(By Jeff McHugh) A frequent question from radio and podcast hosts that we coach is, “Have you heard any entertaining games lately?” The answer is YES!
Before boring the audience with another “be caller nine now” giveaway, consider doing one of these games that listeners can mentally play along with.
STUPID EASY TRIVIA
SETUP: Super-simple questions are easy to answer until you have to answer as many as possible in 30-seconds to win.
Todd and Jayde at WPLJ New York bring on a pair of contestants who have 30 seconds each to answer, and the one with the most correct wins. In case of a tie there are tie-breaker questions, and the winner comes back each day to win more prizes by defending their title from a new challenger.
How stupid-easy are the questions? Here are some samples:
•What color are emeralds?
•Who is married to Jessica Biel?
•What is 10+1?
•What TV show does Jimmy Fallon host?
SETUP: Have listeners challenge your show’s resident pop culture junkie on their knowledge of celebrity news trivia.
KVJ Show listeners at WRMF West Palm Beach take on Virginia Sinicki. Each player gets five questions about headlines in the news happening that day, and an “anti-Google clock” gives only three seconds to answer.
Watch a clip of the game in action here.
ADAPT THESE FROM GAME OF GAMES
SETUP: Ellen’s new show on NBC is #1 in her primetime slot, and many radio shows continue to see results with interactive games as listeners seek escapism from Washington-related stress. Consider adapting these contests from Ellen:
•You Bet Your Wife. Give two teams of partners and a category like “brands of gum,” and ask the husband/fiancé to say, “I bet my wife can give X number of answers.” Then give the other team opportunity to challenge that. The first team to earn three points wins.
•Don’t Leave Me Hanging. Obviously, you cannot suspend phone callers mid-air in harnesses! But you can create a game where contestants take turns coming up with answers that fit a given category, such as “US Banks with over 500 locations.” A category ends when one contestant gives an incorrect answer, repeats a previous answer, or takes too long to respond; that contestant gets a strike. A contestant who gets three strikes loses.
FATHER’S DAY MATCH GAME
SETUP: Ask a dad 4-6 basic questions about themselves and their likes/dislikes, then challenge one of their children to predict what dad’s answer’s were.
•Favorite kind of car
•Favorite TV show
•Last movie he saw
•Favorite vacation spot
Alternate Setup: Also works as “Mother’s Day Match Game,” and possibly with other family/significant others.
YOU LAUGH, YOU LOSE
SETUP: Have two players stand face to face and take turns telling quick jokes, the first player to laugh at the other player’s joke loses.
Bill, Connie, and RJ did this game on Facebook live and onair at Alice 96.5 Reno after RJ spotted the game on You Tube. Listeners feel tension as joke after joke brings only silence – until someone finally cracks. Big fun!
IT HAPPENED IN FLORI-DUH
SETUP: Gamify the standard “stupid news” feature by asking contestants to guess which one of three stories happened in Florida.
Woody and Wilcox give away a prize each day to a random caller who listens to three stories like these, then takes a guess at which one is from the Sunshine State.
1This state is considering a change in the law that would lower the drinking age to 19 as long as their parent is present and agree that it is OK.
2A woman was having trouble seeing on a dark airline flight so she lit a lighter. She was also drunk and had brought her own alcohol on the plane.
3A woman using self-checkout had replaced the bar code price stickers on big screen TV and laptops with clearance item price stickers.
Answer: story #3 is from Florida
SETUP: Buy this card game and play it on the air with your cohosts. Draw cards containing embarrassing and possibly rude descriptions and point out which person in the room fits the description and why. Try to not be butt hurt if someone calls your name.
Brooke and Jubal played the game with questions like these, each with some entertaining backstory:
•Who will have the most divorces in their life? – Brooke.
•Who in this room is the worst liar? – Jose
•Who is the most likely to become a serial killer? – Jubal
At the end you crown Mister or Ms. Butt Hurt by counting who gets the most cards. Watch the segment from Brooke and Jubal here.
SETUP: An interactive game you can play on-air right from the box, complete with questions and sound effects.
5-Second game has each player pick a card and start the timer. They have five seconds to name three things from that topic before the timer runs out and makes a “zoooop” sound.
The game comes with 576 questions on cards and a timer.
Alternate setup: Consider storing the game in your studio as an emergency go-to when show plans go awry, or take it to appearances to engage with audiences on location.
SETUP: Based on the TV show. Read a phrase and a listener guesses how a member of your show will fill in the missing blank.
Kevin, Virginia, and Jason play this game on WRMF West Palm Beach, using the original 1970s TV theme music. Last week, a listener had to guess how Jason will fill in the blank (…good luck with that!)
•”When Jason takes his clothes off, the first thing you notice is his BLANK.” Listener said “pizza dough body,” Jason said “gut.”
•”The first time Jason kissed a girl, he BLANK.” Listener said “froze up,” Jason said, “Tasted ketchup on her tongue.”
•”Jason would trade everything he has in this world for just one piece of BLANK.” Listener said, “pizza,” Jason said, “Bigfoot tail.”
ROCK BAND, RACE HORSE, OR PORN FILM
SETUP: Contestants get several different names that could belong to a rock band, racehorse, or be the title of a pornographic film. Rick and Len at WAPL Appleton did their “St. Patrick’s Day edition” game, which included these names:
•Whiskey Makes Me Frisky
•Irish and Foxy
•Bailey’s Irish cream
Google search some humorous names that could fit in all three categories, add some sound effects (Rick and Len use horse neighs, porn gasps, and a Beatles guitar riff) and create a fun contest.
THE DUMB-ASS QUESTION
SETUP: Rick and Len at WAPL Appleton have tricked their listeners into doing their show for them. The show gives listeners a topical, provocative sentence and the listener who fills in the blank with the funniest response wins a prize.
This week, the question was, “I would play Pokemon Go, but I already waste my spare time doing blank.” The winning answer was, “I would play Pokemon Go, but I already waste my time worrying that Donald Trump will just build a wall and keep all the Pokemon creatures out.”
BATTLE OF THE BURBS
SETUP: Pit listeners from different parts of your town against each other in an ongoing trivial battle. Keep score over months and encourage smack talk.
The most successful version that we heard is Oregon Vs. Washington at Portland’s Mike and Amy Show on The Wolf. Oregonians and Washingtonians spike PPM to hear which state will achieve IQ supremacy each day.
We’ve also heard it called Northside vs. Southside, Battle of the Hoods and Hometown Smackdown.
BIG FAT LIAR
SETUP: Three players each tell a brief story and a listener has to identify which one of the three is not true.
Works best with three players (one could be a news or traffic person). Stories such as, “I was the best man in a wedding with a couple I’d never met,” or “I am hooked on Angry Birds.”
Contestants can ask questions. For instance, if the story is, “I worked as a convenience store attendant,” they can ask:
•How many transactions per day did you make?
•What was the name of the store you worked in?
•What was the biggest-selling product you had?
This usually works best to set it up in one segment then pay it off in the following segment.
CRAIGSLIST PRICE IS RIGHT
SETUP: Find unusual items on Craigslist and see who can guess how much the items are selling for.
It is a regular feature with Woody and Wilcox at Charlotte’s 106.5 The End, where past items have included:
•A live praying mantis – $30.
•A “full-male Brazilian wax and body massage.” – $100.
•Four used Fleshlights (sex aid) $185.
SETUP: The next time you give away tickets to your local brewfest, play clips of sung beer commercial jingles with the name bleeped out and see if listeners can guess the brand.
Jeff McHugh is known for developing remarkable talent for both morning and afternoon drive. He brings an uncommon mix of positivity, creativity, and strategy to the shows that he coaches. He is a member of the team at the Randy Lane Company.