Four Questions On The 4th


The title of today’s post sounds like one of those long weekends many of you programmed for your audiences to enjoy during these hot summer days.  But believe me, this is no stunt.  It’s real life.

It’s a weird week, right?  With July 4th falling mid-week, it’s a crap shoot as to which days people have off/take off.  Maybe that’s apropos of the confusing times in which we live.  Since the pandemic, some of us aren’t always sure what days we come into work, and which ones we stay home.  In some ways, this confusion in our routines has helped to destabilize the radio broadcasting industry as we knew it.

I think of Independence Day as “halftime.”  The second half of 2024 is upon us, there’s a lot on our plates, and we’ve got some pressing business to attend to.  Somehow, the first half of the year might not have been exactly what we were expecting,  Sadly, I expect we’re getting accustomed to that.  Things are not always what they appear to be.  More and more, they seldom are.

Somehow, as America celebrates its 248th birthday tomorrow, it’s looking every bit as old and tired as the years indicate.  Maybe that’s because a lot of very fundamental questions are somehow outstanding, no matter which side of the aisle you’re on.

In fact, that’s a theme.  For many Americans, this is getting old in every sense of the word.

You’d think by now, we would have figured this stuff out.  But a big part of the challenge is that whatever tribe, group, camp, issue, community, or cause you’ve chosen, there are likely as many of you who are diametrically opposed to whatever it is you believe in or stand for.

Our forefathers, foremothers, patriots, and military fought hard for this democracy.  And now we’re stuck with it.

And so, four questions on this July 4th weekend:

Who are we?  What do we stand for?  What do we value?  Where are we going? 

I didn’t say it would be easy.  That’s a lot to ponder this week, this weekend, and whenever you get a spare moment.  Amidst the fireworks, family, friends, burgers, baseball, and barbeques, there’s a lot going on in our world and in our heads.

There’s something to be said for turning off Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN this weekend, as well as taking a little Facebook, X, and TikTok vacation during these hot, humid days of early July.  It might be easier to answer those questions without the steady barrage of voices, noise, posts, and tweets.

That’s right, the elusive work : life balance.  And there’s no better time for the “life” part to eke out a victory for a change.  This is the ideal weekend to give that other side of your brain a break.

Or maybe you just want to ponder those same questions about your radio station or the company you work for, because no matter whether you’re in San Francisco, South Bend, or Savannah, if you can’t provide that level of clarity about your personal mission – what you do and why you do it – you’ve got a much harder task at hand.

Who are we?  What do we stand for?  What do we value?  Where are we going? 


As someone who has consulted and engaged in research and strategy sessions for hundreds of stations and many companies over the last four decades, broadcasters typically end up in one of two camps.

You either know your mission, your position, and your audience – or you don’t.

And radio stations and the companies that own them are a whole lot easier to program, manage, market, navigate, and even pivot when you’re confident about where you stand, who you serve, and where you’re going.

ChatGPT can’t answer those questions for you.  There’s no app for that.  And there aren’t “life hacks” or “pro tips” to lean on.  You have to figure them out for yourself.

These are the times when clarity and common sense matter, so I hope you’re successful at achieving both as we return to work on Monday to start the second half of 2024, facing an election that will be 120 short days away.  It will go quick.  And it will take forever.

I wish you a wonderful 4th and whatever time off you can negotiate with your employer.  Enjoy the “halftime show,” and we’ll be ready to take on the challenges, dragons, and holy wars on the other side of this weekend.

This I can promise you – I’ll be back on Monday with a fresh post.

That’ll give me time to review the answer to those four questions over the 4th:

Who are we ? What do we stand for?  What do we value?  Where are we going? 

No one said it was going to be easy.

Originally published by Jacobs Media

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