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John Frost

The Top Ten Reasons stations aren’t successful!  (Drum roll)  Number one!  




Twenty years ago my friend Alan suggested that I write.  Five years ago I took him up on his suggestion.  Some of us are slow to take wise counsel.  

Exactly 260 weeks ago I began punching away at these musings on programming strategies, perspectives, and stories I’ve picked up along the road.  Over the course of five years I think maybe writing about 'the #1 reason stations aren’t successful' is pretty important.  Who knows?  I may even step on a few egos.  Unless of course you don’t have one.  

Frankly, I’ve found THAT to be the essence of…(drum roll)…the #1 reason stations aren’t successful.  


Now, before you throw me off the bus, let’s remember that Ego simply means a self-centered perspective.  The challenge is when ‘ego’ takes on such exaggerated sense of importance that other points of view or counsel are not welcome in the room.   

“When I find the ego in the organization, I’ve found the problem.” Fred Smith

 Over four decades ago I began my radio journey at a tiny 500 watt AM radio station in my hometown in Texas.  Jay was my first radio mentor who taught me how to cue up a record, to watch my levels (no processing and no air monitor), and how to pronounce “ewe”.  (For you city folk, it’s pronounced “you”).   

My burgeoning radio career was then nurtured by Dave, Bill, Dwight and Bob; then Bill again (he hired me back). Then I took a big step forward as I learned from Howard and Larry, then on to the big leagues with Ed, Tim, and Mr. Hyland.  A few years later I was transported into mind lab of Randy, Al and Alan, a magical point at which the programming veil was lifted and I first saw clearly. That’s when Tommy coerced me to call Bill and Jenny Sue, who propelled me off on a wild adventure with a very tall fellow named Bud, who simply changed my life.  That’s when I feel like my programming acumen was put on steroids with daily mentoring by Alan, Tommy, Rick, Tom, Walter, Jim, and Jay.  Then David and Joe walked into my life and I entered yet another dimension of learning.  I was then connected to Ty and Mike, reconnected with Tommy; then to Jim and Dean and Lisa Jean, Joe and Jim, Bob and Ralph, and Mike and Mike  Even that long list leaves me ten years shy of the most recent influences in my life.  

If I had written Frost Advisory #260 before being influenced by these people, it wouldn’t be worth reading. 

“Everything I know I learned from someone else.”  Tom Watson

I heard a friend of mine recently say the biggest influences in his career were from thirty years ago.  If you’re doing the math, Ronald Reagan was president, and you and I had not yet spell-checked our very first e-mail.  How sad, I thought.  How sad that his ego has shut out three decades worth of learning, experience and expertise.  They say that there’s a difference between thirty years of experience and one year of experience thirty times.  

"The unsuccessful person is burdened by learning, and prefers to walk down familiar paths. Their distaste for learning stunts their growth and limits their influence.”  John C. Maxwell

Now don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m told the word ‘idiot’ comes from the Greek word “idio”, which means one who is self-centered and excludes himself from the ideas of others. 

Next week I’ll delve into Ego’s ugly stepsister—Trust.  And we’ll kick around some ways to, dare I say, not be an idiot.


The Top Ten Reasons stations aren’t successful! Number one!-Part two


On last week’s show I reached the Casey Kasem apex counting down the top ten reasons stations aren’t successful.   I slaughtered a few sacred cows and received numerous digital high-fives when I revealed what I’ve observed as the top reason: 

    “When I find the ego in the organization, I’ve found the problem.” Fred Smith

Ego is a result of insecurity.  Insecurity ultimately comes from a lack of trust.  Trust in one’s self and trust in others.   

A general manager doesn’t trust his program director so he dictates music decisions, major promotions, even (e-gad) where jingles play.   

A program director doesn’t trust the air talent so he implements talk limits, gives them a list of slogans to read, and burns up the studio hot line.  

An air talent doesn't trust the program director so he tries to sneak in his favorite songs, and clings to the same ole bits from a previous station.  

Bud Paxson remains one of the greatest influences in my broadcast carer.  You likely remember him as the founder of Home Shopping Network and PAX-TV.  One of Bud’s greatest leadership traits was summed up in the words “Bring me the bad news!”  He believed in dealing with problems head on.  He believed he couldn’t do anything about a problem if he didn’t know about it.  His attitude set the tone for a culture of candor among his closest advisors.   The truth would often tramped on sensitive areas, but the organization thrived!   

Program directors, do you trust your GM enough to tell him the truth, without fear of retribution?  

Managers, do you trust your program director enough to let him make the programming decisions, and support him publicly even when you disagree? 

Air talent, do you trust your program director enough to be open to their coaching even if it means using new muscles and thinking new thoughts?  

Trust doesn’t just happen.  Trust is a result of true leadership.  

"Leadership is a choice. It is not a rank. I know many people at the seniormost levels of organizations who are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities, and we do what they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them.

You see, if the conditions are wrong, we are forced to expend our own time and energy to protect ourselves from each other, and that inherently weakens the organization. When we feel safe inside the organization, we will naturally combine our talents and our strengths and work tirelessly to face the dangers outside and seize the opportunities.”   Simon Sinek


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.


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