There once was a station, a most amazing station, that was #1 in their format (Rhythm) against at least one competitor at any given time. They were even #1 when their signal sucked. It was such a great station that people would buy copper wire and wire their office so they could pick it up. Kids would tape it and share the cassettes at school.
And then, the new GM decided that he couldn’t sell the (ginormous) numbers because “You can’t sell ethnic numbers in (market).”
I think I may have even asked if he’d actually gone out and met the audience. Sure, they had Black listeners but just like the Black musicians who pretty much invented Rock in the 1950’s you had all the hip White kids. And their Hispanic numbers were through the roof. Their Black and Hispanic numbers combined were about 50%, which perfectly mirrored the market make-up. But this was lost on him and I’m not sure whether this is relevant but on Facebook I saw that he’s a Birther.
They took this spectacular and vibrant station and instead of playing to their audience, they began programming to meters. Their voce guy noticed the change in the copy that he’d begun to receive from the station: quick to-the-point facts. No more show biz. It was like reading copy for a colon product. And then they missed the Super Bowl. Huh…that was odd. And then they missed Valentines. They may have done something for St. Patrick’s Day but it was so exciting that I can’t remember what it was.
So I started reaching out to a muckety muck with their company and pointing out that they sounded like paint drying. I was told that that was nonsense and “They’re doing great!”. No. No they weren’t.
After 20 years at #1 they were out of the brand in 18 months. And THAT is hard. I mean, you really need to put some effort into tanking a station like that.
A lot of great talent went through there and we were commiserating and a woman who had started out as an intern at the station and is now a great Programmer commented, “They lost the Dang Factor.”
“If you listened to them long enough, you’d find yourself going ‘Dang!’.”
That’s a cool term and she was right. Clifton had been in town, monitored them and said “They’re not remarkable.” He nailed it. There was nothing about them that made you want to come back. That made you think that if you were stupid and didn’t listen for a couple of hours, holy crap, you might MISS SOMETHING!
They’d gone from Dang to Dung.
When you lose someone, when they feel they can get away with not listening to you, it will be hard to get them back.
My wife and I watched “Ally McBeal” when we were broke and couldn’t afford to go see movies or pay for cable. It was great. It had a Dang Factor and then, it just kinda went blah.. It’s hard to describe but one Monday night we just found ourselves watching something else. We just never came back. It fell off our radar.
That’s what happens when you lose your Dang.