Celebrate the Imperfections

A somewhat famous performer once said:

“All of you, and all of me, all your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections”

And he was spot on. Obviously he wasn’t talking about radio stations or radio shows, but he might as well have been.

It goes without saying that any radio brand requires a robust, and clearly thought out, strategic position, and that must be executed beautifully and consistently.

However it is not uncommon to mistake ‘perfection’ for ‘great execution’ and in doing so we can suck the imperfections and rough edges out of what the listener hears.

The great radio stations, and the great radio shows, are imperfect – they have a looseness to them, sometimes they don’t make sense on the first listen, sometimes they’re an acquired taste – they are imperfect, they are real, and listeners respond and relate to that realness.

I’m not for a second saying anyone should accept sloppy or half-arsed prep, or lazy execution; but rather that we should resist the temptation to suck the ‘curves and edges’ out of a show or station in an attempt for theoretical ‘perfection’.

It is the imperfections, the curves, and the edges, that humanise a radio station or a radio show – irrespective of format.

That John Legend has clearly got the chops to be a cracking radio programmer. Someone should snap him up.

Dan Bradley is a director of international radio consultancy Kaizen Media, and of Connected Management, a boutique talent management company.

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