Good book or bad book? Celebrate or Commiserate? by Paul Kaye



Paul Kaye

By Paul Kaye

PSR Contributor

Tuesday January 3rd, 2017


Good book or bad book?  Celebrate or Commiserate?

I’ve never become comfortable around ratings releases. After nearly two decades I thought I would have acclimatized just a little, but no. I start feeling anxious days ahead of the release. I often don’t sleep well – if at all – in the days leading up to ratings. An uncomfortable mix of excitement and trepidation consumes me. The pressure builds inside me as if I’m a bottle of pop that has been vigorously shaken up. When the data has eventually downloaded it is like someone has finally twisted open the lid, and the pressure is released. Whatever the result happens to be is almost a blessing compared to the anticipation of what the result could be.

What I have learned is that your attitude and how you approach the result is crucial. In the moments surrounding a result you can easily become distracted by your success or deflated by your defeat. Not knowing how to effectively manage these powerful emotions can ultimately define whether you win or lose next time.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.” It’s a compelling statement when you reflect on what it truly means. Winning one ratings book doesn’t mean the game is over. In fact, by the time you receive the results you’re already playing in the next round. Failure doesn’t mean it’s the end and you can’t go on to fight another day. Failure is just a sign that you need to be patient or a signal to do something different. Failure means you have to dig deeper and work harder. Ultimately, both success and failure can – and often will – be fleeting.

Don Shula, legendary NFL Coach who led the Miami Dolphins to two Super Bowl victories and to the only perfect season in NFL history, had a 24-hour rule. He only allowed the players and coaches a maximum of 24 hours after a game to celebrate or commiserate. During those 24 hours he encouraged everyone to really embrace the emotions. He wanted them to experience the enjoyment of winning, to be proud of what they had accomplished. Equally, after a defeat, he wanted them to feel the disappointment and agony that surrounded the setback. He wanted them to experience the frustration and negativity of their lackluster performance. But, as soon as those 24 hours were over, they put all those feelings – the good or the bad – behind them and moved on to the next game.

Shula’s insight is persuasive. It encourages the team to celebrate their wins. To high five and congratulate one another. Truly experiencing a win makes a team want to do it again. It’s important that you make each win feel special to the team. Stop for a day and celebrate together. Equally, when defeats come along you need to embrace the disappointment. It is all too easy to dismiss the loss. To blame the system; “it’s the sample size” “the ratings methodology is outdated” etc. This type of reaction serves nothing more than to negate the reality. Instead, accept and embrace how you feel about the defeat. Commiserate together. Reflect on what didn’t go as planned, what you have learned and what you need to do next. It’s human nature for us to want to move away from bad situations, seek improvements and find the high. In order to do that, we first need to experience the lows when they come along.

The key element to Shula’s approach is the time limit. It’s just 24-hours! If you celebrate the success for too long, you’ll start to believe your own hype. You’ll be caught still high fiving as your competitors are mounting their charge to take you down. Equally, dwelling on the negativity of losing can make the idea of moving forward seem insurmountable. Spending too much time believing you can’t means you won’t. Use emotions to drive you forward. Channel your energies into the next battle. Lingering in the high of winning or the low of losing can distort your perspective. After 24 hours, focus on the next battle. The past is the past. Now it’s time to define your future.

Remember… “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.”


About Paul Kaye

Originally from England, Paul spent nearly a decade programming radio stations in the UK before moving to Canada in 2012.  While working for Newcap Radio, Paul programmed Classic Hits, Hot-AC and CHR formats in Vancouver & Calgary. Paul was also Newcap’s National Talent Development Director, tasked with improving performance across all content teams, overseeing syndication and leading talent acquisition. In 2016, he joined Rogers Media, as National Talent Coach and National Format Director (CHR).  Paul was somehow named International PD of the year in 2016 (vote re-count pending) and is a certified coach.  Paul lives in Toronto and can be reached at ka*******@ma**.com

Other Puget Sound Radio articles by Paul Kaye HERE

Paul’s LinkedIn



  1. I don’t know if Paul is willing to even consider the following. However….

    Nobody is going to complain or challenge the significance of the ratings after a terrific book. Sooner, rather than later, someone in management is going to bring a halt to any serious consideration of the numbers by uttering the well-known adage, “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”. And everything stops.

    Meanwhile, after an unsatisfactory book, everybody concerned gets hyper critical – and understandably so. Assumptions are quickly made that, more or less, “Everything is broke and everything has got to be fixed. Not that any of that can be brought about.”

    Even if that were accurate, the REAL challenges become: How, specifically can we identify problem issues? What, specifically can we do? How, specifically do we implement the changes? And perhaps most importantly: Do we have access to the resources – both in terms of money and Talent – to be successful in the exercise.

    My general contention, while offering respect to Paul – a Programmer with whom I do not enjoy a relationship – is that almost all programmers cannot determine ANY significant elements ,beyond swapping-out talent, that could be applied in meaningful and influential ways to make a drastic turnaround possible.

    I won’t have to be informed how the budgets to even make attempts are unavailable. Apparently all the good stuff must be conjured up Merlin-style.

    These, I posit, are discussions that radio has yet to undertake.


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