What My Dog Taught Me About Programming

Let me introduce JoJo, our Tibetan Terrier, who brings a unique perspective to radio programming. She’s been ‘coaching’ her master since she was a puppy, offering insights only a dog could provide.

While it may seem unlikely initially, lessons can be learned from observing a dog that can be applied to programming your station.  Here are a few ways your JoJo’s behaviors might translate into insights for radio programming:


  1. Consistency is Key: Just like dogs thrive on routine, radio listeners often tune in expecting consistency. Maintaining a regular rhythm can keep your audience engaged, whether it is consistent programming schedules, familiar segments, or reliable hosts. Your music playlists help build listener loyalty and expectations.


  1. Understand your audience: Just as you need to understand a dog’s behavior and preferences to train or care for them effectively, understanding your radio audience is crucial. Dogs have different preferences and personalities, and so do radio audiences. Know your target audience, their demographics, interests, and what they respond to best. Tailoring your programming to suit their preferences will increase engagement and help you build a loyal listener base.


  1. Engage the Senses: Dogs respond well to stimuli that engage their senses, and radio programming can do the same. Incorporating music, sound, interviews, and storytelling can captivate listeners and keep them tuned in.


  1. Communication: Dogs communicate in various ways, and understanding their cues is essential for effective interaction. Similarly, in radio programming, clear communication is crucial.  Whether through the DJ’s voice, the music selection, or promotional content, effectively conveying your message ensures listener comprehension and engagement.

  1. Be Authentic: Dogs have an uncanny ability to sense authenticity, and radio listeners are no different. Being genuine, relatable, and transparent in your programming can help foster a deeper connection with your audience.


  1. Engagement and Interaction: Dogs thrive on engagement and interaction with their owners. Similarly, radio listeners appreciate engagement and interaction with the station. Encourage feedback.  Just like how you might adjust your training methods based on your dog’s response, radio programmers should be open to feedback from their audience. Utilize platforms such as research surveys, social media, listener call-ins, contests, and listener requests to foster a sense of community and involvement.  Actively seeking and responding to feedback can help you refine your programming strategy.


  1. Adaptability: Dogs are adaptable creatures capable of adjusting to different environments and situations. Similarly, in the ever-evolving landscape of radio programming, being adaptable and willing to adapt to changing trends, listener feedback, and industry developments is essential for long-term success.


  1. Loyalty and Trust: Dogs are known for their loyalty and trust in their owners. Similarly, building loyalty and trust with your radio audience is vital.  Deliver on promises, maintain transparency, and consistently provide high-quality content to foster trust and loyalty among listeners.


While your dog might not be directly involved in programming your station, it has likely programmed you! Observing their behavior can offer valuable insights into engaging and retaining listeners. By observing these traits in dogs and applying them to radio programming, you can improve listener satisfaction and, ultimately, the success of your radio station.  JoJo is available for Zoom programming meetings.

Pic designed by www.freepik.com.


John Lund is President of the Lund Media Group, a radio programming, broadcast consulting, and research firm with specialists in all mainstream radio formats. 
Phone: 650-692-7777.  Email: John@lundradio.com.

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