Monday, February 22, 2010


I lost my job at KUPL in Portland on August 18th. Within a few weeks I was working for Jaye Albright part time while looking for my next full time gig. After four months I landed a new job as the Senior Director of Country Programming and Program Director at the Hot Country format at Dial Global based in Denver. The four months I spent as a “regular listener” changed my programming philosophy forever. In those four months I was given a great gift…to be able to listen to the radio as a real listener, not as a PD. I was able to “listen to the radio, not monitor the radio.” In that time I learned some things that I’d like to share:

Pandora is cool and it defiantly a big competitor to listening. I signed up for a Pandora account right after I was laid off and I love it. The downside, it’s not nearly as mobile as my Ipod (it will be soon), they play commercials and I missed the companionship and information of a personality.

It takes a long time for listeners to get familiar with new music. By the time I started to know and like a new song, it was being moved to a recurrent and I heard it less on the radio.

I listen to a lot of different stations. It would take PPM to tell me who I was a P1 to.

When I didn’t have to “monitor” my station or the market for my job, I listened to the radio less. It was on in the car every time I drove (but not working full time I was driving less). I listened in the bathroom and if I was working in the garage. No longer was I listening to the alarm clock or in the kitchen.

Most of the time I had no idea what stations were talking about since I wasn’t listening as much as they thought I was. There was a lot of “inside stuff” or no real explanation of contesting or bits. I felt like an outsider at a dinner party who was the only one who didn’t know anybody. You need to find a way to explain things all the time.

I don’t care about position statements. I only care about what’s on the radio. I’m smart enough to know what the format is by the song people are playing. I think most people are. Positioning statements can be just added clutter.

I only knew a few stations in Denver (KBPI, KYGO, The Wolf) so when I wanted to populate my pre-sets, I used the scan button until it landed on a song I like and I set the station. I bet that’s how most people find new stations when they move to a new city.

I finally became a real listener and can see how people really use the radio and what drives them to keep listening. It’s tough to do, but challenge yourself to listen like a listener, not like a radio person.


  1. Working out side sales a lot of time in the Car! I noticed how many stations were talking about themselves. No local mentions....I found myself listening to sports talk more and more why, because at least they were talking about local sports teams, and entertaining. Music radio doesn't do that's not in the format....Also stations were seguing music
    had no idea who I was listening too!
    Rex MCNeill Former Radio show Host

  2. All good points. I'm not a fan of the "self serving, lets talk about our selves radio."