Radio Lessons From The Real World – #27 Thermodynamics

You really should have listened in science class.

German scientist Rudolf Clausius developed the theory behind the Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1850 and perfected it before it was published four years later. His work studied the relationship between two bodies and how heat transfers between them. For the ultra nerdy – the following became known as the Clausius Statement; “Heat can never pass from a colder to a warmer body without some other change, connected therewith, occurring at the same time”.

For the layperson, basically the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that if you put a cold object (like a can of Coke) next to a hot object (a pizza perhaps), not only will the can of Coke warm up somewhat, but the pizza will also cool down somewhat – and vice versa. The change in temperature is not consistent with only one of the bodies – both are affected. As you can imagine, this new theory had profound implications on science at the time and it has profound implications on your brand today.

All brands enter into partnerships. From radio stations promoting big live events to a morning show simply inviting a guest on for an interview or bit. The key, according to Clausius, is to not let your hot brand be cooled by ill alignment. Sadly this is the basic business model of commercial radio; running commercials for local businesses we would never consider noteworthy had they not parted with advertising dollars but the audience expects that. They know we run spots in blocks and that we do so to pay the power bill – they forgive our brand for that (unless we play too many and test their patience). Where the law comes into play is in all other areas of your brand, your station or your show where the listener’s expectation is for pure entertainment.

Make sure your morning show guests are bringing value to the show and not the other way around. Ensure your promotional giveaways make the station sound better and not the product sound better. And when you put your logo on something, make sure it really deserves your stamp of approval.

No one likes room temperature pizza.

About Ronnie Stanton

Aussie kid living in Canada. His office job is VP – National Brands and Programming for Corus Entertainment .  Ronnie also consults radio stations and coaches morning shows all over the world. He can be reached

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