top of page
  • Writer's pictureNicholas Buggs

213 - Lee Abrams - How to Succeed with Great Programming

In this episode, we have a conversation with the Co-Founder of XM Radio and Media Innovator and Legend, Lee Abrams. We discuss why he created the Album-Oriented Rock format for radio, the concept of making people into fans, not users, his latest innovation 'News Movies,' his forthcoming book 'Solutions for a Creatively Starved Planet,' his forthcoming documentary, 'Sonic Messengers,' the meaning of "AFDI," and so much more.


About Lee Abrams

Lee Abrams, with decades in the trenches reinventing radio, tv news, and print. Passionate about the past but focused on reimagining the future. Consultant to over 1,000 radio stations, 12 major print publications, and numerous tv stations and cable networks, several consumer products, and the designer of XM satellite radio programming.

In the early 21st Century, Abrams was The Tribune Company’s Chief Innovation Officer responsible for helping re-invent the scores of TV stations, cable channels, and newspapers that are owned by Tribune, as well as to help create a new and modern innovation-focused culture. While at Tribune, Abrams re-structured and energized the creative departments for the TV and TV Newsgroup, led and oversaw the redesigning and restructuring of newspapers including The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, and The Orlando Sentinel, helping to return them to profitability during a period of crisis in print.

For 10 years before joining Tribune, Abrams was XM Satellite Radio’s, Chief Programming Officer. Abrams joined XM as their first employee in June 1998 to create satellite radio. Designing the programming, hiring, overseeing, and training a large staff with the mandate to re-invent the sound of radio. With 150 stations to develop and program, once again challenged Abrams to reinvigorate the radio landscape. Lee Abrams has been shaping the American radio and media industry for over five decades. During the past 50+ years, he has brought unparalleled ratings and economic success to radio stations in over 400 markets, including 97 of the top 100. Newsweek listed Abrams as one of America’s “100 Cultural Elite” for his contributions to creating the modern radio. Radio Ink listed Abrams as one of the 75 most important radio figures of all time, having designed many if not most of the dominant radio formats.




About the MAKE IT Podcast

The MAKE IT podcast is a platform for the voice of independent filmmaker. We offer a variety of educational, aspirational, and entertaining content that promotes the success of creatives across the filmmaking community and the film industry.

Our Filmmaker Conversations with filmmaking professionals are dedicated to sharing the advice, knowledge, and insights of experienced filmmakers while exploring what it truly means to be an independent creative in the highly competitive world of filmmaking. Each filmmaker conversation is backed by thoughtful research that allows us to uncover the raw, authentic truths behind each filmmaker's journey.

Through our Indie Talks, we share our thoughts and perspectives on navigating independent film from the perspective of Advisory and Executive Producers. We discuss topics that are relevant to filmmakers across a wide spectrum of filmmaking perspectives, and we do our best to uncover hidden truths and new developments in the film industry. Our goal is to help filmmakers avoid the pitfalls and obstacles on the business side of film so that their filmmaking creativity can thrive.

Our Industry Insights provide bite-sized actionable advice that filmmaking professionals and creatives of all kinds can use to keep their heads up as they continue their filmmaking journeys. With advice sourced from the filmmaking community, we build upon the wisdom of our filmmaking guests to provide our audience with truly aspirational and inspirational content.

The Mistakes in the Making series gives our filmmaking friends an opportunity to speak directly to our filmmaking audience to share a specific lesson they've learned through a mistake they've made. We are firm believers that mistakes can be the gateway to success when we open our hearts and minds to learning from them, sharing them, and using them to Be Better.

The Film Investment series is a conversational series of 52 episodes geared towards the would-be film investor. Each episode, facilitated via a friendly conversation between hosts and friends Christopher Barkley and Jason McConnell, highlights a unique aspect of the film investment process. In addition to being a great resource for film investors, it serves as a reference for filmmakers regarding the many considerations that must be made when seeking film investment.


Show your support with a monthly contribution to our growing platform for independent creatives.

For less than a cup of coffee, you'll help build a platform to amplify the voice of the indie filmmaking community.

In return for your support, you'll get that warm, fuzzy feeling of being a fan and we'll shout out your latest project on an episode of the podcast.

At our top True Fans tier, you'll get that warm, fuzzy feeling of being a fan, a shout out on the podcast, and a free one-hour consult call for your next project.

bottom of page