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 How quaint and out-of-date.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?