Paige Nienaber’s Midweek Idea Dump: Random Acts Of Coldness


(By Paige Nienaber) You can overthink prizing. I saw The Wolf in Greensboro frame “win $300 a day” as “win school lunches for a year” and break the phones. One of the TSM stations had an $18 haircut to giveaway and did “Last Comment on Facebook.” They got around 11,000 comments.

So, my first 4th of July with this job was at a station in Jacksonville. We went out in the van to cruise the beach. The station had a relationship with Pepsi and they’d dropped off a pallet of product in the station garage. So we filled up coolers, hit a gas station, bought a couple of bags of ice, and headed out.

We would stop along the boardwalk, open up the doors, and hand the stuff out. And we were mobbed. It looked like the US Embassy during the Fall of Saigon.

Yes, you can overthink prizing. On a 1,000-degree day in Florida, what did people want? They wanted something cold to drink.

When Jeanne Ashley was at Star in KC, she went to Costco, got some generic brand Sqweeze Pops, and froze them in the station fridge. After her shift, she went out in the station vehicle and dropped them off at road construction and other outdoor worksites where people were sweltering on a steamy summer day. This was done by 95.7 Jamz in Birmingham as “The Road Crew” and it was a home run.

Great stations have loyalty and that’s a hard thing to earn. But people will most certainly remember random acts of coldness like these. And now on with the Dumpage.

The Best Morning Show Positioning Statement Of 2024 (So Far)

When I was a kid and McDonald’s was getting into the marquees boasting of “over a million served,” there was a little mom ‘n pop ice cream/burger place that I could bike to. Their marquee said, “Over 300 served.” Decades later someone posted a photo of that on our community’s Facebook page. That’s the Art of Promotions: getting people to remember you.

95 WIIL in Kenosha is using “The 95 WIIL Rock Morning Show – 10’s Of Listeners.”

Prize Piñata

I had mentioned a prize-bundling contest that’s about to start with cash and tickets courtesy of Sauza Agave Cocktails. Ryan Smeltzer with Alpha shares this piñata contest from 2020.


Stupid People/Criminal News has been done in a lot of different ways. “Florida Or Not?” or “What The Florida?!” are a couple of examples. Shredd and Ragan at 97 Rock in Buffalo do it as “OTF” or, “Ohio, Texas, or Florida.”

From Joe Russo: “The guys collect stories throughout the week, even audio stories, and solicit listeners to call in and guess Ohio, Texas, or Florida. They read or play the audio and then the listener must guess if it’s Ohio, Texas, or Florida. We have 4 prizes and we play until they are gone or we run out of stories. Some days we get 4 winners, some we get none. But the stories are priceless. It requires lots of prizes, so sometimes they are average. We only do it once a week, but we use the OTF sounder whenever we have a story from one of those states, so it is branded throughout the show even when we aren’t playing.”


They’re something that we’ve kind of gotten away from. Sadly. Because for the average and above-average listener, they’ll never be in a limo except, maybe, on their wedding day.

Wild in SFO? Every concert ticket giveaway had a grand prize of a limo to/from the show. It was a great hook and even in the Bay Area, people were loco for limos.

It’s an industry that got hammered over the past couple of years and NEEDS help. One of the stations is planning on a Summer concert series and reached out to a limo service. The guy said that just to let him get past prom and they’ll do it for trade.

BS Bingo

“Know The Show” is great: ID which member of the morning show did something or had what life experience. But no one has ever added a Truth Or Consequences kind of angle where listeners would grill the show, and the team would try to BS them into believing it was them. 

IE: One of Crisco, Dez, or Ryan had a kleptomaniac roommate in college. Three listeners get turns asking them questions about it. They then pick which person it was.

They win something for picking the right person who had the klepto roommate and members of the show get bragging rights if they sold their stories well. Like with “Are You Smarter Than Staci?” – “Staci is 3 and 1 so far this week.”

Something For Sales

One of the stations has a client that is one of those places where you go in, cook and prepare your meals with their ingredients, and take them home and stick them in the freezer. What if you had the morning show go and prepare meals for some listener who is home after surgery and a family who is still going to need to eat?

Truth Or Pair

Great contests can be reality TV shows. Look at what’s on TV. They’ve done all our research for us. “War Of The Roses” is Cheaters. Runaway Brides is The Amazing Race. Survive It And Drive It? Any of the Survivor spinoffs.

So when The Moment Of Truth was big, one of the CBS stations had callers trying to beat a voice stress analyzer and win $100 for every correct answer they gave. Fly in Albany lie-detected moms on Mother’s Day.

Steve Dolhagary at AMP in Calgary once lined up a polygraph and technician to do this for concert tickets and meet and greets as “Truth Or Pair.” Do. This.


Coming to a station next Wednesday where they will welcome in the new month with spiked-in hits from the 2000s.


We’re pretty awful with trumpeting our winners with a few exceptions like KS95 in the Twin Cities and K-Earth in LA. K-Earth milks each winner for as many promos as they can get.

If you have a high school student win some kind of contest like backstage passes, always always make sure you send their school newspaper a photo of them with the artist. Ditto with outlying areas of the market. If someone in Cannon Falls wins tickets to meet NKOTB, send their local paper a press release.

So what if, with all your contesting, you gave the winners a second chance drawing? Share and hashtag on social media that you won and get tossed into a monthly drawing. If they’re engaged enough to try and win Cardi B tickets, they’ll definitely boast that they won for a shot at another prize.

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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