Paige Nienaber’s Weekly Idea Dump: A Sultry Valentine’s Dump


(By Paige Nienaber) The year was 2005. I was in a meeting at a station in Omaha regarding their Father’s Day promotion. The OM said, “I want to K.I.S.S. it,” and because he thought we were idiots and unfamiliar with cliches, added, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” For me that translated to, “Keep It Boring, Stupid.”

Obviously, a promotion needs to be easy for the audience to understand. There was a CBS station in 2014 that did a $ 500-a-day contest that was so convoluted that I forwarded it to Michael Martin and asked him if he could figure out how to play it. He colorfully and succinctly expressed how he could not. Different songs and numbers of songs and prize amounts every day and contesting times, every day. I understand upping the money on Thursday but this was light years beyond that.

Imagine Bob Barker telling his producer, “The showcase lightning round? Let’s KISS that and just award a prize to an audience member who texts in a code word”? 

My litmus test is what I call “The ‘And Then’ Theory of Contesting. Two “and then’s” max. IE: “Listen at 7:22 and then text the code word to 183496 and then listen for the winner to be announced.” If you add, “And then call in and answer a question from The College Of Bollywood Knowledge” or “And then try to complete the lyric” or “And then text in a second chance code after you hear the sounder”, it’s an “And then” too many.

And “7:22”? Who talks that way? “Steve, I’m going to meet you at the strip club at 7:22.” Steve would have me take a cognitive abilities test.

And now… onto the Dumping.

Valentine’s Day Promotions

Because “write in and tell us why your spouse deserves flowers” is so freaking huge, I’ve always been challenged at how to top that.

For The Floral Clients

  • “She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not”. Take an intern and cover him or her in yellow Post-it notes. (I have a photo of the co-host at KRST/Albuquerque in a similar situation). Come by the store and pluck a petal. You win what’s underneath it. Done at WDVD in Detroit last year
  • “Petals ‘N Pedals” – Marry a bike client with a floral store. Register to win his ‘n her bikes. 
  • “He Rose To The Occasion” – Women write in and say how their husbands went above and beyond the call of duty at Christmas and why he should get some flowers.

For Your Website

  • Like “Congraduations,” there’s no reason why you can’t have scrolling love messages on the website that weekend. Easily sponsorable. 
  • Contest for the website? “Hallmark Card or Air Supply Song?” 
  • “V-Mail”. Send anonymous love messages for listeners to people they’re too nervous or shy to approach themselves. Get their foot in the door for them. Like the one I had Mark at Hot in Houston send to Lucy at Power in Miami for me: “Lucy, I know your lawyer said I wasn’t supposed to call you anymore or come by the station anymore or drive by your house late at night anymore. But I know you’re just being silly and that our love is deep and can never be stopped by anything as silly as a restraining order or a personal bodyguard. Waiting for you. When you least expect it. P-Dawg.”


In addition to the ideas that are attached, you could…

  • Do a seminar for men in the evening. Serve some beer. Have some wings. And have attractive women help these guys NOT screw up their purchase; which is a very guy thing to do. 
  • “Diamond In The Puff” is an old bit. Hide a diamond in a marshmallow and mix it into several hundred non-jeweled marshmallows. Come down, pick one out, and tear it apart. You win if you find it. 
  • “Proposal Enablers” – We have, as Radio People, things at our disposal that the average schmo on the streets doesn’t. Solicit from the audience the most audacious and spectacular idea that a guy has to pop the question and help him pull it off. 
  • “Desperate Ice Wives” – You get ten women on the ice at a skating rink. You put a target at the other end of the rink and they start taking slapshots. The first woman to hit the target gets some ice (diamond).


Considering that it’s a given you’ll probably have a club, you need a hook:

  • Exotic Erotic Ball. 
  • FVD. For people who hate Valentine’s. 
  • Pajama Jam. Like Dave Ryans’ party in Minny. 
  • The Giant Hookup. Straight. To the point. You are going there to hook up. 
  • (Markets) Next Dance Star. Have men come out for dancing lessons with professional instructors and surprise their loved ones on Valentine’s night with their new skills.

Theaters, Video Stores, & Similar Clients

  • Do a “Lonely Hearts Club” promotion. Movie rental. A small single-serving frozen pizza. Maybe a deck of cards for playing Solitaire. 
  • Have the listeners vote online for the best romance films of all time. Random voters get gift cards.
  • You could also do a contest with audio; ID the clip from the sappy film to win. 
  • Have the morning show each pick their favorite love films.


  • Bring in second-party clients so that a room reservation also gets them flowers, candy, whipped cream, black plasti…you get the idea. 
  • Do a “Suite Over” and have your airstaff take a suite at the hotel and trick it out into the ultimate love den for that weekend. But only using stuff bought at the Dollar Store.


  • You could do a “Lucky In Love” wedding at the casino. 
  • You could do “Unlucky In Love” and on the 13th, have people bring down old love letters and gifts from psycho bastard exes for a bonfire/cleaning ceremony. Everyone gets a chip and a roll of quarters to test the magic and see if their luck has turned around. 
  • “Love Is A Gamble”. Randomly match ten single men with ten single women. They each get a bucket of coins or something like that. At the end of the evening, the couple that has made the most or lost the least is deemed to be the perfect match and they get a weekend at the hotel comped. 
  • I have a proposal that Q in Halifax did for a very, very successful slot tourney they did.


  • “Love Strikes Out” – A singles night. Randomly match people into pairs for a night of chatting and getting to know each other. Prize for the best score.

Golf Courses

  • “Speed Putting” – 18 different chances to meet the right person. You switch partners each hole. (Shut up.)

Car Dealers

  • “Live In Lovers” – The standard marathon thing with two couples living in a car. A car would obviously be a good prize, but it can also just be the venue. A ring. A honeymoon. All would be good carrots.


  • Can you direct link so that people can make their dinner reservations through your site? 
  • White Castles in the Twin Cities (pause to make a ‘nummy’ sound) do fancy, waitered, white tablecloth, candle-lit dinners on the 14th every year. And. It. Is. Huge. 


  • Do a contest where you crack the text code. “ICWTCOATABWU.” Be the first to crack it and win a phone or service. Clues are at their locations. The contest is on the website. The message is somehow “love” related. 

Home Depot

  • “I’ve Been Meaning To Get To That…” – Every guy has a household fix-it project they’ve been putting off. The handy young men who run classes and seminars at HD will come by and fix it while the woman has her unsuspecting husband out for dinner and a movie.

Grocery Stores

  • I’m a geek. Every Valentine’s I make my wife dinner. And she loves it. (The gesture, not the food.) It’s always pasta with a garlic cream sauce that my friend Teresa had to walk me through over the phone 17 years ago. So… what if you had Idiot Proof Recipes and where in the store the ingredients could be found, on the website? 
  • Do as they do at Thanksgiving, and put together fully prepared meals along with wine, candles, and flowers that can be ordered through your website. 
  • Certain foods are aphrodisiacs. Have a list on the website.

Fitness Clubs

  • Do a matching service on the website or at a remote where people can team up with a workout partner. Someone who has a similar sked and looks hot in lycra. 
  • “Love: Reloaded” – Find a married couple and with the help of a trainer, get them back into the shape they were in when they first met. Before-and-after shots on the website are assumed.

Clothing Stores

  • Any time you can do a fashion makeover, it’s a great promotion. Valentine’s seems like a good turning point for troubled people to rethink the way they dress.

Ski Areas

  • A great singles night for people whose romance “went downhill.” Ski lodges are terrific venues for pretty much anything.


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