Try, Try Again. So the saying goes. And there is a lot to be said for perseverance. Most successful people will tell you that they were not overnight successes.
But trying harder is no guarantee of success. As a wise man once said: “Brilliant execution of a flawed strategy will get you nowhere.” (Oh wait…I said that!)
I’m thinking about this because of the Chicago White Sox — you know, the new champs of baseball.. I know what I’m talking about, because I’ve “suffered” as a Sox fan for four decades. And I know that this year’s Sox represented a significant change in strategy…
The White Sox of recent years relied on power, with sluggers like Frank Thomas, Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Jose Valentin and Paul Konerko. Those Sox weren’t aggressive on the base paths… they sat back and waited for home runs. And through those years, the Sox were second to the less-talented but fundamentally-sound Minnesota Twins.
But (as a wise man once said)” “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” So for ’05, the Sox decided to change their approach. They dropped Valentin (a defensive nightmare), lost Ordonez to free agency and traded Carlos Lee to Milwaukee for Scott Podsednik — a player with little power, but a speed demon on the base paths.
“We wanted to make a strong effort this off season to improve our pitching and defense,” White Sox general manager Ken Williams said. “Our goal was to field a team that is more speed-oriented and offers a more consistent run-scoring attack. Scott is exactly that type of offensive player.”
With aggressive base running, timely hitting and solid defense, the Sox dominated their division, holding first place from beginning to end and finishing 16 games ahead of the Twins. They swept through the playoffs, losing only one game and are now champs for the first time in 88 years.
What did this have to do with radio? More than you might think. Because all too often, stations soldier on with their strategies despite a lack of success. They make small changes…moving spot sets, changing their positioning lines, juggling air talent, etc. But if they don’t make a fundamental change — like abandoning a losing format approach — listeners won’t even notice.
Brilliant execution of a flawed strategy will get you nowhere. Your station may have the best-possible execution of Hot A/C (for example), but if Hot A/C isn’t an winning strategy in your market, it won’t matter. Changing your frequency identification from “103” to “103-3” (or whatever) is not going to change your fortunes. Just like the White Sox, you need to try something different.
Or, as another wise man once said: “You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”