Of course, no one ever says it that way. But why would advertisers cancel — after reporting positive ad results? And how should advertising professionals respond to tough cancellations?  

First, you have a choice to make. Will you become defensive? Or maintain the relationship?

If you’re an advertiser, consider the possibility that the radio station needs to adjust your ad messaging strategy — not that “the station doesn’t work anymore.” Think before you employ the “suicide option,” saying goodbye to the equity and goodwill you’ve spent good money to build with the listeners. NASA makes mid-course corrections. Advertisers and broadcasters should, too.

Radio ad execs:  Cancellations are rarely personal. If your client needs space and time, give it to them. Chris Lytle says media “professionals get paid to handle frustration.” If you’re not handling frustration, you’re probably not getting paid much. Give yourself a moment to feel — and acknowledge — your feelings. Then, focus on strategy and tactics. Humans are complicated creatures, and you may be on the receiving end of advertiser frustrations that don’t belong to you. Listen … and ask questions.

SEASONAL ADVERTISERS:  Management loves it if you turn your seasonal advertisers into 52-week clients, but they may cancel if you pressure them on this … and never return. Many businesses lose money 10 months a year, and depend on their high season.

NEW MARKETING DIRECTOR:  New people come in, often with little actual training or experience. And they are determined to make their own mark. Often, they feel very insecure deep down, and mask it by seeking control. Stay positive and sincere — and become a resource. Engage other friends you’ve made there.

IMPOSSIBLE ROI STANDARD: “Yes, the ads have generated calls. But we must have a 3-to-1 ROI.” If your ad produces solid calls and clicks, you’re doing your job. It’s OK to gently challenge this. Ask if any other medium is generating a 3-to-1 ROI, and how. 

SERVICE PROBLEMS: “Studies show that 68% of customers leave a business relationship due to a perceived attitude of indifference on the part of the company.”** Did you (or a member of your team) neglect them, giving your competitors an opportunity?

ALSO CONSIDER:  Is their ad content stale, or do you need to change their ad schedule? Finally, clients cancel because they have money problems, and are too embarrassed to tell you.

HERE’S THE POINT:  If you serve clients with your whole heart each day, everything else takes care of itself over time. __________________________________________________________

** Forbes – Aug. 16, 2015. * Bob McCurdy, Radio Ink, August, ‘17.  To unsubscribe, reply “unsubscribe.” Radio plants. The Internet harvests.*

Driving More Financial Support for Christian Broadcasters || Mark Ramsey

This is a time when smart broadcasters are open to new and innovative mechanisms for financial support. But what would you do if your entire source of revenue was suddenly shut off? That’s the predicament our artists find themselves in. The take from licensing and music sales is notoriously paltry compared to revenue earned from touring. And touring has ground to a near halt. So what do you do? Well, you get creative. That’s what my friend Jim Brickman did. Many of you know Jim. You probably play some of his music. The most important season for Jim is Christmas – it’s peak tour time. But this year is going to be different. All the venues are closed. Jim could have simply given up – thrown in the towel. But he didn’t. Instead, he got creative. His tour is still happening, but this time it’s virtual. Virtual, but still LOCAL. What do I mean by that? Watch this to find out. So it’s not just one virtual show. It’s a SERIES of virtual shows, each one tailored to a local market and each one benefitting the local venue that is forced closed by the pandemic shutdown. At once, Jim is continuing his tour, bringing in revenue to support his music, bringing something to his fans they want and expect, AND supporting the local venue which is unable to host his show at this difficult time. That’s a win / win / win / win. AND look at the offerings – they’re much more than show tickets:
  • $40 – Includes a YouTube link to watch the concert
  • $75 – Includes Gift Box containing a Ticket, Program, Comfort & Joy CD, T-Shirt, Autographed Photo & Goodies PLUS a link to Zoom Room for interactive concert
  • $125 – Includes Gift Box containing a Ticket, Program, Comfort & Joy CD, T-Shirt, Autographed Photo & Goodies, a link to Zoom Room for interactive concert PLUS a Meet & Greet after the concert
So if 100 people in San Diego select the Meet & Greet option, Jim has just grossed $12,500 for doing an event which is 100% online. Add in the hundreds who will spend at the lower levels and multiply times the 80 cities (!!) Jim has included in his tour and you have a significant business that literally didn’t exist last year. That’s getting creative. And it’s increasingly something that Christian broadcasters need to understand. Our means of financial support cannot and should not be limited to listener donations to “keep us on the air.” The days of 4% of our audience paying for what 96% hear for free will one day be over. And now is the time when technology offers an infinite menu of solutions to every conceivable financial support dilemma. What’s absent isn’t the tools. What’s absent is the imagination and the will. So do this: Imagine that conditions arise tomorrow that make your existing business model impossible. What would you do then? Why wait? Do it now. Mark Ramsey President of Mark Ramsey Media Mark Ramsey is president of Mark Ramsey Media, strategic research provider to many Christian music stations including K-LOVE, AIR1, KLTY/Dallas, WPOZ/Orlando, KTIS/Minneapolis, and many others. More information about his services is at Sign up for FAITHBRIGHT, his weekly email of smart and actionable ideas for Christian broadcasters here: Reach him at 858-485-6372 or

How radio listeners map to digital audio options: New from Edison Research || Brad Hill

The benchmark study of American listening preferences, The Infinite Dial produced by Edison Research and Triton Digital, collects more information than is annually publicized every March. Thanks to an Edison release and webinar (yesterday) titled Radio Listener Profiles, we know that this year’s data include an understanding of how radio’s best listeners (so-called P1 listeners) map to social media, in-home technology, traditional AM/FM listening, and more. There is an abundance of knowledge in the report. Overall, it seeks to position P1 listeners by their demographics, radio ownership, smart speaker ownership, social media use, loyalty to online audio brands, music discovery methods, and podcast listening. While of obvious value to AM/FM owners and operators, the info is interesting to the entire field. Here are the official top-level takeaways which accompanied our copy of the webinar slides:
  • Radio continues to have a hardware challenge, particularly with younger-leaning formats. Eleven formats were indexed against the market average for owning a traditional radio receiver in their home. Formats whose P1 listeners are more likely to own an in-home radio include Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Country, Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, News/Talk, and Sports. Formats less likely to own an in-home radio include Alternative Rock, Contemporary Christian, and the two formats that index the lowest for in-home radio ownership: Hip Hop/Rap and Top 40. R&B is exactly the market average for owning a radio in the household. 
  • Smart speakers provide a partial solution for radio. Fortunately for radio, technology has provided more devices for listening. Smart speaker ownership is consistently growing, and radio formats with younger P1 listeners, such as Alternative Rock, Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, Hip Hop/Rap, R&B, Sports, and Top 40, are more likely to own one. Formats whose P1 listeners are less likely to own a smart speaker: Country, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Contemporary Christian, and News/Talk.
  • Online listening remains elusive for AM/FM radio stations. Over 75% of radio P1 listeners to Sports, Top 40, Alternative Rock, Hard Rock/Heavy Metal and Hip Hop/Rap reported listening to any online audio services in the last week. When looking specifically at listening to AM/FM radio online in the last week, however, the percentages drop significantly:  Sports (45%), R&B (28%), News/Talk (26%), Alternative Rock (26%), Hard Rock/Heavy Metal (26%). 
  • Music discovery is moving to YouTube and other places . YouTube as a source for music discovery defies age and radio format boundaries and is one of the top three sources for new music discovery by all of the music formats profiled in this study. AM/FM radio was one of the top three sources for new music discovery by all of the music formats with the exception of Hip Hop/Rap.
Since the Infinite  Dial always tracks usage of online audio brands, we were interested to see how P1 radio listeners interact with those brands. The graphic below shows how — remember that the respondents are not necessarily going to online platforms for the P1 station type they identify with. sports is a good example — Spotify does not supply sports except on the podcast side. Same with News/Talk.   YouTube is another story, no less interesting. The Google-owned platform is an increasing resource for music discovery — we know that from the basic Infinite Dial report over the past few years. The fascinating chart below illustrated first, second, and third music discovery resources for the main P1 radio categories: Let’s quantify this. If we give three points to each #1 choice, two points to each #2 choice, and one point to each #3 choice, we arrive at an overall ranking of music discovery resources across the P1 music format categories: YouTube (18 points) AM/FM (18 points) Friends/Family (14 points) So, by this ranking system, we might be at an inflection point at which YouTube is on the cusp of taking the primary position in music discovery. A secondary indicator is this: The three formats which use YouTube most (Hip/Hop/Rap, R&B, Alternative Rock), are mostly for younger listeners:

What IS a Program Director? || Kevin Robinson

Like the title, “Broadcasting” clings to archaic terms and titles. At a time when defining a position and modernizing its meaning seem critical we sleepwalk through history with little coruscating innovation.

Somewhere in time someone decided program directors directed…well, “programs.” Radio archives tell of auditoriums filled with an audience watching a live radio show. Not that long ago, if you toured WTMJ’s facilities on Milwaukee’s Capitol Drive, you’d eventually see their auditorium where long before WTMJ Television, radio personalities hosted live shows. It must have been fun for Milwaukee’s great grandparents and their friends. Possibly those times were the early inspiration for the term “program director.” In 2020 that title has as much impact as an Oldsmobile.

“Program Directors” have great responsibility yet with little authority. They’re held accountable for Nielsen performance, music design and management, talent procurement and their supervision. Yet in many places, “PDs” are becoming as expendable as paper towels. What’s wrong with this picture?

Within massive radio groups born from the Telecom Act, year by year “programming” has been subordinated to a second-tier emphasis making the title even less definitive. In many places people with great potential are billeted in their building as caretakers charged with ratings, yet mainly role players on the organizational chart, personifying the adage “all of the responsibility but with little of the authority”.

As we interact with some PD’s we witness what has become a false message, so we remind them “you can’t do anything without aggressively pushing your own limitations.” To a Program Director working under an anachronistic title, we ask: “what advice would you give an aspiring, bright, aggressive college student pursuing radio?” For example, “In the last five years, what company innovation or strategic breakthrough have you experienced?” “What are the best and most useful recommendations from your leadership?” And, “how has a mentor or supervisor helped you benefit from a failure?”

If you’re a PD ask yourself: in the last year, which corporate leaders have talked with you, or offered you a performance assessment followed with guidance to improve?

If you’re coming up with blanks, it’s possible you need to look ahead toward a stronger, more enlightened company where people are welcome to shine in important moment s (as if you’re actually meant to be there)…setting trends, instead of following them.

I offer the motion Radio surrender its hold on the title “Program Director” giving way to a descriptor that actually suggests innovation, creativity, and appreciation for your audience. You know; something “corporate” like, “Chief Listener Engagement Officer?” Eventually there will come a time when radio leaders accept that everything old is finished. And that will be the beginning!

Kevin Robinson

Kevin Robinson is a passionate, record setting and award-winning 35-year broadcast veteran, having experienced programming success with teams in Chicago, Phoenix, St. Louis, Louisville, Buffalo and Lansing in quality companies like CBS Radio, Bonneville International, Hubbard Radio, Infinity Broadcasting, Salem Media Group and others.

With his company Robinson | Media and partnership with the Audience Development Group, , Kevin has advised companies all over America including Entercom Communications, Beasley Broadcast Group, Westwood One, Midwest Communications, Triad Broadcasting, Townsquare Media, Midwest Family Broadcasting Group, Grand Canyon Broadcasters, LaSalle County Broadcasting, EG Media Group and more. Kevin is often asked to be a featured speaker with broadcast state associations from Michigan, Indiana, Missouri and the NAB.

As former Vice-President of Hot AC for CBS Radio, Kevin counseled 15 brands coast-to-coast in the format, in addition to coaching Leeza Gibbons, Randy Jackson and Billy Bush through his partnership with Westwood One. Kevin’s varied format expertise is deep and includes Hot AC, Oldies, Christian AC, Mainstream AC, CHR, Adult Hits, Classic Hits, Country and Talk. Kevin’s brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader.

Known largely as a trusted talent coach, Kevin is the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by The Worldwide Radio Summit, Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi Award-winning talent.

Kevin lives in Whitestown, Indiana with his wife of 33 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or

Vanna White’s Advice for Christian Radio || Mark Ramsey

Everybody knows Vanna White. She has been turning letters on Wheel of Fortune since 1982. For those of you keeping track that was almost 40 years ago.

Technically, however, she hasn’t been turning letters since 1997. That was the year the letters went digital. From then until now it would take only a touch from Vanna to make the letters appear.

/var/folders/mq/x2hps3x95t960p25lkttc7380000gn/T/ it’s fair to ask a couple questions that have surprising relevance for your radio stations.

First, if the letters don’t need to be physically turned, then why do we need Vanna at all? Second, if we have Vanna, then why do the letters ever need to go digital? Why not stick with analog – the way it had always been done before?

This is an example of a brand sticking with what works but continuing to update with the times.

It’s not good enough to stick with one thing forever – time marches on. Something always needs to evolve and change.

At the same time, however, tradition and comfort matter. Don’t throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater in the pursuit of change for its own sake.

Wheel of Fortune strikes that balance by retaining the co-host that viewers have grown up or grown old with, while at the same time bringing the technology up to date so that the show doesn’t appear to be a relic from 40 years past.

Whenever you hear a radio station justify doing something because “that’s the way we have always done it,” you should run screaming. That’s because tradition must meet progress in the middle. If you deny progress – if you deny change – change will swallow you whole.

Everything your station does should balance tradition and progress. 

Tradition is only important if valued, not if it’s simply old. That’s the difference between a classic car and a junker, right?

Progress should be a constant effort that keeps things fresh, compelling, and surprising. You want listeners to look forward to listening because there’s something new to listen to.

Let’s take traffic as an example. There’s a tradition for traffic on the radio. People expect it even though they know there are far more efficient ways of solving their traffic problem than the ill-timed and over-broad traffic casts on the typical radio station.

But…in an era when traffic on the radio is less useful than ever, a little bit will go a very long way. Too many stations seem to believe that traffic on the radio is as useful today as it was in 1982. It is not. Just ask Vanna White.

So the right move is to run your traffic, but don’t run very much of it. OR…what new features or solutions can your traffic provide that will save listeners time or trouble (after all, nobody really cares about the traffic report – what they care about is saving time on their journey).

Not long ago, I was driving with my wife in one market listening to the local Christian music station during afternoon drive. The station was INCREDIBLY cluttered, and most of that clutter consisted of constant and comprehensive traffic reports. I asked my wife, “would it surprise you if I told you this station was non-commercial?” She replied, “it is?!”

So the Vanna White lesson is this: Don’t throw away what isn’t broke, but make sure you’re keeping it for the right reasons. And always ask how you can make it better, fresher, newer.

Mark Ramsey
President of Mark Ramsey Media

Mark Ramsey is president of Mark Ramsey Media, strategic research provider to many Christian music stations including K-LOVE, AIR1, KLTY/Dallas, WPOZ/Orlando, KTIS/Minneapolis, and many others. More information about his services is at Sign up for FAITHBRIGHT, his weekly email of smart and actionable ideas for Christian broadcasters here: Reach him at 858-485-6372 or

The Bottom Line For Your Station || Chris Lemke

A few years ago, I did a stint for 3-4 years as an adjunct instructor for Cornerstone University’s Intro to Media course.  I always introduced the course by suggesting what I believe are three enduring laws in broadcasting.  I’m not saying these laws are biblical, nor am I saying they are the exclusive laws by which media exists.  But I do believe today more than ever, these laws are immutable in media.

Allow me to focus on just one law in particular, that is: The bottom line is… money. Yeah, I know. The bottom line and chief duty of man is to glorify God, and yes the priority of a business is to provide a service or product with excellence. But at the end of the day or certainly by the end of the month, the bottom line still is… make money. How else can a business survive, let alone thrive if a profit isn’t made?  What would the stockholders of iHeart, Disney and Comcast say if there wasn’t a profit? Even for a non-profit radio ministry, generating positive revenue must be a priority. I don’t know of a single mortgage holder, utility provider or music licenser who accepts, “We’re doing it for Jesus’ sake” and nothing more as payment.

Moving your station’s ministry toward financial growth while trusting God to provide for your needs is not easy, As I was thinking about this, I thought of what might be considered a similar quandary from Luke 18:18-30. This passage isn’t so much about the balance of revenue growth while trusting God, but I think we can draw some donor and business development applications from the narrative.

You know the story. A wealthy young “executive” comes to Jesus asking for what he knows to be a rather pricey gift. In meeting Jesus, he gets right to the point by asking, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Wow.  Talk about your cold call!  As I think about his request, I come away wondering if he really grasped the reality of what he was asking.  I’m led to believe he probably didn’t, in part because he didn’t really understand whom he was asking.  He addresses Jesus as “good teacher”, which prompts me to think his request is centered on a simple outcome.   Had he done his research, he’d know this conversation would turn out to be more than transactional, it would be transformational.

How often it is I’ve made the same mistake when meeting donors or clients.  I’ve opened several conversations with just enough small talk (and undevoted listening) to make the ultimate sweet segue into the desired transaction and request, “Ms. Donor, would you be willing to make a gift to our station?”  The error I make when I pop the question comes in not taking time to discern why the prospect would even care to give.  I’ve failed to learn more about my prospect, why she’s in business, why she listens to the station and why she values the station.  Had I taken the time, I’d have been better enabled to make a more meaningful request of her, and on behalf of the station’s future.

Here’s a second observation: the wealthy young exec seems to know his request is a huge one.  He’s a model citizen who’s led a good life and seemingly believes he’s worthy and deserving of making such a noble request. I couldn’t agree more – if this were about him.  But that’s the thing.  The request for such an immense gift isn’t just about him.  In the big picture, this man needed to understand the true value of his request and what it would mean for others, not just himself.

I’ll never forget a specific example of my preparing for a lead gift request to our building campaign. All of the meetings prior to this request had gone well; the foundation with whom I was meeting had already made three five-figure gifts to our station in the past three years.  The foundation’s director was visiting our current facility once again.  He clearly saw the present need for our building campaign, and he knew I was about to ask for a gift ten times larger than the foundation’s previous gifts to us. As the conversation ensued, his questions moved further and further away from addressing our current need to that of our vision for the future, how a new building would benefit thousands more yet to listen.  In short, he was asking why our existence was so important to the community instead of focusing on what our needs were in replacing our present facility.  It’s almost as if Simon Sinek’s “golden circle” luminated my office.

Thankfully, his questions were answered to his and the foundation’s satisfaction.  So much so, the foundation gave even more than what was requested, more than eleven times its previous gift.  And isn’t that exactly what Jesus does when we listen more intently and ask the right questions based on a deeper understanding of who he is.  I’m reminded again as I go out and “generate more revenue” that the gift I’m requesting is not really for me, nor even WCSG.  It is for the greater good of the listening community today, and in the years to come.

Chris Lemke
Executive Director, WCSG

Chris Lemke serves in leading the mission and vision for Cornerstone University’s radio ministry of WCSG, one of the most successful Christian radio stations in the country. Both Chris and CU’s broadcast ministries have received numerous top honors from the National Religious Broadcasters, Christian Music Broadcasters and Radio & Records.

He began his career in 1980 at WCSG while enrolled as a freshman of Cornerstone University. Over the years, he served as on-air host, program director and WCSG’s general manager. Outside of Grand Rapids, Chris has taught sessions at national industry conferences, written articles for industry trade publications and presently serves on the board of directors for the Christian Music Broadcasters (CMB). He served on the Board of Directors for Grand Canyon Broadcasting from 2006-2009, and continues to provide guidance and coaching for other Christian stations around the country.

In 2019, Chris was awarded CMB’s Industry Achievement Award in 2019 and WCSG was honored as the Gospel Music Association’s Contemporary Christian Music Station of the Year. Chris was awarded CMB’s Station Manager of the Year for CMB 2009 and was a final nominee for Distinguished Broadcaster of the Year from the National Religious Broadcasters in 1999.

He and his wife, Sue were married in August 1987 and are the proud parents of six children and one grandchild. They attend Bella Vista Church in Rockford where Chris serves as an elder. He enjoys traveling, cooking, gardening and long walks.


The Toughest Job At Your Radio Station || Michael Tedesco

Let’s start the conversation by saying, “commercial sales is the toughest job at your radio station…period.”

Walk into any radio station and eventually you’ll find the Sales/Underwriting department.  They’ll be tucked away somewhere obscure, in a place called the pit.  No one wants to kick off the station tour in the pit.  They’re usually mentioned as “the department that puts the commercials on the air”. Thanks a lot.  Messy desks, paper, and computer monitors.  Not much to see here, let’s get to the studio!

Look a little closer and you’ll see some of the hardest-working, dedicated, mission-focused employees your station has.  Done right, sales builds relationships with the business community and has your listener’s best interests at heart.  And, THEY BRING IN THE MONEY.  There, I said it.

Being a salesperson is like being a pro golfer.  You have to win the daily war against your mind and avoid the hazards.  It’s lonely and negative thoughts can creep into your head. You’re open to spiritual attack and often, you get thumped.

If you lead a Sales Team, join them on the streets.  They’ll appreciate you knowing how difficult their job is.  Make sure they know you trust them and don’t micromanage.  Invest in them, train them and send them to conferences.  Don’t be afraid to lose people; operating out of fear doesn’t work.  Encourage every one of your salespeople a minimum of three times a week.  That fuels them more than money.

If you’re working in sales, “thank you”.  I know you don’t hear it enough.  Get a buddy (another salesperson) to vent to.  No judging, someone who will uplift and encourage you, who loves you for who you are and is willing to hold you accountable.  Know your station’s mission and develop your own personal mission statement.  This will fuel you to keep you going day after day.  You’re growing like-minded businesses and the ministry.  Remember, no one has an “S” on their chest.  See yourself as a superstar and you’ll be motivated to work just a bit harder.  Keep going until you can end the day with one good phone call.  Like childbirth, it helps erase all the pain that came before. You’re one of the most vital people at the station and we could not complete the mission without you.

Michael Tedesco
General Manager, WAY Media/Portland

Michael began his career in Christian Radio in 1994 at KCMS Seattle where he started in Sales (with a desk, a phone and a yellow pages) and managed to get enough clients on the air within two months to preserve his job.  Four years later, he took on Promotions and Marketing and helped raise the station cume from 112,000 to 454,000.  The next year he went to GMA to learn how to promote concerts and began promoting profitable shows for KCMS.  He also took on the website and added a live weekend on-air show to his list of duties.  The next year he launched a Community Relations Department to go about doing the things they ought to be doing as a Christian Radio Station (serving the community).

In January 2008, he accepted an offer to become Brand Manager for K-LOVE Radio.  There, he led a team of 36 Promotions Managers in 16 offices across the U.S.  They changed their focus to guerrilla marketing to increase cume and started teaming up with nonprofits to engage with listeners.

  With the assistance of Scott Smith, they launched “Make A Difference Tours” where each quarter they would go into a different market, bring artists, and team up with listeners to make their cities better places to live.  At the end of 2013 Tedesco moved to Director of Business Development where his team increased r

evenue by 372% in less than four years.

In October of 2017 he moved to New Jersey to serve as Sales Manager of Star 99.1.

In November of 2019 he

 moved to Portland to serve as General Manager of WAY Media/Portland. 


3 Components of Highly Successful Christian Radio Stations || Sam Milkman

After many years of researching Contemporary Christian music stations, I’m often asked what our findings have revealed about the key to success for stations in the format. I’ve thought long and hard about those precious nuggets that we have uncovered in research that make this format tick. What is the secret sauce? Is it understanding that the audience shares one common quality—that faith is central to their lives? Is it an appreciation for the music, its authenticity and unique styles? Or is it recognizing that talent must convey commitment, wholesomeness and yet entertain in a contemporary fashion all at the same time?

Sure, all of those elements help define a successful Christian music station. But the key to a successful Christian music radio station that stands out to me is this: despite its unique attributes and appeal, the same best practices that apply to secular stations also apply to the CCM format. More than anything, concentrating on the basics of great radio entertainment—consistent with the values of this audience—will drive the success of your radio station. There are no shortcuts or tricks of the trade that we have learned about this format that will get you there any faster.

So yes, the best practices of Contemporary Christian radio stations are generally the same as they are for other formats. Here are three components shared by successful stations:

1. Successful, consistently high-performing stations hold strong images.

Want to be a success? Be famous for something that matters to the audience, and that starts with becoming synonymous with the Christian music position in your market. Why? Because when your potential audience has the time to listen to the radio, they don’t give it a whole lot of thought. They get in the car, reach for that button. Hmm, I’d like to hear some Christian music. If they don’t think of your station in that split second, it’s not likely you’ll get a lot of listening. It works the same way for every format–Country, Rock, News, you name it. If your station isn’t well-branded and its position isn’t easily communicated, they aren’t going to think of you and therefore won’t listen. You need to get a very simple, valuable word into their heads that they associate with your station.

2. Winning radio stations find a music recipe that is appealing to a large number of listeners.

Find something valuable, and let people know they can find it on your frequency. How do we figure that out? We start by “segmenting” the music, breaking it down into discrete styles like Contemporary Christian AC or Contemporary Worship. Then we test the appeal of each style and determine which station has the image for it. Next, we model various combinations of music styles to find the most appealing, available music recipe for your station. It’s the same technique we use in every music format and it’s critical to the success of a Christian Music station. Find an appealing music formula and get famous for it.

3. Successful stations hire and coach relatable, entertaining talent capable of generating provocative content.

Personalities surely must be different in Christian Music Radio, right? Well, in our experience with superstar talent, the touchstone of success is exactly the same as in other formats. To succeed, a personality or show must make a human connection with the audience. They must master the art of entertaining content. Find out what matters to the audience. Put a unique twist on that content that matches your persona. Present it in the fashion of all great entertainment: provocative introduction, building to a climax, quick resolution. This sort of entertainment doesn’t just happen, you don’t just turn on the mic and see what comes out. It requires preparation, planning, discipline and self-editing—just like in any other format.

Through our research, have we learned that Christian Music Radio is different from other formats? Perhaps in the words the audience uses to describe the format and talent, and the attributes and content they value, certainly. But in the keys to success, the same principles apply: Build strong brands, find a valuable music recipe that you can own and develop talent that master the art of entertainment.