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Radio, Do You Understand Your Assets?

It’s an open question whether Elon Musk did with Twitter, but you don’t have to make the same mistake

I laughed out loud when I read an article headlined “Welcome to Hell, Elon — You Break It, You Buy It” written by Nilay Patel on The Verge website. 

“Twitter is a disaster clown car company that is successful despite itself,” Patel wrote, explaining that Twitter’s most valuable asset is neither its operation nor its relatively simple technology but a thing that grows only by running amok with reputation-destroying compromises. 

“The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities and other people who should know better but keep posting anyway. You! You, Elon Musk, are addicted to Twitter. You’re the asset. You just bought yourself for $44 billion.”

A tweet by Elon Musk as seen on a phone in Poland in April. (Credit: Photo illustration Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

What are our assets?

Hooray for radio, whose assets are tangible and sane! 

But we have to identify our assets to maintain and improve them. Not everyone will agree with this list, which is fine, as long as it encourages you to think long-term about identifying what you need to concentrate on to build success. 

Asset Number One: Local Personalities. Age-old debate! Must personalities live in your city to be “local”? 

I believe strongly that they do. Voice-tracking from some faraway destination ultimately sounds generic and it’s nearly impossible for those voices to sound meaningfully involved with local community activities and events. Appearances and remotes are too infrequent or even absent. 

Sure, that voice-tracker from another town may sound more professional, especially in small or medium markets; but authenticity and local interaction are far more important. 

Once you have invested in a personality, make sure they’re happy and your relationship solid. Seismic change in a key morning show can tank an entire station. Often new program directors will judge a morning show as literally over-rated, not realizing the importance of longevity in the marketplace.

Asset Number Two: Local Advertisers. With programmatic buys dominating, who’s paying attention to the local retailer? Local media remains relationship-based, whether directly or through your client’s agency. 

This requires multiple touch points each month — contact that went poof during the pandemic. Untenable in the long run, if you find your salespeople still zooming it in, it’s time to cut that cord. I’m a huge fan of client parties for top advertisers and special one-on-one get-togethers. 

[Read More Columns by Mark Lapidus]

Asset Number Three: Your Brand. The identity of your station has meaning for your listeners. If it doesn’t, you’ll see that reflected in your ratings and research. Devise ways to highlight key attributes. 

Asset Number Four: Infrastructure and Engineering. No one appreciates an engineer more than the person who calls them when disaster strikes. That backup tower or transmitter seems miraculous when you’re suddenly back on-air. In all candor, the engineering staff is typically the most educated/trained member of any radio staff and yet rarely get the deserved props. We all have stories about demeaning comments made or ridiculous expectations regarding salary or hours. Now more than ever, it’s past time for market managers to treat engineers with respect and acknowledge that they are a vital part of a station’s success.

Don’t get stuck in a manic clown car! Identify your assets and give them the understanding and attention they need to succeed.

Name your assets — email your thoughts to [email protected] and we’ll share them with the author.