Paige Nienaber’s Midweek Idea Dump: Vibe Check


(By Paige Nienaber) Working with as many different and diverse stations as I have has given me an interesting perspective, so Carly Caverly, a great Market Manager for Harvard Broadcasting in Saskatoon asked me, “With all of these great stations, what do you see as a commonality?”

Excellent question and when I mentioned “Hall Vibe”, Carly asked me to explain.

It’s actually pretty simple: happy employees make a happy product. I have a layover hotel in Minneapolis where all the staff are seemingly on mood elevators. It makes staying there all that more fun. We’ve all experienced visiting a business where everyone is happy and having fun.

For a few years in the late 90’s, KSFM in Sacramento was a monster and it started in the halls. These were people who were truly having a ball at work. As stupid as it sounds, it began when you walked in the door. The receptionist, Jenny, was a riot. And it just permeated the building.

Power 96 in Miami, while they were still owned by Beasley, had a Hall Vibe and they were #1 for like twenty years. Here is the Traffic Department.

Power 96 Ceiling

And then there was V-103 in Baltimore. The #1 station in the market and with new ownership and a new GM, new policies about dress codes and other stupidity like that were initiated. Gold records were taken off the walls because they were “not professional.” That kind of stuff at a station that personified fun. One of the greatest water balloon fights I ever participated in was in the V-103 parking lot.

I brought up something to their new GM and he cut me off: “This is a place of business!” I joked, “No, it’s a radio station.” He didn’t think that was funny.

I called Jerry Clifton in Hawaii and told him, “They’ll be out of the format in a year.” And they were. The hall vibe was just a large part of the equation because work suddenly felt like work. And no one goes into Radio to work.

We’ve all been at a station that has the Hall Vibe of an insurance company and it translates to what you hear on the air.

So, how is your Hall Vibe and what can you do to improve it? My guess is that your solution won’t cost money but it might cost some time and revisiting memories of great, fun stations that you worked at.

Next week? The Spanky McFarland Theory Of Fun. And now, on to the Dumpage.

Mug Shots

A very talented Marketing Director with R1 snagged something out of an email a couple of months ago and put together a package that Mcdonald’s bought: post a shot of your (coffee) mug you have at work, hashtag, share, and weekly winners will get coffee for their entire office from the client.

I Want To Thank God & My Publicist, Melissa

An awards show idea from Dave Ryan at KDWB: Will They Thank God? Just record acceptance speeches and play them back on-air. First, get a caller on the phone and ask them whether the winner will thank God, or not. “Lisa, Kanye wins for best R&B album. Will he thank God?” Then play the clip. The studio will fill with howls of laughter as he says, “And for making my latest joint, “(Verb) on That (Age Group) (Mysogenistic Term)” number one, I wanna thank Almighty God.”

The Publishers Clearing House

We were discussing “stuff that Radio would screw up” at WWRS last year and PCH came up. I think the consensus was that we’d run a 17-second wrap-up promo (sans-winner-audio) because it doesn’t pass the Listeners Benefit Filter.

Hot in Ft. Wayne did a bunch of Bieber trips and each one was a surprise for some girl at her home or school or at a party. The pay-off videos were exceptional. WPGC, when they did Tweet To Your Seat, ALWAYS got the visceral payoff hidden cam video of someone dashing up, asking the correct person and the correct phrase, and then losing their minds.

Ditto with every Fugitive chase where the capture is a well-orchestrated and planned ballet with the single goal of getting a video and good audio for the promo that was pre-produced and ready to roll.

When 106.5 The Arch wrapped up a 15K giveaway, they surprised their winner at work. My personal favorite part: her list of how she intended to spend it. 

Innuendo Bingo

This is a fantastic regular feature for when BBC Radio 1 gets celebrities in the studio. Some station really needs to do this in the US.


Q-88.9 in St. John had a lot of ski-lift tickets to give away so they created Guy The Ski Guy who sang songs while tackling the moguls. ID the song and win.

Jog With A Jock

I just stayed at a hotel where they promoted that the manager went jogging every morning at 6:45a starting in the lobby and following a scenic route around the area. He hated to jog alone so if you ran in the morning, go with, and they’d have free cold water for everyone when they got back. I’m NOT up at 6:45a so I asked what the turnout was and they said, “Usually 5 or 6. Sometimes up to a dozen.” 

If you have a talent that likes to run…

Next Up?

Valentines. There is some imaging stored here.

Valentines For Pets

The fact that Americans spent 6.2 billion on grooming and pet toys in a single calendar year would be enough evidence that our dogs, cats, fish, horses, and gerbils often mean more to us than actual humans. 

The Art Of Promotions is to stand out. If everyone is doing candy and flowers and romantic stuff, then do that but with a hook: pets.

What if you married two pets?

What if you awarded two listeners who have not met, and their pets, a Play Date? A stocked picnic basket, some wine, a blanket, and an afternoon at a park. Also, some brands will do things like “Bring Your Dog To The Ball Game Day” which you should keep your eyes open for.

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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