot Rod Race with Fords and Lincoln's setting the pace?" That is how the song “Hot Rod Lincoln” begins, written about a race on "Grapevine Hill."  It was Charlie's hit.  I remember the concert; The house was packed, I mean really packed!  Charlie performed his hit to thundering applause!  Encouraged, he played another song, then several more because of his encouraging fans. The promoter was sweating bullets as we were not looking at Charlie's fans on the front row, we were watching people leave out the EXITS in droves until a vast emptiness hung in the air.  The venue was empty except for Charlie and his small and vocal audience.   The people who applaud your talent the most and loudest may really be a distraction from a much bigger, even God-sized, opportunity.  So, always look to the back of the room to see how you're really doing!”

Almost every day decisions are being made based upon seemingly innocent sentences that start with phrases like.....

“I know I’m not the target but.....”

“I know it’s not real research but.....”

“I know my wife/my husband/my chiropractor is not the target but they don’t like it when we.....”  

Don’t listen.   Focus only on your station’s target audience, not just the noisy ones in the front row (or inside the building).  And counter-intuitively, the more you focus on the right target—the target rich environment--the larger your audience will be.  

Seth Godin puts it this way, “It’s impossible to make art for everyone.  There are too many conflicting goals and there is far too much noise.   Art for everyone is mediocre, bland, and ineffective.

If you don’t pinpoint your audience, you end up making your art for the the loudest, crankiest critics.  And that’s a waste.  Instead, focus on the audience you choose, and listen to them, to the exclusion of all others.   Go ahead and make this sort of customers happy, and the others can go pound sand.”  



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.