It took 1 hour and 4 minutes before the penny dropped for me.
I had just asked my last question to Hamish Blake on this week’s new episode of Game Changers and was wrapping up the interview into a neat little bow when it finally dawned on me.
The reason that Hamish and Andy have been so successful on radio became clear to me in one simple exchange.
It started with me thanking Hamish for all of the amazing memories and experiences that those of us working on the show will carry with us for the rest of our careers.
And then he said this.
“It’s my mantra in life and the only thing that I truly do live by and something I talk about with my friends alot. If you’re ever worried about a decision, that’s your decision. Is it going to be a good memory? Are we going to love looking back at the physical photo or mental photo of this?”
Apart from this being a profound statement on how to live your life, one other thing occurred to me.
In Australia, radio ratings is a memory game, praise the Lord! (Ask anyone working in American radio about the impact that PPM has had on the creative mindset of programmers, it’s been a nightmare.)
PPM has done to American radio what Donald Trump is attempting to do to American politics.
Back home, the monthly ratings are essentially a measurement of what listeners remembered listening to.
Yes, in a world where brands can access very specific and scientific data on almost every aspect of their consumers’ lives, the best we can do as an industry right now is measure perceived listening.
It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the PPM alternative.
Now, have you ever seen someone carrying a GFK diary with them and recording every moment when they changed radio stations? Nup, the majority of those people contributing to your next survey result will get to the end of the week, make a mad scramble to find their GFK diary which is sitting at the bottom of the kitchen drawer and then try to remember who they listened to.
Therefore the shows that dominate this landscape are the ones that create the best memories.
And that’s what Hamish and Andy have been doing for the better part of 10 years, from the Caravan of Courage, to the Tall Ship, to the gravy chip and most recently the incredible finale on their Cruise ship adventure.
Hamish and Andy have been creating memories for their audience, memories that most of them will then share with their friends and workmates.
It’s been said before that when it comes to being successful on the radio, you’re either going to be famous for what you say, or famous for what you do.
Which show are you going to be?
There are plenty of well cast, talented, funny shows in this country, but the handful of really great shows are constantly searching for moments that the audience will remember.
So the solution is really simple. and it starts with you asking this question at the start of every week.
“Is what we have planned going to create a good memory for the audience?”
That’s your decision.