So, I just spent the first two hours of my morning waiting in line for at a GameStop store. Word was, they were going to have Nintendo Wii for sale. Sure enough, there’s a line out the door when I get there.

What possesses adults to wait in line for a video game? Their kids. My daughter has been after me for awhile to get her a Wii. (OK, I’ve got to admit that I’m kind of intrigued with it as well, but let’s blame it on the kid!)

They’re hard to find. The Ann Arbor Target store got 100 in last Sunday and they were gone an hour later. Stores I called all over town said they didn’t have it and didn’t know when they were going to get it. Until I called this one particular Gamestop.

So what’s the attraction? It’s not like Wii is the only game console out there. Wii was launched in ’06, around the same time Sony’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s XBox 360, both with more powerful processors and more sophisticated graphics.

But Wii has a difference. As Forbes magazine reported it:

The feature that sets the Wii apart from both its competitors and its ancestors is the Wii remote, the device’s control pad….it’s equipped with an innovative motion sensor that detects movement and rotation in three dimensions….The Wii remote allows users to get up, move around the room and become part of the game. If you want your character on the screen to swing his sword, you wield the remote and make the thrusts and parries yourself. In a game of baseball, you hold the remote like a bat, and swing for the stands when you want your virtual player to do the same.

By giving players the ability to physically interact with a virtual world, Nintendo has significantly changed the experience of videogaming. It’s suddenly more immersive, more compelling and potentially more appealing to consumers who have never considered buying a videogame console before.

So, Sony and Microsoft gave consumers more of the same — more power, better graphics. They gave consumers MORE…Nitendo gave them something DIFFERENT. As one game developer stated it:

“The PS3 and the Xbox 360 feel like better versions of the last, but pretty much the same game with incremental improvement. But the Wii feels like a major jump.”

The result? I’m waiting in a line at 7 in the morning. I didn’t see any lines for the Xbox or Playstation there.

In radio, we have to be open to change. We have to be willing to do something different…to be more compelling and exciting. There’s not a whole lot of innovation when it comes to programming. Instead, radio’s banking on a technical fix — HD radio — which is better delivery of the same thing — MORE (much like Playstation’s higher-resolution graphics).

Consolidation thwarted creativity in radio, because owners aren’t desperate anymore. Desperation fueled innovation. Back in the day, if you owned one 1.0 share FM, you were willing to try something new and different. Now, if your 1.0 share FM is part of a cluster, you’re not going to go hungry. But radio suffers from this complacency.

Some think that what I do — research — is thwarting innovation. It could, I know, but not if it’s used the right way! Research shouldn’t dictate anything…instead, it should give you insight into how listeners think, what they like and what they don’t. The best programmers can take that information to a higher level…to create fresh, compelling programming. They should be given the chance.

In radio, we needs hot new hits, like Wii. To get there, stop thinking more and open yourself up to DIFFERENT.