Real Content: The SiriusXM Nirvana Town Hall Special

Posted on September 26, 2011


This weekend SiriusXM turned it’s 90’s alternative channel, already known as “Lithium,” into “Nevermind Radio” in honor of the 20th anniversary of the release of the seminal Nirvana album.

At first I thought this was a great idea; good programming.

But the more I listened the more frustrated I became with the constant onslaught of Nirvana songs and the even more annoying barrage of production telling me about how many Nirvana songs I was going to hear.

Then, just as I began considering poking pencils into my ears to make it stop, a two-hour “Nirvana Town Hall” special came on.

It featured John Stewart from the Daily Show moderating a discussion with the band’s surviving members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic along with Butch Vig who produced “Nevermind.”

It was great!

They talked about everything from Grohl joining the band (did you know he was Nirvana’s fifth drummer?) to being called sell-outs to what it was like the day they found out Kurt had killed himself.

And that is the difference between programming and content.

Calling the station “Nevermind Radio” is good programming but the town hall special is real content and that’s what you need to win today.

I realize that not everyone has access to the former members of Nirvana and the host of The Daily Show but there are plenty of ways to get beyond programming and add real content to your show no matter where you are.

Staying with the Nirvana example you could:

  • Talk with local promoters who booked Nirvana to play in the market.
  • Play excerpts from any of the numerous Nirvana interviews that are available.
  • Interview a music critic about what the impact of the album
  • Do a phoner with the author of a Nirvana biography.
  • Talk to listeners about how they first encountered the album and what it meant to them.

As a host it’s up to you to make sure your show delivers real content for the listeners. It’s the difference between being another DJ and being a real talent.

Of course if you are having a tough time generating good content or integrating it into your show, I know a good mechanic who would be happy to help.