It seemed like a never-ending battle with the audience. Our morning show was the legendary Jeff & Jer, who were pretty good at what they did as evidenced by their induction into the Radio Hall of Fame. But barely a day passed without a complaint. It drove us crazy.

Until we revised the station’s audience persona. This exercise was a catalyst that allowed us to transform a radio brand.

I’ll tell you the story, but if you expect the happy ending to be that complaints stop, you’ll be disappointed. The complaints never stopped. However, it did change the way I responded to complaints. And it helped me understand our audience much more intimately.

On Star 100.7/San Diego, our station’s values were to be a bright, fun, positive choice for adult women to escape from the real world. We did it with a sense of humor, larger-than-life personalities, high profile promotions and an overall station personality of goodness. It translated into tremendous success.

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Jeff & Jer were the morning show, the engine that pulled the train. Our philosophy was to be Disneyland on the radio dial: a happy place where there are no problems, no worries and nothing bad ever happens. There are no bad days at Disneyland, and moms don’t have to worry about children being exposed to something that would embarrass the parents.

That didn’t mean we were prudes, but at it’s edgiest, the station was PG-13. We were sensitive to the role we played in listeners lives. We were far safer than most radio stations in the market, and more family-friendly than popular prime time television sitcoms like Friends or Seinfeld.

But listeners still complain.

Overcoming a Listener Complaint

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