We work with a lot of companies and radio shows. Many share the common belief that to improve a show one must constantly be adding something new. Over time, stations become jam-packed full of stuff. It’s human nature to feel that the more you offer, the greater chance everyone will find something to like. But that’s not how it works. And it’s not how Gordon Ramsay would do it.
You’re familiar with Gordon Ramsay, right? He’s the celebrity chef that built an empire on television. Ramsay is direct, honest, and confrontational. He’s brought in to work with owners of struggling restaurants. And he has an amazing track record.
How Gordon Ramsay Would Improve Your Radio Show
When Ramsay works with restaurants, his first recommendation is almost always the same. There’s a common theme.
Menus at failing restaurants offer too many dishes. The owners think offering more variety (more stuff) will broaden the restaurant’s appeal. But it doesn’t. It makes for crappy food and inventory headaches. The chef can’t specialize. The staff is stretched thin, and the restaurant doesn’t stand out for anything.
Most restaurants don’t start that way. The clutter accumulates over time. They add a side dish here and a new entree there. Soon enough, they’ve lost their focus and brand identity.
The restaurant is no longer known for something special.
That’s why Ramsay’s first step is to trim the menu, usually from thirty-plus dishes to around ten. By specializing in fewer things, they’re able to excel with better focus.
Your Radio Show
We tend to do the same thing when working with radio shows. Most are doing too many things. Some of those things are good, but few are great. The station doesn’t have time to develop, promote or brand that many things. And the audience doesn’t recognize the show for anything specific.
We call our approach Zero-Based Programming. Here’s how to do it:
- Imagine the show is brand new. Nothing exists. You’re starting from scratch.
- What would you put on to make an impact on the audience?
- Now evaluate every detail on the show. Does it move the needle? Will it help achieve the goal?
- Every element is either kept because it’s truly great or taken off because it’s not.
- Program the great content more often and promote it aggressively.
Almost instantly, the show is easier to listen to, stands out more, and attracts more attention. The team has more time to specialize in fewer things. And listeners respond.
Founder/ CEO, Tracy Johnson Media Group
Recognized as one of America’s most innovative radio programmers and managers, Tracy Johnson’s broad background in traditional and digital media has influenced hundreds of radio stations, programmers and personalities.
Johnson’s radio programming success began in Lincoln, Nebraska and included stops in Kansas City and Jacksonville, Florida, eventually leading him to San Diego in 1992. There, Johnson led KKLQ (Q106) from 19th to 1st. The “worst to first” achievement was soon duplicated when he directed KFMB-FM from 22nd to 1st.
Applying his strategic expertise and creative promotion and marketing tactics, the stations earned dozens of industry achievement awards, including named Radio Ink Magazine’s “Best Programmer in America”. In 1998, Johnson became Market Manager of KFMB AM and FM.
In all, Johnson has programmed and consulted over 200 radio stations in more than 15 countries.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to apply this experience and knowledge full time, Johnson became EVP of Audience Engagement for Triton Media, advising over 700 media companies (radio, television, newspaper) to create synergy in their traditional and digital offerings to create new sources of audience engagement and revenue.
As founder and CEO of the Tracy Johnson Media Group, Johnson offers programming, marketing, promotion, talent coaching and digital consulting services.