Paige Nienaber’s Midweek Idea Dump: Promo Sutra Positions


(By Paige Nienaber) There are a lot of Football/Radio analogies. During the season, the Minneapolis paper on game days will break down the match-up between the Vikings and their opponent. Who should dominate the passing game. Who should dominate the running game. Who has the best defense. Special teams. Coaching.

You can look at the list and the little checkmarks on either side of it and get an idea of just how ugly of a bloodbath the afternoon will be for the Vikes.

Here are my Promotional Positions, but some of these could totally be non-issues in your market:

  • Drive Time Shows (not who has the best but who does the best with their shows)
  • Cash Contesting (not who has the most but who makes the most effective use of what they have) 
  • Cars
  • Trips
  • At-Work Marketing
  • Clubs
  • NTR Events
  • Digital Contests
  • Social Media (Who makes the best posts that elicit engagement and aren’t just Pop Culture Wallpaper)
  • High Schools (If you’re a CHR, who is out courting the kids?)
  • Colleges (In some markets these are entities that really can’t be ignored)
  • Charitable Campaigns (I usually give this position to a station that works with and assists local needs and organizations)
  • Movie Screenings
  • Bumperstickers
  • Concerts (making the most of shows that come through the market)
  • Concerts (presenting their own, station shows)

Again, some of these might not be relevant or in play in your market.

When I launch a station, I always look at the landscape and see if there are any of these that the competition has ignored, given up on or are vulnerable to stealing away from them. And then slowly add checkmarks to our side of the list.

When B96 launched against KDWB in the Twin Cities in 2002, KD owned most of these positions. And after a year we had so narrowed and isolated B96 on the playing field that the only position that they were competitive in was Clubs. That would be like trying to win a football game when the only thing your team could hold their own with is punting.

This is a great exercise. You should try it.

And now on with the Dumpage:

Honest To Goddess

The first “We need an idea for a client for Mothers Day…” request came in yesterday morning. Cool. Since most of your listeners had a mother (and spores don’t get meters or diaries), you should really do something for Mothers Day.

Oprah had a pitch count. There were a few topics or things that she would do every season. Helping women make their dream come true was a staple. “I was going to pursue a career in dance and then…” and so the viewer would get ambushed, flown to Las Vegas, train and then debut at the Folies or some other big mainroom show.

She would also do an extreme makeover. Kind of like Christmas Wish, viewers or family of viewers would tell a story about job loss or divorce or any number of other reasons that she was living frugally or out of style.

The ambush would include clothes, hair, makeup and things like job training if she was going back into the workforce after being a stay at home mom for decades. As an example.

It’s the kind of promotion that would get you the video payoff but also allow you to bring in clients to help with the makeover.

Super Bowl Imaging

There’s some good stuff in here. Also, “Big Game Bookie” is always a homer..touchdown. Have listeners pick either the Chiefs or the 49ers. If their team wins, they get their prize. If not, they get zip.

And the Super Baby Bowl from Hot in Knoxville. 

And the Shoeperbowl from Y-94 in Fargo.

And a great example from KSON in San Diego of just acknowledging the game with a name while giving away some great Sea World passes. 

Valentines Imaging

And some ID’s and other imaging for the 14th.

Flipping Bits

It’s always fun to occasionally take something that the show or station is known for and flip it for a Hallmark Holiday. Christmas Wish became Halloween Wish with The Beat in Vancouver and they helped hook people up with the cool costumes that they never ever got to have when they were kids.

“The One That Got Away” is a pretty common morning show feature. For Valentines, because there is probably not a single listener who hasn’t dated a psycho, do “The One I Got Away From.” Great topic of near-death experiences in scary relationships.

Stream & Dream

Great promotions will play on people’s greed and fantasies. The Bull in Seattle did a great version of “Pick Your Prize” and were able to find a way to sell it to the clients. Hubbard has also been ahead of the curve in terms of incentivizing streaming.

The local card casino here does that with entries in drawings. And it works. For every 100 tier points you earn you get an entry in a draw. And there’s a monthly cash drawing.

You could do that with streaming. Listen five hours and get an entry.

Then, it would be fun to have five or six prizes the winner could choose from. Something lifestyle. Maybe some concert tickets. Food. A vacation. Whatever. Just something that people can gaze at while streaming the station and think, “I’d take the 100 pounds in steaks.” And I would.

Game Of The Week

Traditionally Radio has done a great job with going out and covering high school football. As well we should.

When Rick Gillette was at ‘HYT he “Team Of The Week” throughout the school year and it had several tiers of sponsors. Every week they would honor a different squad: the girls swim team from Birmingham, the Dearborn boys track team, etc. It was really just an excuse to zero in on important zips and then get a lot of ears when the kids were on the air.

Five More Things You Can Sell

  1. Pothole Patrol – They’ve already started their annual appearance where I am. KKLZ in Las Vegas does it, sponsored by an auto repair chain, and people alert the station and the City to particularly pitted streets, and these get bumped up to the top of the list for repair. 
  2. Uber Rides – This is something that Cumulus in Albuquerque does for all of the drinking holidays. From Jeff Berry: “Yes, we have some partners that underwrite the $10 voucher, and other partners underwrite the commercials and promos. We have a Personal Injury Attorney as the title and provides the most $$$, but we have multiple businesses that underwrite this.  I do a press conference the NMDOT once a year and I say from the bottom of my heart, I KNOW since 2019 and providing $240,000 in rides, that we have literally saved lives. Of all the (stuff) I have done in 30 years, this is the one I am most proud of.”
  3. Gowntown – Not for the weak-hearted because this is an undertaking. It requires people. But basically you collect used prom dresses, have them cleaned and then do a big Filene’s kind of sale. No dress over $25 and all the money goes to charity. I can walk you through it.
  4. Point Of Law – This would be perfect for law firms. This is an old feature from WCCO where people tuned in at the appointment time to try and guess the result. This could be done entirely online.
  5. Girl Scout Cookie Finder – This was done by one of the Midwest Family stations and is similar to what KOOL up here does with “Garage Sale Finder.” A sponsored calendar of times and places that girls (and their parents) will be set up and ambushing people entering and leaving businesses.

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.


  1. Here at the home, and while reading Paige’s posts we often shout “BINGO!!!”.

    (btw, inline with the Super Baby Bowl, we did it with puppies and the local humane society. Only 4 local TV stations covered it.

    Then, there was “Soup or Bowl” -we did with a local bowling establishment. Winners got their choice. I think the staff was relentless in their assessment of the promotion, but we certainly had a lot to talk about…when some other station carried the game.

    We also did “Buffalo Bill” – asking listeners to name their favorite “Bill”. (Everyone knows someone named Bill.) – when we saluted that “Bill” -and they responded, both Bill and his buddy (nominator) won. Play on that with KC and/or San Fran –

  2. Paige-

    Articles like this are why you continue to be my hero….and promotional inspiration!
    Thanks for what you do, not only for us, but for the industry. We can’t ever afford to lose the “magic.”


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