Interrogate The Product

By David Kidd, BPR

People and companies who commit themselves to the search for knowledge with the most determination tend to be the least complacent and most successful.

From radio’s perspective, the search is a continuous one to fully understand listeners’ evolving tastes, to ensure that your station is doing the best job of catering to those tastes and to be cognisant of threats, not only in the form of competitor stations but also the rapidly changing audio segment.

“Questions” are one of the most valuable weapons in your programming armoury. Without asking the correct questions, you won’t get any answers…you won’t get crucial insights….in other words you’re programming a station blindfolded.

UK advertising executive Robin Wight is famous for defining the principle of “product interrogation”……. “interrogate the product until it confesses to its strengths”.

In the world of programming, you could amend the quote to include “and weaknesses”.

Now interrogating a competitor’s radio station is easy. You get the results of a strategic market study, look at what the listeners want and see how competitors are perceived in delivering on the programming priorities. But when it comes to interrogating your own station, sometimes it’s a lot more difficult. Human beings can be defensive, they can be subjective rather than objective when they are personally involved in the creation of the product. They can be biased, they can create their own “subjective reality”.

Let’s revisit my take on Robin Wight’s quote: “interrogate the product until it confesses to its strengths and weaknesses”.

You won’t get the confession you’re after unless you are completely objective – ask the right questions during the interrogation process (I’ve seen some absolute shockers that have rendered the responses useless-but more on that in another article) and be prepared for whatever the listeners throw back at you.

Their perception is your reality!



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