The Problem With Settling


(By Buzz Knight) I was recently afforded the opportunity courtesy of my friend International Consultant Phil Dowse to meet Omar Essack. Essack is the Strategy Director/Business Development for Red Tech News.

Omar is a Senior Media Executive with a tremendous track record of building a game plan to navigate disruption and Red Tech News is a business and technology publication and platform created by multicultural professionals, especially for the international radio broadcast and digital audio industries.

Omar asked me to be part of one of their special Red Tech Briefings and he asked me how I thought of radio in the 90’s and early 2000’s compared to today.

I suggested that the difference between then and now was that then we were always striving to top our most recent victory. We were on the offense competitively. There was internal competition for excellence either within a station, a cluster, or a company.

There was fierce external competition to beat our rival. Whatever aspect of a stations brand pyramid: Personalities, Promotions, Marketing, Community we were always striving to make it better.

I lamented to Omar that the business seems to more frequently be operating in a defensive posture. I described it as the equivalent of being on your heels rather than leaning forward.

Think of the boxing analogy when thinking of a fighter on their heels.

How do we do it bigger, better, louder with a more pronounced goal of cutting thru the clutter?

As I have reflected on the interview which you can watch here: I keep thinking of the problem of settling.

When companies fall into settling mode it permeates every aspect of the organization. Programming, Sales, Marketing, Digital, Business, Engineering, no department is spared.

There are times you can hear an entire market fall into settling mode which is partial explanation about the alarming trend of declining PUMM levels in markets.

Settling means not grappling with issue of commercial loads with any long-term game plan that would produce a better listening experience. Part of this thorny issue also should include the problem of commercial quality with the goal of raising the quality of creative advertiser messaging.

When you settle you don’t place a premium on talent, both current roster and future.

We see Major market scenarios frequently where a big talent is displaced and there is no bench to pull from, no long-term strategy and no listener benefit in the outcome.

When settling becomes normal behavior there isn’t innovation at a time that we need it most.

If you were starting your business from scratch, what would you want your brands to be known for?

I submit to you that your brand pillars should include:

  • Complete transparency and truth inside and outside of your organization
  • A curious approach to incubating, iterating, and innovating thereby making you more “future proof”
  • A commitment to NEVER settling but always trying to top your previous triumph

An environment for settling is a recipe for failure.


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



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