Lessons from the NBA

Radio managers, producers and talent show up and, for the most part, grind through each day. The stories change, but our process tends to remain the same. Too often things at a radio station are done or said without thinking of how it impacts the fans or clients, without considering the carefully crafted brand, and without a conscious awareness of the core values and unique attributes of the company, station or show. The very people who are responsible for embracing these concepts and working each day to reflect these defining characteristics often times don’t know what they are. It’s time to stop thinking of radio as a playground and become more strategic with what you do and why you do it.

A year ago, the NBA released its core values and unique attributes. They are as follows:


Regardless of age, sex, and race – fans agree that these four things are what attract them to the NBA.

  • Passion
  • Intensity of Competition
  • Power of Teamwork
  • Respect for History & Tradition


These are the qualities that make the NBA so special and differentiate it from other pro sports

  • Exhilarating – from the pace of the game to the in-arena experience
  • Progressive – the innovations, social responsibility of the players, teams and league, and willingness to evolve
  • Inclusive – NBA fans and players are from all cultures and walks of life and the NBA celebrates culture
  • Charismatic – the NBA has the most recognizable and magnetic personalities in all of sports

All of these values and attributes apply to a radio station too. Whether on the air, preparing for a live remote, throwing a party or in a pitch to a client, you should bring passion, compete with intensity, use teamwork to maximize effectiveness, and have respect for traditions and history. You should be exhilarating, progressive, inclusive and charismatic in your presentation and approach. Doing these things reflects a general fan perspective of your product and will allow you to engage more fully with our customers and clients.

 However, I would recommend you and your team (whether managers or show units) create your own core values and unique attributes. Doing this exercise gets everyone on your team on the same page; it focuses your daily efforts and gives you a way to judge your content (ie.  Is what you’re planning to do or say in congress with your core values and unique attributes?)

What are the four things that attract fans and / or clients to your station or show? Are you doing enough of these things? You do what you do to attract listeners and clients, so why not give them more of what they want?

What are the unique qualities that make your station or show so special and different from other stations or shows? How can you better capitalize on these points of differentiation?

If you haven’t thought about these things, you cannot know your product or brand well enough to maximize results.

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