Do and Don’t Recommendations for New Stations
Here are some “Do and Don’t” recommendations to consider, when starting out as a new station (adapt as you see fit):
- DO NOT make filling out your program schedule a priority.
- DO use automation and syndicated programs to fill out the schedule at first, to give yourself the space and control to carefully develop local programming at your own pace, and to give people time to understand the station’s goals before proposing programs.
- DO expose your programmers to good nationally syndicated programs, if there has been limited or no exposure to community radio in your area, so they can become familiar with this “new” sound.
- DO NOT assume that people will be listening to your station all day long, thus requiring you to plan something new for each hour.
- DO try to create some kind of signature programming with local voices if you can – even if it is only a few minutes’ worth – and use it strategically.
- DO repeat signature programming throughout the day and the week; most listeners listen in short spurts or once a day and your signature programs will be reaching more people this way, across the time spectrum.
- DO make it a priority to establish a production team with the authority that results from being positive and effective, and ask people to get involved at the station by joining that team. The production team mentality builds a safe, holistic, platform for receiving and encouraging people with creative ideas and energy. It encourages programmers to make the station accessible to newcomers by offering help, training, and mentoring.
- DO NOT promise someone a short-term show, thinking you can remove them when you find someone better.
- DO NOT feel you “need” anyone to do a radio show.
- DO NOT promise anyone a show before you know them and before you feel confident that they have accepted the authority of the team and are a good fit for the station. Remember, they will be representing the team.
- DO clarify ground rules and legal parameters on paper and only allow programmers on the air AFTER they have demonstrated understanding of these and have committed to them on paper.
- DO spell out on paper the relationship between the station and individual programmers: balance between individual/self-expression/talent with a service ethic towards the station/ community.
- DO remember that every community is unique; you never know how good programs are going to happen. With a stable team platform, people will teach you how to work with them.
- DO acknowledge and praise talent. Do praise good individual programming work.
- DO confront misbehavior so the good workers feel safe to stay (they are watching).
- DO model community radio culture on and off the air: sincere, respectful, and open-minded communication and collaboration. Leadership’s behavior is almost always mimicked throughout an organization.
- DO NOT react to strange people … just learn to live with strangeness and annoyance that is non-destructive (after all, you asked them to express themselves).
- DO plan for slow, natural growth in programming and for people getting to know each other over time.
- DO remember that growth is usually more subtle, slower than you expect or want, but happens anyway. Appreciate incremental progress; it pays off.
This information is provided by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters
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