Sat. Aug 18th, 2018

Is It Really Time For a Change?

Recently I did a little fill-in work for a station in Alabama. This happened to be the morning after the national championship game. The host had gone to the game and wouldn’t be back for the show the next morning and the GM asked if I wanted to connect remotely and host the show.

Now, I’ve mentioned this before. I went to the University of Alabama. Aside from the Celtics, Bama is the one strong allegiance I still have in sports. That being said, I’m not one of those Alabama fans.

I had a guest on to talk about what happens in 2018 in Tuscaloosa. There will obviously be a quarterback controversy during the offseason. Most fans assume either championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa or embattled started Jalen Hurts will end up transferring. What I really wanted to know though is what we should expect for Nick Saban’s future.

The coach has won five titles at Alabama. Add in that he won as the head coach at LSU and that is six total! Apparently his dream job from his youth was being the head coach of the New York Giants, and it is a job we know he has campaigned for before. So now that the Giants are in the market, would Saban campaign for the job again and this time take it if offered?

My guest said that he thought Saban had set up a situation for himself at age 66 where he could ride success right into retirement and then into having his image carved into the side of Red Mountain in Birmingham. Why take on additional stress at this point?

And what would be the source of that stress? Saban is ultra-competitive. Certainly a rebuilding situation isn’t too hard for him.

As I thought about it throughout the rest of the show, it dawned on me that the source of stress that Nick Saban doesn’t want to deal with is giving up control. In Tuscaloosa he can build a team, a coaching staff and a media policy exactly how he likes. Going to New York would mean having to comply with NFL culture and work with the Giants’ new GM Dave Gettleman, a guy who my fellow North Carolinians can tell you will absolutely smother a roster in his own image. The Giants need to draft a QB this season, and I am confident Gettleman will use that second pick to draft a defensive lineman…and not even a good one. He’ll draft a guy from a G5 school with “good upside.” Saban doesn’t want to be a chef in a new kitchen if he can’t buy the groceries.

I have talked about this here at BSM before – the importance of being on the same page with management for the long-term growth of the show. I don’t know if things are getting stale in Tuscaloosa for Nick Saban, but anyone that has experienced great success at something can potentially get bored with their routine.

The best way to combat this in the radio world is constant goal setting. You’re the number one show in the market! Great! Keep working on and refining what got you there, but don’t expect what got you to that position to be what keeps you in it forever.

When Alabama got beat first by Auburn in 2013 (True story: I ended up crying on a barroom floor in front of strangers, and I WAS SOBER!) and then again in the Sugar Bowl that year by Oklahoma, Nick Saban realized he had to change things up. He couldn’t dominate the game anymore with an offense that pounded you into the ground by running 250 lb running backs off tackle every play. He brought in Lane Kiffin, who introduced a faster tempo and a little trickeration and look where it got them!

Your audience will change over time. Kids that used to never think twice about talk radio are now coming to you for entertainment. Is a 20-something in 2018 going to be entertained by the same show that 20-somethings were in 2008? Probably not.

You shouldn’t feel the need to completely overhaul the show from month to month, but take stock of what isn’t working. Be aware of what segments feel stale to you or your PD. Chances are they feel stale to the listeners too. Addressing individual boredom will keep the show as a whole from becoming mundane.

What made you and your show successful? What keeps it successful? You should know the answers to those questions. It will help you decide if you really need a new challenge or if there are opportunities to change and grow your show that you are missing.

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