Baseball, the Three Run Home Run and Your Radio Station
by Tracy Johnson
As an avid baseball fan, I take every opportunity to connect my favorite sport with radio. There are more connections than you might think. But what does baseball, the three run home run and your radio station have in common? A lot. Seriously. And not just because I’m looking for the connections.
Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles was one of baseball’s great characters. He was once asked the key to his legendary success. He became famous for this response,
Sometimes it’s the small things. But mostly, baseball is all about good pitching and the three run homer.
A three run home run changes everything. It can overcome a lot of errors. The three run home run turns a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 lead. It transforms a team that’s trailing 5-3 into winning 6-5. And it can be the difference between a tight, 1-1 pitching duel and a secure 4-1 lead.
A three run home run energizes the crowd, activates fans and changes fortunes.
What’s Your Three Run Home Run?
Radio needs more 3-run homers. We need to recruit and activate avid, passionate and loyal fan bases to love what we do. But we can’t just hope for the home run to happen. We have to work on it to give them a reason to cheer for us.
But too often, radio stations become masters of the mundane. We obsess over details that may be useful, but not transformational. We need more three run home runs.
Don’t get me wrong. Details are important. Programmers make sure the music is on target, format clocks adjusted and music beds are just right. Those are important fundamentals, to be sure.
Personalities take care to play those informational promos at the proper time and compile pages of topics for the show. All of these are good things, too.
But as important as they might be, those details don’t change the outcome of the game. They’re not three run homers.
Home runs happen when we create emotional moments on the air. And those emotional moments are connected directly to radio personalities who know how to relate to listeners in today’s world.
Examples of Three Run Home Runs
A three-run homer can be an over-the-top promotion that you become known for. It’s changing lives one person at a time the way WCIC/Peoria did with their Been Tipped Over campaign. The station activated their audience to make an impact with waitresses across their listening area.
It’s The Bert Show taking kids to Disney World each year as part of Bert’s Big Adventure. That changes lives. It’s Jeff and Jer taking a phone call and turning it into a multi-year connection with the community through Becky’s House, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
Or it could be simply finding your One Thing feature and executing it with precision and passion day after day to turn it into a must-listen moment.
Maybe your home run happens each day when developing a segment into a significant moment that is memorable and shareable. Or branding one segment each day that sticks with a listener and inspires them to talk about your your station and your show. It’s being passionate to not rest until you prepared a segment to have the potential of being a can’t miss moment every day.
When that happens, the three run homer resonates far beyond your station reach. It extends into your community and the world.
In baseball, three run home runs overcome mistakes. Walks and errors are quickly forgotten when a slugger steps up and changes the game. It’s the same for radio.
Sometimes It’s The Small Things
But the little things should not be ignored. Remember, Earl Weaver’s quote came in two parts. The other half is that, “Sometimes it’s the small things.” A three-run homer doesn’t happen with nobody on base. And pitchers have to prevent the other team from building a big lead, or the home run won’t matter.
Radio stations need balance. Doing the little things well are important, too. It puts your team in position to win the game. You can’t get so caught up in the big idea that you ignore the details.
What can your station do to put runners on base so your home run matters?
Here’s a very short list of things you could do every day to build an audience and put points on the scoreboard:
- Return every phone call and email.
- Send a handwritten card to five people in your database each day. If you have 10 people doing this, you reach 50 people per day. That’s 250 per week. And that reaches 13,000 individuals per year. That’s powerful.
- Publish new content to your website and social media sites every day. And not just one piece, but updated content for each time slot. Celebrate your great moments by sharing them with your audience.
- Send congratulations note to three people in the community who did something special. This puts down roots with influencers.
- Call every listener celebrating a birthday (you should have the info in your station database) to wish them a happy day.
Do enough of the small things, and you’ll have a better chance of having runners on base for your big moments.
Baseball is a wonderful thing. It’s even better when you can apply baseball principles to reach your communities with your message.
Execute the small things, and train your team to hit the three run homer.
Set aside time each day for both.
Sometimes it’s the small things. Sometimes it’s the three-run homer.
Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.