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Tracy Johnson
Baseball, The Three Run Home Run and Your Radio Station
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As an avid baseball fan, I take every opportunity to connect my favorite sport with to radio. There are more connections than you might think. But what does baseball, the three run home run and your radio station have in common? A lot.

A three run home run changes the game. It turns a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 lead. Or advances a team from trailing 5-3 into winning 6-5. A three-run bomb transforms a tight, 1-1 pitching duel into a secure 4-1 lead. A three-run home run energizes the crowd and changes fortunes.

Former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver was asked the key to his legendary success. He became famous for his response,

Baseball is all about good pitching and the three run homer.

What’s Your Three-Run Home Run?

Radio stations often become masters of the mundane. We obsess over details that are important, but not transformational. Programmers make sure the music is on target, format clocks adjusted and music beds air just right. Personalities take care to hit the benchmarks, punch the promo at the proper time and compile pages of topics for the show.

But as important as they might be, those details don’t change the game. They’re not three-run homers.

Radio’s three-run home runs happen when personalities create emotional moments on the air. It happens when they recognize opportunities and go deeper into content. We can analyze, examine and critique all of the fun out of the radio station.

A three-run homer can be an over-the-top promotion that you become known for. At Star 100.7 in San Diego, we built Becky’s House, a transitional shelter for victims of domestic abuse. It started with a phone call from a woman (Becky). By going deeper, we hit a three-run homer that became a defining part of our brand’s community roots.

It can be a show’s signature feature. At Magic 92.5/San Diego, Jagger & Kristi have built a mini-brand around War of the Roses and Thousand Dollar Minute. Both features are three-run homers for the show.

Maybe your three-run home run happens each morning, by developing a segment into a Didja Hear moment that is memorable and shareable.

In baseball, three-run homers can overcome dozens of mistakes. Walks and errors are quickly forgotten when that slugger steps up and changes the game. It’s the sam for radio. That’s one reason you often listen to a legendary radio show and wonder “What’s so special?” You missed the three-run homer!

Sometimes It’s The Small Things

But a three-run homer doesn’t happen without many little things that make it possible. There have to be baserunners or the home run won’t deliver three runs. The pitchers have to prevent the other team from building a big lead, or the home run won’t matter.

Radio stations need balance. Doing the little things well are important. It’s the foundation for the brand. Often, we get so hung up on a big idea that we don’t recognize the small but meaningful moments that can endear personalities to fans.

We spend hours seeking the next big thing and never find it.

What could you do to put runners on base so your three run homer matters? Here’s a very short list of things you could do every day to build an audience:

  1. Return every phone call and email.
  2. Send a handwritten card to five people.
  3. Publish new content to your website or social media.
  4. Record a podcast on a specific topic.
  5. Contribute to a blog, forum or Facebook fan page that interests you.
  6. Call ten people in your station database to thank them for listening.
  7. Send congratulations note to three people in the community who did something special,
  8. Call every listeners celebrating a birthday (you should have the info in your station database) to wish them a happy day.
  9. Contact another personality to trade ideas and network.

Do enough of the small things, and you’ll have a better chance of having runners on base for your big moments.


Your competition isn’t doing these things. They don’t see the value. They’re only looking for one big idea that is worth pursuing.

Hall of Fame baseball manager Earl Weaver made a career out of playing for the three run homer, but Earl also had a great pitching staff and solid defense. Set aside time each day for both, and remember that it’s the everyday small things punctuated by an occasional home!

Sometimes it’s the small things. Sometimes it’s the three-run homer.


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