Paige Nienaber’s Midweek Idea Dump: Turkey Talk and TSO


(By Paige Nienaber, obviously) On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2009, I was at Entercom in Denver. The Marketing Director, who was preparing to hit the road before rush hour, dropped me off at the Denver Airport. 

I had three hours before my flight and the usually busy airport was in kind of a lull before the storm. I grabbed a beer, pulled out a book, and found a seat at an empty gate. At about 3p, a trickle of people started down the concourse. At 4p, this increased into a pretty steady flow. At 5p the dam burst and a flood of people came rushing through headed for flights. It reminded me of the final scene from Force Ten From Navarone.

Thanksgiving had begun. 

Sometimes we are too Calendar Literal. Summer begins on June 20th but in Minnesota, it begins in early-mid May. So you need to acknowledge this giant migration of humanity.

Have updates about airport parking. What stores still have turkeys? Do Turkey Finder and have per-pound pricing for area stores. Don’t forget that Thanksgiving Eve is one of the busiest club nights of the year.

There’s no doubt that members of the airstaff will be in transit. Cool. Have them post their experiences to social media. Back when there were Airphones on planes, I heard Jo Jo Wright call in during drive time on Wednesday from a flight taking him home to Texas for the holiday. Some of the Carolinians on the flight joined him in a chorus of “Over the rivers and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we fly.” He was In The Moment. It was amazing.

And now, on to the Dump.

Turkey Tag

“Tag” as a methodology is one of the best ratings contests that I know. To win, you have to listen twice, i.e.: to win you need to know the name of the person who won before you. And then the designated caller at the next appt. time needs to know your name, etc., etc. ad nauseam.

One of the stations just got 25 turkeys…so they’re going to do a week’s worth of tag. The first winner just needs to know their own name.


I’ve seen their ticket sales and contesting begin to pop up on station sites and social media.

These are GREAT tickets. The kinds of tickets you could actually have fun with. You could do it with a season secret sound. You could do it with two callers and breaking a turkey wishbone to designate the winner. You could do it with a gallery of ugly Christmas sweaters. You could do “Hi/Low TSO” and have people guess what seat and section the tickets are in. So…


One of the stations has TSO tickets and a syndicated morning show, so they’re probably going to be stuck with Text-To-Win. Everything between Thanksgiving and December 25th really needs to be examined to see if you can spin some sense of the holiday out of it. If you’re going to do texts, one could play off the Twitter trends of which there are at least three versions of “fail” every day. Text a Failed Elf Name to 86609 and win Jingle Bash Ball Fest Palooza tickets. “This hour’s #FEN is ‘Weird Doug From IT’.”

TSO Or TSA?   

Name something and the caller has to ID its connection: “Inner-calf pat down”? TSA. “Cello”? TSO.

Elementary Christmas Pageant Idol 

Have parents upload videos of their kids’ past pageants for a shot at tickets. And what parent wouldn’t do that?

Trans Nebraska Orchestra

Done by Q-107.5 in Memphis where they found a Kwik Trip somewhere on I-80 in Nebraska and would call and play Name That Tune with the employee. If they knew the song, the caller got TSO tickets.

“Failure To Lunch”

Yes; food deliveries are very different based on where you are, but… they work (the “damn it” is implied). One of the stations had a pizza place that wanted to do free product but with a hook. The hook is going to be people emailing in mid-afternoon, lightheaded and starving because they got dragged into an HR meeting, they were stuck in the elevator, or any of the myriad of reasons why people miss lunch. And the station and client will dash over and rescue their afternoon.

Brew Ha Ha

There was a TV show in the late 70s called “Make Me Laugh” where comedians would have 60 seconds to make a contestant sitting in a chair, crack a smile. Letterman was actually on it.

KOZE is doing it as Brew Ha Ha. Call in and make the DJ laugh and get a $25 gift card to a brewery and qualify for a kegerator.

Battle Of The Burbs

A lot of markets have divisions that you can play off. Dallas vs. Ft. Worth. Minneapolis vs. St. Paul. Tampa vs. Pete. In Calgary, it’s the North Burbs vs. the South Burbs.

Matt and Sarah at JACK in Calgary do a trivia contest every morning. They take a caller, they identify where they’re from and then go up against the talent from the opposite side of town. Matt is South and Sarah is North. Beat them and win.

What The Flock?

Think of it as a video version of Secret Sound. Take a normal household item and flock it. And then people have to guess what it is based on clues and the visual. 99.7 NOW-FM has their Secret Sound with 8 clues and guesses a day right now in San Francisco.

The A To Z Game

For most of you, this is new. New is Good.

High/Low gives you prompts following guesses that people follow to ID a specific number. Like, the number of Red Hot candies in a jar to win a trip around Cinco de Mayo (NOW in SFO) or just a dollar amount, like $1871.34 as done by K-Hits in Tulsa.

This game has you IDing the Mix Mystery Artist based on prompts that lead you toward a letter. 

News Flash: People Still Use Phones

Oldies 96.7 has been doing a call-in contest for cash. Last Thursday, they logged 32,032, which doubled their previous record.

Paige Nienaber insults/consults more than 100 radio stations on Fun ‘N Games (Marketing & Promotions). Find him at CPR Promotions. Read Paige’s Radio Ink archives here.


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