It’s Time To Shake Things Up


(By Buzz Knight) We recently observed the news that Sirius/XM Pandora formed a partnership with Tik Tok Radio that hopefully inspires some much-needed innovation and creativity in the radio business.

The long-term success of this venture is unknown, but it needs to motivate change at a time when we desperately need it. While I realize giving birth to new formats does not come easily there are some low risk moves that can occur to shake the cume up a bit and show an audience that radio brands are living and breathing entities. That is right living and breathing, not stagnant entities.

Here are specific examples that are certainly not earth shattering and are already being done by the Five Star Programmer of today.

1) If you are a music format make certain there is some fluidity and unpredictability to your music clocks. Too often, Programmers limit the scope of their radio station by practicing the set it and forget rule of music clock execution.

You can hear it when you monitor a station closely where certain songs pop up the same time on a station. Listeners notice this and it contributes to a sense of sameness and repetition.

Masterful Programmers put the time and effort into clocks that float and differentiate so the listener can enjoy a journey that feels a little different, every quarter hour to quarter hour. The best testing music gets high exposure, and the listening experience is tremendously improved.

2) Benchmark content is a tremendous advantage to personality brands and to music brands but have you considering exposing the content to different segments of your cume by moving an existing benchmark?

This can be tantamount to treason to some programmers, but this is a strategy worth considering (hats off to Steve Goldstein for this one from his days leading Saga). The real elephant in the room here is including innovation actions as a regular part of the DNA of your brand.

Going back to the Tik Tok Radio announcement by Sirius/XM, there desperately needs to be steps taken to bring new ideas to the marketplace. I had hoped there was some ideas percolating in the Zoom meetings of the pandemic that would surface post pandemic.

If I missed some new offerings, please call them out but I have not noticed anything. I have suggested in previous articles that HD2 side channels could be a breeding ground for new format experimentation or new personality development.

Why not consider executing a contest with a local learning institution that taps Gen Z for new format ideas? Almost a mini hackathon of sorts that awards the winning team the chance to program the HD2 channel and bring it to market. Could be both a great recruiting tool and a great PR move to get innovation in the pipeline.

We need the willingness to try some different things to permeate organizations and “shake it up”.

Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


  1. Wow, such negative reaction. Guess after 32 years got out in 2010 just in time.. Seems everyone is so unhappy.

  2. In the c-Suites at Audacy & iHeart, et al, they’re focused on 1 thing – cashing out with as much $$$ as possible; innovation is priority #868. We love that. Keep up the great work.

    Best regards,

    Apple Music
    Amazon Music
    YouTube Music

  3. Oh, now it’s time to shake things up?! LOL!
    Every PD who just read this said “Yea, I’ll get to it Monday; first I have to voice-track my afternoon show, find a way to get the voice-guy to produce a last minute client-sponsor weekend promo, find something to blame on the morning show so I can look like a guy who puts out fires, kiss a label’s ass so I can get my wife’s sister free Jason Aldean tickets, make sure the GM knows that I’m “his guy”, tell a shitty part-timer that they’re the future of radio (and then spring the 4th of July schedule on them), and finally go home and drink beer… until Sunday, when I’ll start worrying about losing my job and so I tell myself to just keep making decisions our of fear so that I don’t have to move to the next city and pretend to be a fan of all of their local sports teams.”

    The same people are delivering the same results. Clean house or get cleaned out! It’s not time to shake things up, that was 2000 when “radio” was making fun of Napster and “The Internet”… two decades later those founders are leveraging platforms worth more than the entire radio industry. Radio got shaken up and is hollowed out with the leftover PD’s and lazy morning shows who announce songs and tell people to visit their website. You can’t change a culture, you have to put an entire new one in place.


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