One of my favorite radio stations is WCBS 101.1 Jack FM, a hot New York radio station that boasts the slogan “Playing what we want.” This radio station covers just about all genres from the last 40 years or so, which is vastly different from the other popular radio stations in the New York metropolitan area (Z-100, which plays today’s hot songs, covering mostly the newest rap and pop; 103.5 KTU which plays dance radio; Q104.3 which plays classic rock; and 95.5 PLJ which plays mainstream alternative rock and pop).
I’m a person of unique and diverse tastes, and I like a wide variety of music. However, I’m inclined to keep my radio tuned in on Jack FM because it generally combines all four aforementioned radio stations, thereby appealing to my eclectic tastes and ultimately to a wider audience. In local stores, I often hear Jack FM being aired through the company’s stereo system for likely the same reason. Jack’s appeal is often related to an element of surprise, and I’ve heard on numerous occasions that many listeners still tune into Jack even if they don’t like the current song because the next one could be from a different decade and genre and would be much more preferred by that particular listener. Jack’s popularity has prompted for other similar stations to be established in other cities as well (and it didn’t start in New York).
Some of today’s very popular blogs that I subscribe to and read regularly are not about a single subject matter. A few come to mind. There are blog posts that I may not particularly find useful to me among this batch, but I’m not leaving anytime soon (and neither are other readers from what I have gathered from statistics and the like).
On the other hand, there are folks who specifically seek out the dance music radio stations or the classic rock radio stations. They look for blogs that are more specialized in whatever particular area that they have a vested interest, such as SEO, gadgets, movies, celebrities, cooking, anime — you name it, there’s likely a blog for it. And there are always a few that are popular in each category.
From my observations, ultimately, the most popular blogs do seem to be those that are not generally topic-centric. There are certainly topic-centric blogs that come pretty darn close to the top, but ultimately the winner does not blog about anything specific.
Then we revisit the issue of Jack and its tagline: “Playing what we want.” Obviously what they (“we”) want is what other people seem to want too. And then there’s the notion that in blogging, you should write for your audience. But is that really the case all the time?
In a sense, it is. There’s a necessity to do both — write what your audience wants to read, but make sure that whatever you end up writing also interests you. Try to see from someone else’s pair of shoes as well as from your own.
I’ve recognized that I am personally being noticed by some big named players in the blogosphere, and for that I am quite thankful. I know that I may not necessarily write everything that is necessarily received well by these bloggers, but as a blogger, one should know that s/he can’t (and won’t) be able to please everyone. Still, don’t let this discourage you from blogging. Play what you want, but keep an eye out to make sure that others want it too.