Paige Nienaber’s Midweek Idea Dump: The Election Connection


(By Paige Nienaber) I have great news for the people reading this in the US: only six months until the election. Six months of polite discourse on social media! Six months of calm discussions with shirttail relatives at family gatherings! It’ll be over before you know it…

First, I can not think of anything that is potentially more dangerous (other than juggling chainsaws) than getting political on the air or social media of a music station. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge the election. Kind of like, well, acknowledging a deadly pandemic.

The ads are so over the top that it’s laughable. “Paige Nienaber is wrong for Des Moines!” “Paige Nienaber has ties to (insert fringe group).” “Call Paige Nienaber and tell him…” So, Z-102.9 in Cedar Rapids did some brilliant attack ads with the talent attacking each other.

(Attack Ad – Greg Vs Mo 1Greg Vs Mo 2Greg Vs Mo 3Greg Vs Mo 4Mo Vs Greg 1, Mo Vs Greg 2 , Mo Vs Greg 3)

Florida is a battleground state and back in the 2012 election cycle, was visited by the candidates about 900 times. WAPE in Jacksonville got a couple of people with a banner strung between two poles, at the back of a throng of people at a rally. Watching in real time on TV, someone from the station directed them in which direction to walk or adjust to remain on camera.

And finally, “Vote For (station)” was done successfully by Wired in Philly where all of the imaging was based on what the station stood for…and what the competition stood against. They never mentioned ‘IOQ by name. It was just, “The other station wants to give free birth control to 8-year-old girls. Those aren’t Philly values. Call the other radio station and tell them to stop providing invasive IUDs to children!”

This was backed up with lawn signs that were spotted for prizes.

It’s going to be a cluster@#!& so we may as well have some fun.

And now on to the Dumpage.

A Dad Fashion Bracket

Some stations missed Mother’s Day. Tomorrow, I’m sending out scads™ of Father’s Day ideas. Hopefully, you can take them and do something with them.

For Back To School, KyXy in San Diego did a Back To School Fashion Bracket, or, clothes that their 42-year-old female listeners would have worn when they went back to school. Sponsored by a mall, five random voters got $100 gift cards to the mall.

What if, for Father’s Day, you did it with “dad clothes”?

Introducing The Dirty Shirley

When I was 9 years old and interning at KGON in Portland, the station had its own beer: Brew 92. It was actually pretty awful stuff, brewed across the river in Vancouver. But the audience did not have, uh, a discerning palate. It was sold at a chain of convenience stores and 9.2 cents from each six-pack went to a scholarship fund.

myTalk 107.1 in the Twin Cities has partnered with Surly Brewing and has debuted its own beer, The Dirty Shirley. “Dirty” is a key component in a lot of what the station does. It’s out and so is the station, doing tasting events all over the market.


Ring In A Box

I love treasure hunts. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has done a medallion hunt every January since 1950 and generations of families have celebrated the Winter Carnival by trying to find it and collect the reward.

Mike and Carla at KKLZ in Las Vegas do a version of that with a painted rock, the Jingle Bell Rock, every December. The task of getting it “in place” and not tracked, is something out of a Tom Clancy novel.

Now, some company’s legal departments defecate puppies when the words “treasure” and “hunt” are used in conjunction. (Wild 107 listeners did about $10,000 in damages to historic books in the USF library). Jeff and Jenn at Q-102 in Cincy are doing a virtual hunt to find a $5000 ring that is “hidden” somewhere in the Tri-State.

The clue will be announced on the client’s Facebook page five minutes before it’s given out on the air. Call and ID where it is, and win it. The last one of these was in 2021 and the item was in the satellite dish at the NBC affiliate.

Slumber Parties

One of the things we discovered early on at Wild in SFO was that throwing a party just for one of the talent and her ginormous number of female listeners was a homerun. Thus, the Bachelorette Ball was born. It took some refining and fine-tuning. We tried adding artists and honestly, no one really cared. They were there for the party, the booze, the male strippers, and hanging out with Renee. You know it’s a good sign when it’s 1 am, the Westin ballroom is packed, and no one will leave.

93Q in Syracuse has taken this and turned it into the kind of series that most stations could only dream of having. Amy’s Slumber Parties sell out, make a lot of money, and are now two nights because of demand.

Hometown Hangouts

“Radio is like politics” is a pretty common analogy and it’s pretty accurate. Whoever has the best candidate, the best message, and gets the most votes, wins. And smart stations know that locking up their candidate and having him/her campaign using only social media isn’t going to work. You need to be out, working the voters.

KSON in San Diego, 93.1 The Wolf in Greensboro, WPGC in DC, KOB-FM in Albuquerque, and quite a few other stations have adopted summer programs where they will take the morning show live to a different part of the market every week or every month. It’s not a remote. Remotes suck. It’s their show. Live in front of a crowd of listeners who might never have met anyone from the station before. The music is the same. The contests are the same. The features are the same, though they will usually incorporate the live audience as players.

And there is free food. Boom. Home run.

One of the CHRs did this as a Home Town Tour and did five different locations over a week, which was backbreaking for the promo team, but it worked. And it worked because they strategically picked breakfast locations in parts of the surveyed area that might otherwise get overlooked. If they’d done the morning show at a Starbucks near the university, a hundred people would have shown up. Doing it as a coffee place in Forest Lake? 800+ people showed up throughout the show.

Great, simple, effective marketing that savvy people can sell the crap out of.

Ten Secret Super Stars

As I’ve oft-said, Radio is exceptional at rediscovering methodologies. After about a decade hiatus, the methodology where you take six or 7 hooks and cram them into a quick montage is back at several stations. As it should be: it’s a GREAT contest.

Brian Douglas in Greensboro came up with the Ten Secret Superstars: ten celebs each contributing one word to a phrase. ID all ten celebs and win a bunch of cash. The trick is to mix it up and do a few TV stars, a couple of movie stars, a politician, someone local, a couple of artists, and then someone random like Jamie Lee Curtis as The Beat did in Vancouver. She’s pretty off-the-radar and when nine of the ten are guessed and just one is left, every play is potentially the winner. Basically, it’s Secret Sound on crack. Take a listen and good luck.

The Secret

This is a Paul Kaye contest from the UK and was done on a CHR in Minneapolis for tickets to their Summer Concert, and on Star in Pittsburgh for concert tickets.

It’s a great contest but a lot of Radio People won’t get it because we think like Radio People. The audience loves it and will be glued to every play, writing down the responses. The concept is simple – The station has a secret and if you know the secret, you can win (up to three times).

The secret is how to respond when we answer your call and ask you a question. For instance, in Minneapolis, no matter what we ask you, just say “Uh” at least once in your response.

“Sonia, are you ready to play The Secret? Good. What color is your car.”

“Paige, I, uh, ride a bus. But if I had a car it would be red.”

“Holy cow you know The Secret, you’re going to the show!”

You can leak the Secret to get started by doing something creative, like, “Ice is going to be out at the Blazers game tonight. She’s kind of vain about her shoes. So if you compliment them, she might tell you the Secret.” Boom. You’ll get a winner or two over the next couple of days and everyone with their charts and slide rules can have some context to start putting 2 and 2 together to get the Secret.

In Pittsburgh? Your reply had to start with the same first letter as our question to you.

“Well Sonia, here ya go. If you could live on just one kind of food, what would it be?”

“Wintergreen gum, Paige.”

“You know the Secret!”

People’s heads will explode as they start again from scratch trying to figure out what it was. And when you start getting winners regularly, then it’s not a secret, and you start anew. On the first night in Pittsburgh, the jock texted me that people were lined up trying to guess it. On the first night.

Some promos, and some winners.

The Station That Wants To Give You An STD

It’s almost Summer and pretty much every act that has a roadie and a bus will be touring. Many of you are already juggling multiple concerts. What if you promoted that you have acquired, somehow, an STD? And you’re going to share it with the audience this Thursday. STD of course standing for Super Ticket Day. Tickets every ten minutes all day long.

Why? What’d you think I meant?

Pitch In For Buffalo

I’d lobbed out something that Laura Daniels has started at WHTT in Buffalo, which is a campaign to collect used sports equipment like baseball gloves, for the Police Athletic Bureau. They’ll then make sure the stuff gets to kids who need it and probably can’t afford to go and buy it on their own.

She had her first collection last Thursday night –

“My FIRST collection was last night…an appearance at an outdoor patio restaurant from 4p-6p. Our AAA affiliate baseball team is doing their OWN collection for me at their game tomorrow, and next Saturday is my final collection.”

“JUST in last night’s appearance, I got about 2 dozen gloves…plus BINS of bats, softballs, helmets, and even 4 BOXES of unused, brand new football uniforms that one listener saved from another organization that was putting them all to the curb.”


The Burning Building Theory of Remote Breaks

When Strawberry was at Wild in SFO, he trained the street team how to do call-ins when they were out in the community. He said to prioritize it. Think about what’s the most important thing and stick it up front. He used the example of a house fire. If your house is burning down and you have thirty seconds to get out, what would you grab? Well, the stuff that’s most important to you. Like your Hummel figurine collection. Or your phone. Or photo albums. Or all the thumb drives in an envelope taped under your desk. Or your wine collection or your golf clubs. Oh, or your kids.

So a Facebook Live popped up in my feed last Summer. It was a morning guy at a remote at a convenience store. He pointed out they had coolers for sale, the ice locker was packed, and discounts on certain brands of soft drinks. Freshly made deli sandwiches, a huge assortment of chips, and you still have time to come down and register for Taylor Swift tickets.

Don’t get me started. But Taylor should have been up front and repeated repeatedly. This was such effective messaging that I think a dozen people showed up for the tickets. Or at least that’s what it sounded like.

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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