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John Frost

Dogs that drool, and other things that are familiar     




No one has ever walked into a restaurant and asked, “How many different kinds of meals do you serve?”

But every day someone asks, “What do you like here?’  Every day a waiter says, “It’s one of our favorites”.

If I really wanted to impress you I would talk about the reticular area of the brain.   That’s the reason you can hear a song that you haven’t heard in years and sing along with every word.

“In the 1904, Ivan Pavlov won a Nobel Prize working with dogs and their drool. What he noticed was that the dogs tended to salivate before food was delivered to their mouths. He further discovered that anything associated with food, even a symbol or sound, could be used to cause the dogs to salivate.


Modern scientists call these elements, like a symbol of food, reticular activators. Things like food, smells, music, and visual icons instantly remind us of something we’ve experienced, seen or heard.”  

In other words, things we’ve experienced—things that are familiar—we value differently than things we haven’t.   

That’s the reason why certain smells conjure up memories of your grandmother.  (For me it was her Ford Rambler with those weird plastic seat covers).  

Here’s the bottom line---in our format those that listen know the music; those that don’t don’t.

It’s this simple---if you fill the gaps between the music with things that are familiar, and relevant, and interesting, your station will be successful.  Beyond your wildest dreams.   

And, yes, I’ve left some stuff out.   Next time, perhaps.



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.