“Learn the rules like a pro – so you can break them – like an artist” – Pablo Picasso

In case you missed it – or not a golfer – The Rules of Golf instated major changes to their rule book this year.

Seemingly silly things like – leave the flagstick in when putting – grounding your club in a hazard without penalty – after penalty drop knee high.

The number of single decisions had bloated to over 1,200 – many times confusing the brightest golf scholars.

Golfer are traditionalists – slow to change – slow to evolve.

We media types are much like golfers – we develop ‘rules’ through the years from well-meaning mentors without revisiting in our evolved world.

Holding dear to antiquated rules that clearly need – revisiting.

A few examples (among dozens):

Rule – You need at least 70 minutes on same artist separation (most defaults on scheduling software).

Reality – We know from digital measurement that the mean time exposed session in around 11 minutes – among successful and not so successful brands. Major groups have acknowledged this – with a handful now as short as 20 minutes.

Rule – All talk radio breaks need bumper music in and out of sets.

Reality – Bumper music was designed to rejoin satellite broadcasts.  A music ‘pad’ so commercials or local talk isn’t squashed.  When local shows use bumpers, they waste valuable time to provide content or another :10 seconds to sell.

(Related) If you insist on using bumper music – use the SAME music or audio ID every break.  This creates an ‘aural signature’ for your brand.

Rule – You can’t air back-to-back female artists in a set.

Reality – Sure you can.  If the songs have different textures – why not.  Flip side – airing ‘like sounding’ male artists (or songs) back – to – back is poor scheduling.

Rule – Station ID should be the first – and last – thing the talent says during the break.

Reality –If you’re truly trying to build a relationship with the audience, the ID would come naturally in the course of the content.

(Related) Having talent say the station sell line also creates a barrier to relationship building. Comes off artificial and often ‘thrown away’.

Rule – You can gauge the impact of your topic by the number of phone calls you’re receiving.

Reality – Less than 3% of all listeners have called a radio station.  There are thousands enjoying your content without any engagement.

(Related) Eliminate ALL calls – they are often hard to hear – and read response from your social media.  YOU control the narrative, sound and momentum.

Rule – We need to sell :60 second ads as a part of the package.  The client requires it.

Reality – When was the last time you sat through a :60 spot.  On air – on TV – on line.  The industry has talked about cutting spot length for decades – cut the :60’s and counter balance with shorter – harder hitting ads.

Take this moment to review your rules – either written in a playbook or in your head – over the next few days.  Make it collaborative with your team.

This goes for anybusiness – ‘Why do we do that’?

Mostly likely the response – ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it’

Next Week: Service

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer.  His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader.  In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand.  Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position.  His efforts have been recognized by The World Wide Radio Summit Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent.  He is also a featured speaker to national groups and state associations. Kevin lives in Indiana with his wife of 33 years, Monica.  Reach Kevin at (317) 769-0583 or kevin@robinsonmedia.fm.