Do You Get Enough Complaints? Probably Not. Here’s How To Fix It

Do You Get Enough Complaints? Probably Not. Here’s How To Fix It

by Tracy Johnson

This article’s title is weird. Nobody wants complaints. It’s a pain. But in personality radio, complaints are important. And most radio shows don’t get enough complaints.

Let me explain.

You Don’t Get Enough Complaints

Imagine the most popular brands in the world. Everyone would love a public profile of Apple. Or Starbucks. Or the New York Yankees. These brands have massive followings and great interest in everything they do.

But popularity cuts both ways.

From great interest comes great passion. From great passion comes a large fan base. And a larger fan base produces some negative feedback.

Because you can’t have a strong following without detractors.

Apple is one of the most valuable brands in the world. And they a large anti-Apple community. As soon as a new I-Device comes out, the interweb will be filled with people complaining about Apple for any number of things.

The New York Yankees are one of the world’s most recognized and popular sports franchises. They are also the world’s most hated team.

Howard Stern has one of the largest radio audiences in history. He gets more time spent listening from those who say they hate him than those who say they love him. He gets enough complaints to make any general manager want to leave the industry!

Meanwhile, many stations cruise through weeks, months, and even years without a single complaint. That’s not a good sign. Those stations are likely stuck in the Zone of Mediocrity.

Good Complaints vs. Bad Complaints

On the other hand, going out of your way to cause listeners to complain isn’t the objective, either. Not all complaints are created equal.

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Keep a finger on the pulse of the target audience, and by all means, monitor feedback. Never ignore complaints. Each listener that takes the time to comment deserves a response. But learn to tell a good complaint from a bad one.

Good complaints happen when personalities perform at the extremes of their character.  Start with a clearly defined 5-star personality brand. This will define the boundaries of good taste for each air personality.

If the reason for the complaint is consistent with the profile, it’s a good complaint.

However, if the content violates the brand values as defined in the profile, it’s a bad complaint and should be addressed.

This inspires confidence and makes it much easier to perform.

Note: Never try to argue with complainers. It doesn’t work. Here are some best practices for dealing with complaints. 

The Prolific Zone

Think of air talent’s ability to attract a fan base on a scale called The Prolific Index.

The most interesting personalities cause fans to love and relate to them. That love is never inspired by ordinary talent.

Nor is at the extreme edges of the Prolific Index.

The Prolific Index was created by Russel Brunson, founder of

He makes the point that in order to attract an audience, they must be fascinated with the personality. And only prolific personalities command fascination.

But that doesn’t mean you should go off to the extreme edge of reason. The “crazy zone” is too polarizing, and the audience isn’t large enough to matter.

The goal is to position stay out of the mainstream middle and live in the Prolific Zone.

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The most successful talent shares perspective, quirks, and opinions while enhancing likable traits and qualities.

That’s what it takes to attract a large audience…and with it comes complaints.


Don’t try to drive people away in order to generate complaints in hopes of earning fans. That doesn’t make sense.

But don’t try to avoid complaints. A positive reaction is not the absence of negative comments.

How is the feedback trending on your show? Chances are, there aren’t enough complaints.


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