Paige Nienaber’s Weekly Idea Dump: A Minister Walks Into A Pitch


(By Paige Nienaber) I’m not a nonconformist. I kind of got nonconformist’ed out in high school. They seemed to try so hard. But I’ve always kind of strived for a hook, because why WOULD you want to be the same as your peers?

My first week in Charlotte there was a cattle call of all the stations in the region for the annual meeting with Carowinds, the local theme park. Carowinds was and still is a BIG deal in that market. I think every station got eight minutes to “present” their ideas for the coming year. I knew these kinds of meetings and I knew that every station would come in with three ideas. I came in with 12. You go with the odds: 12 ideas? One of them has to get their attention.

The AE and I went in and the reps from the agency out of Atlanta looked like survivors of the Bataan Death March. They were exhausted. So Don introduced himself and said, “And this is Paige, he’s our…” and I finished it by jumping in and saying “…Director of Fun ‘N Games.” They actually perked up. Seven hours of meeting with Promotion Directors and suddenly someone threw them a curve.

I’ve mixed it up over the years. I have also served as Minister Of Good Times which is a title you have to work to live up to. Promotions is the Art of getting people to remember you, and mixing up a job title will do that.

Another example? Radio stations have “prize closets”. KDWB referred to theirs as The Prize Vault. It sounded… BIGGER.

And now on with the fun, games, and Dumpage…

Closest To The Pinhead

This is a great Canadian contest: the morning guy is padded up and stuck on a driving range. A dial position number of listeners each hit ONE numbered ball. The closest to him wins. I’ve seen it done with everything from tickets to cash to meet and greets.

Four Fit Females

Jock testimonials all blur together. The best are when you have listeners do them. They’re just more believable. One of the stations has a new fitness club opening up. Every gym has before/after images on its site and social media. Cool. Find four listeners and have them document their journeys to getting back in shape for the Summer

Resting Beach Face

myTalk in the Twin Cities does great merch and one of their best-selling items was a wine thermos for taking your vino with you when hiking, boating, or lounging. I saw some summer swag for similar items with this theme.

Great Views

We’re going into festival and concert season and if you are fortunate enough to be the promoter, then one of the things you can sell is a great vantage point. I saw it done as a massive hot tub in Sacramento. Risers in Minneapolis. And then this tower at the Beale Street Music Fest: literally the best view of a concert I’ve ever had. I was eye level with Lenny Kravitz.

A Car Dealer Event

One of the stations is doing a day-long event with one of their dealers that is kind of a version of the Fire Department Open House out where I live. One evening every October, there are free hotdogs, chips, and drinks. All the vehicles are polished up and on display for the kids to climb on. They have a portable unit that resembles a small house and kids can crawl through it with fake smoke so they learn to stay low.

There’s a demonstration of them putting down a fire. They had a Life Flight chopper come in and you could sit in it. The kids could put on a helmet and shoot an actual fire hose at a target.

It was geared at kids 2-12. And with that demo…you get the parents.

The thing in Scandia was a MUST for my kids. We go every year. They get to crawl around on a pumper truck. Try the hose. And did I mention the free food?

Said station is doing this at a dealer. Which is perfect because what do car lots have? Space. And while the kids are meeting Fire Pup and getting balloons, the vultures will descend on the parents.

Endorsement Rally

One of the many many many things that AI can’t do is give a personal endorsement to a product or service. These client relationships are our bread and butter.

I was at a station in 2019 where they did an “endorsement rally.” It was basically a staff meeting so the Salespeople could meet with the airstaff one-on-one and get to know what their hobbies and passions are.

The AE’s then sat down and tried to match talent to clients, ie: “Dan sure loves to fish. He’d be perfect for Red Wigglers: The Cadillac Of Worms.” The next step was to take the talent and introduce them to the prospective client.

They found that they got the sale 41% of the time when the talent went to the meeting as opposed to 9% when they didn’t.

Gas Blast

Two-thirds of the best contest methodologies in Radio came out of Power 96 in Miami. And the ONE contest that most destroyed the phone system was Cash Blast. It was presented as the world’s easiest contest: “We’re opening up the phones for 20 minutes and if you get through and we answer, you win $96.” After every song in that 20 minute period, the announcer would read off some more names that he’d taken. It sounded…huge.

KAJA in San Antonio had 900 tickets to a George Strait stadium show and announced the times for ticket blast on social media.

And this week, 98.9 The Bull in Seattle is doing it with $50 gas cards.

As a methodology, “blast” is great and could be done with anything. You can overthink prizes. Any kind of summer ticket or even food items would work. It’s all in the presentation and the imaging of taking a hundred winners. Ask me and I’ll walk you through it. 


Joel Murphy was the first to have some fun with ChatGPT in a John Mayer promo.

Garden Stores

One of the agencies I work with has a garden center that sells seeds, tools…all the stuff for home and farm gardening.

In most markets, there’s a food shelf that will take produce. So, the idea that they’re pitching is this:

  • Use Radio to highlight the stats on the number of people currently needing food assistance.
  • Solicit groups (school, civic, religious) that would grow vegetables for the cause.
  • Get them set with seeds and mulch and other needs.

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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