Surprise (and Delight?)

A ‘better practices’ marketing strategy buzz-phrase is to “surprise and delight” your customers. This can be done with superior customer service and/or exciting products. You get the idea. Any business can use the philosophy, no real course needed as long as someone in a leadership position understands the basic concept.

“A consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time”

Wait, did I say that SOMEBODY has to Get It? Yeah, therein lies the rub. Who among us doesn’t have numerous examples of BAD customer service and/or have become bored or complacent about the products or services that their go-to businesses offer? Sadly these businesses do not have a Get-It employee. So they hire a consultant/expert.

Many businesses wrongly believe that paying a large sum to an out-of-town expert is the golden ticket to the success your home team can’t accomplish on their own. (Actually, it’s often just a lack of leadership on the local level.) Furthermore–once that deal has been done, paid for and solutions offered–good luck convincing the company they wasted money on the so-called expert. It goes like this, “Hey, we paid this guy 10 grand, we sure as hell are going to do what he said.”

I have known and worked with some brilliant leaders in my career. (Three best bosses I ever had: Paul Palmer, Erica Farber, Steve Wexler.) And there were just a few complete dolts. Do you ever wonder how some of these people even get the gig? “She interviews well” “He’s sleeping with the the CEO” “He was willing to work cheap” “She/he must have some real dirt on the boss/company.” We will never know how the incompetent find their way into the cracks. They usually drive away the strong talent (mostly because these losers are always paranoid they’ll be found out and replaced with the smarter ones.) But I digress…

The format for B100.FM is based on that Surprise philosophy. But all surprises are not necessarily “delights.” This required taking lots of risks by playing lesser or unknown songs blended with the “real” (charted) hits. We could have a typical radio station playlist of a couple of hundred titles, played several times every day. It works. People like what they know. Familiarity breeds success. So playing mid-chart stiffs just because they sound good is something radio does not do. Oh, and even I will admit that what B100.FM is doing would not beat most established, conservatively programmed, highly researched and tested formats. But there really are NO surprises on those stations are there.

For me, it is no surprise, but it is a total delight to bring you Bobby’s B100.FM. I get to decide what to play, what to say, what to keep, what to change, when to do it and everything else. With no fees, no subscriptions and no commercials I make no money from this project. Just like any expensive hobby, it costs money–but brings me such marvelous joy, it’s surreal. The only thing better would be having more people find out about it and give it a try. What I do not have is millions to market it. Suggestions welcome,

Thanks for listening, Bobby “Dr. Boogie” Rich

13 responses to Surprise (and Delight?)

  1. John Bacon says:

    During the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, the only local radio station still broadcasting was one of the low power ones (LPFM). It provided helpful information on where to go, what was happening, and the community turned to it for guidance and direction. The commercial “community” stations, because they were tied to one broadcast location, with one set of transmitters and broadcast antenna, were off the air.

    It is just one example of the problems that allowing so many stations to be owned by so few people. I would love to see a push for returning to the ownership limits that were in play before 1980.

    Not surprisingly, I get my joy of broadcasting from these alternative sources, podcasts (like RadioLab), and searching the internet for alternative stuff. I enjoy Al Neff’s Into The Music series, and via Facebook I have discovered GOAT radio and of course B100.

    What Bill Vancil says above applies in so many ways. I hold him and you and a lot of other “good guys” responsible for my love of radio. I was lucky to be of the right age, and in the right place to enjoy one of the most creative radio stations of its time.

  2. John Bacon says:

    A suggestion for one of you Beatles Vinyl Friday weekends. Play one of the sides from what I consider to be one of the best Beatles Albums that wasn’t really a Beatles Album. It was released over three years AFTER they broke up. No matter which side you choose (they are both great), go out with the end song “You and Me (babe)”

    Maybe you could also find a way to show off some of the really cool drawings by Klaus Voormann that were included as part of the packaging.

    • drb00gie says:

      Thank you, John, you are in an inner circle of B100.FM listeners. You are referring to “Let It Be” the Phil Spector produced Beatles LP, correct? I am missing that in my collection but I need to have it.

  3. David Manzi says:

    This is so spot on I don’t know where to begin. I’ve seen all-of-the-above–especially the “we paid this person who knows nothing about us so now we have to follow his advice because he must be an expert–after all, he TOLD us so–over and over.

    I have been surprised and delighted NUMEROUS times listening to B100.FM!

    The only thing I question if you’re really right on is that the format offered on B100.FM wouldn’t hold its own against “highly researched and tested formats.” I say there’s something to be said about having a true radio genius, who’s open to other opinions, but who also programs by gut. Good radio WILL be found by listeners looking for it. I think you’d have to put B100.FM on a major signal side-by-side with those “safely” formatted stations and show me the numbers before I’d believe B100 can’t compete with the “major players.”

    I was in Vons yesterday and heard “I Love You and That’s All I Know” by Art Garfunkel. I heard “Lonely Nights” by the Captain and Tennille in Trader Joe’s recently. And I heard “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles in Walmart a few days ago. I also hear songs like these regularly in movies and TV ads. You know where I don’t hear them? On the radio. What does Vons, Walmart, Trader Joe’s and the people marketing to the masses know that radio station owners seem to have forgotten? The answer may surprise and delight the genius behind B100.FM.

    • drb00gie says:

      Thanks for your extremely educated observations, David. I find myself thinking just that on a daily basis. And, yes, there was a time that it worked. Sadly, there are next to no owner/operators of stations that have a great signal, sufficient marketing budget and logical-thinking management that exist anymore.

      And I’m not one who thinks there’s no chance or that all the fun is gone from radio. Those opportunities have been drowned by a greedy/corporate mindset and lack of vision or leadership. I dislike using these words because I am a positive and optimistic person and life-long believer in RADIO. I am not giving up–and from your words–it’s obvious that neither are you. We just need someone with a LOT of money to believe there are still possibilities (not going backward, but forward in a logical manner) to compete.

  4. Bill Vancil says:

    You are correct at so many levels. I’ve always believed a good radio programmer has the ability to feel what will please the listener. A programmer such as Dr. Boogie has the intuitive ability to out think the research-based, computerized, playlist building machine.

    • drb00gie says:

      Thank you, Bill. You too came from a time when it was more SHOW and less BUSINESS. No wonder you had the long and successful career that took you from DJ to Program Director to General Manager to running an entire group of stations. I am honored to be your friend.

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