Wow. The new year has begun and my nerves have been frazzled and stressed since the holidays. Not the best way to begin a new year, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
If you’re a faithful listener to WSMC, you’ve probably noticed some changes in our programming since January 1. Did you know WSMC has been in a state of short-term and long-term planning since the summer of 2009? It started with a survey we sent to our members asking them about their favorite programs and listening habits of 90.5. We’ve been analyzing our mission, dreaming big dreams, and coming up with numerous strategies for improvement. We’ve also been working closely with an incredibly talented woman from DEI who is a public radio consultant for stations all across the nation. She has been a great resource, advisor and help in instituting some of these new changes.
We had broadcast all throughout December that program changes were going to begin in January. Since people appear not to like change, I anticipated at least a few angry phone calls and emails. I was surprised that nearly a whole month went by without hearing from a single soul! Then I received a flustered call a day or so before the New Year and the theme of the conversation was this, “Well, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it!”
Now that’s a very interesting saying. My question is: which party gets the final say in determining whether something is broken or not? I think about my crummy car radio. It plays most of the time, but seems to have a mind of its own. It will turn off at will, change volume at random, and be nearly impossible to turn on/off at times. But hey, it works most of the time; I got used to it. It’s fine. It mostly works. That’s exactly what the staff, board, and consultant thought of our programming. It’s fine. It mostly works. In all honesty, it could be better.
I have since had my car radio fixed and the improvement is superb. I can turn it off when I want. I can even change the volume at my discretion. It’s quite amazing really (but here is where you think, this is what your radio should have been like all along). The lesson I’ve been learning recently is that change doesn’t always have to be bad! Change should also be dynamic and not static. The moment my radio started acting up I should have worked to fix it. The moment WSMC notices that a change needs to occur in its programming that needs to be looked at right away.
I know the analogy is far from perfect, but it’s the first thing that came to mind. Since then, I’ve only received a few calls asking where a favorite program has moved to. I have found our listeners to be quite polite in their inquiries, which is refreshing. Sometimes it feels like we only get a call or email when someone wants to complain and not to commend…But I know that isn’t entirely true. Many members write notes of encouragement and praise when they send in their contributions. Other listeners call in with praise over a gorgeous piece of music they heard, but I suppose in my mind, it takes 2 positive comments for me to forget 1 negative comment received.
Do you notice anything positive in WSMC’s new program lineup? I know I have received several positive comments from our staff. Timothy mentioned how he enjoys the new Classical Guitar program (if you haven’t heard it yet, it comes on Sundays at 7pm). Jason, who loves Fred Child, is happy to have Performance Today extended into Sunday. One of our producers thinks it’s really nice to have a symphony during the day during our Symphony at Noon. I personally like the Surprise at 9 (which, to be exact is actually the surprise at 9:01). For the next few weeks at 9:01 we’re playing music off one of our LP albums called the “Fabulous Forties.” It’s not classical, but it’s truly classic. I hope you enjoy it too!
Focusing on the positive side of change,