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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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Don Beno

Let's be honest...all restaurant's have "good food." (or at least most of them) In order to be successful in the restaurant business one must go beyond the basic "good food" premise. And while a few restaurants can perhaps sell "cheap" or "inexpensive" food, the real winners serve up a concept built around the food. Red Lobster gets decent dollars for a plate of shrimp sauted in butter & garlic. Olive Garden commands $12 for a plate of noodles and sauce that one can make at home for about a buck. And people stand in line and wait, for the priviledge to be served at these establishments. And that's where understanding the patron comes into play.

Let's look at radio. We all play "good music," but what do we do beyond that? I guess radio stations can start playing the quantity game, but they will never beat commercial-free XM, Sirius or the Ipod.

Some success stories in music radio over the years include Delilah who goes beyond just playing sappy love songs...she includes sappy phone calls that reach out and touch the audience. How about Casey Kasem's American Top 40. Sure it's a countdown show of the top hits...but Kasem researched the songs, the artists and the writers who brought those songs to the recording studio and wrote a "story" about some of the songs he was playing on that program. Something you could not get elsewhere on the radio dial.

Radio should take a cue from the restaurant business. And no, it's not about the McDonaldization of radio. It's about being successful in a highly competitive business.

There is a reason some restaurants charge $1 for a hamburger and elsewhere you can get that same burger for $7.95, and people stand in line to pay that. There's a reason that restaurants serve Heineken's in a bottle and not a glass. And there's a reason Lobster is listed on the menu at "market price." A successful radio programmer knows why, and realizes to win the "patron" or in our case the "listener" he/she has to go beyond just serving up "good music."

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