The apparent success of Austin's KBPA radio station raises some interesting questions about the principle of focus.
KBPA is one of many Bob FM stations around the US and Canada. They all play a wide variety of music from the past four decades. In fact, the Austin station proclaims, "We play anything." Most radio stations focus on a particular genre of music, such as country, hip hop, or classic rock. Along comes Bob and differentiates itself by playing anything.
Is Bob's product focused?
In one sense, it's clearly not focused. It spans the standard musical categories. Until recently, conventional wisdom said that they would be doomed because they had "no format".
But branding and focus are not just about established categories in an industry. Branding and focus are about creating new categories in the mind. If the mind can conceive it and differentiate it from other categories, then it can be a category. There is no reason to stick to established categories. In fact, you're best off creating a new one.
A caveat to keep in mind: focusing on a category shouldn't be your only concern. Focusing on a well-defined psychographic segment of the market is also important.