Saturday, July 04, 2009

Being The 9th Caller Is Fun ... For the Disk Jockey

... and, perhaps one of a few thousand listeners.

Eight other people "lose" because they learn on the way to #9 that they were 'the wrong caller" and everyone else "wins" a busy signal.

This is entertainment??

Do you do contests because listeners like them? Or, just because radio has "always" done them?

When doing contests, it would be nice to hope that there'd be a way to be sure that they were entertaining to listen to and also drive listening occasions for all listeners, and not just those very unique "phone pigs" who participate.

But, how often do they?

Only a very small percentage of your audience will participate in a contest so you want to make sure you are offering entertainment value to keep those who are not playing the game entertained.

Granted, the success of television game shows proves, I guess, that a certain type of person likes to "play along" even if she is not willing to be a contestant.

Even if that is true, the "caller 9" approach does nothing for those who are listening and not participating.

Neither does "go to (store) and register so you can qualify.."

Historically, the best radio contests reinforce the station's brand image or key unique selling positioning points.

Mid-90's KWJJ, Portland, PD Robin Mitchell used "we always tell the title and artist of every song we play" as a key point of differentiation.
So, rather than "call in and win to the 10th caller," the station did a produced piece before a song that said: "Win (prize) right now. Be the 10th caller at (phone number) and tab this tune."

During the song, the air personality asked the 10th caller to name the title and artist of the tune, recorded that info from the listener and asked the "winner" to backsell the song and almost as an after-thought awarded the prize.

This contest takes no more time than having the jock do the backsell, but it at the very least adds the extra ingredient of listener involvement to an important format basic, calling even more attention to your station's positioning tactics.

That was 15 years ago. Yet, it was much more relevant and contemporary than the typical radio contest on many stations today.

Caller #9? How quaint and out-of-date.

Great programmers innovate.

The majority, of course, just does what everyone else has always done.

That's called mediocre.

Which do you aspire to be known as?


Tony Florentino said...

No more calls, we have a winner! Jaye, you are right on point with this post... I've been espousing that for years. Very well said!

Mark Vanness said...

For years...I insisted no number ed caller...just announce the contest, turn off the mic and take the first call. I can't see any advantage to telling people they are losers! Then the playback should as intersting and entertaining as possible...I would tell my jox if it isn't I don't want to hear it...rather set another appointment for the next opportunity! If they are listening and are quick with the fingers reward them, take them out of the contest loop for 30 days and move on! I do like the idea you mentioned and will be stealing it, thank you!

Mark Vanness

PGO said...

Agreed fully!

Being a MD/APD and a jock, I always wondered why "caller 10 wins" while the others don't.

Some stations make a point of penalizing the wrong callers..and playing that on air.