Paige Nienaber’s Midweek Idea Dump: Actual Darn Winners


(By Paige Nienaber) “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” – My pothead college roommate Randy.

“If you do a contest and there are no winner promos, did you actually have winners?” – Nietzsche

Since I’ve been in Radio, I’ve had friends who questioned if we actually DO contests, because the concept of marketing $$$ is weird to them. If they had $1,000, they wouldn’t give it away.

When K-Hits in Sacramento did the Summer Of 1000 Tickets, they had a continually updated list of winners, ie: “Michele Reed from Folsom won tickets to see Rick Springfield at Gold Country Resort and Casino.”

KNCI in Sacramento just did their annual summer concert, Country Summer. And they did a ton of backstage meet and greet winners. And they’ve posted all the photos.

And now, on with the Dumpage.

Knock Knock

Stingray has done “Gone In Sixty Seconds” where they call your name on the air and you have 60 seconds to run outside and touch a car before it drives off, to qualify to win it. Power 96.1 in Atlanta did that with tickets in a suite to see Harry Styles; register and let the station know where you’ll be at 8 am and you have 3 minutes to answer your door if they call you out, or lose the tickets.

“Where Are You At 10:02?”

One of the stations is looking to revamp some of their midday/at-work features. Star in Pittsburgh has randomly asked people to shoot and share what they’re doing at that moment while at work, home, school, or wherever. Kind of painted a mosaic of life with their audience. What if that was a daily social media feature?

Dogs + Fireworks

You have a couple of options during fireworks season. You can recruit volunteers to spend some time at a shelter comforting the residents.

Or get a veterinarian on the air with tips on how to keep the dogs fine during fireworks.

Summer Wedding Season

One of my favorite weekend themes is the “Cheap Date Weekend.” You win some movie tickets, bus fare, a bag of pre-popped popcorn, and $5 at McDonalds.

We’re getting into wedding season and one of the stations that’s prone to getting a LOT of concert tickets has a bunch for this weekend.

One option would be to morph the Cheap Date with Cheap Friend: win some tickets for your friend’s wedding present… but they need to take you.

Summer Festival Season

One of the Alpha stations has some camping passes for a music fest. Okay. These are great prizes based just on what the promoters are selling these things for.

Hot in Knoxville did a promotion and had it sponsored by The Army. “Pitch A Tent For Bonnaroo.” Five contestants at an REI, each was given a tent and a timed period to set it up. The winner was based on a guy from the Army judging their speed a quality.

Or do “Camp Out For…” and take a caller, stick them on hold for a couple of hours, and keep checking in to see if they’re still there.

Celebrity Visits To Morning Shows

The how/why I was reading People magazine in a beauty salon on Friday is too hard to explain, even if I wanted to.  But one of their features is “What’s In Their Bag?” They ambush a celeb and have them dump out their bag. In an era where we’ve dumbed down live celebrity appearances to pretty much a photo opp, it seems like that could be a feature. In lieu of a purse, a wallet would work too.

Jo Jo Wright is a marginally talented individual with a miniscule following and he has for years, had every guest take off their shoes for a photo of their feet. (The guy has issues. He used to be my roommate and he had Batman sheets on his bed)

What about what their mobile phone screenshot is? “Dana Delany was in this morning and here is her screen saver pic: a photo of the Grand Canyon!” Or what is their ringtone? I think the audience might actually care to hear what Nick Jonas’s ringtone is.

Dave Ryan once had Jessica Simpson burp in a Mt. Dew bottle, he sealed it and sold it on eBay for charity. There are two potential bits there:

  1. Get a burp from every guest and hang the bottles on the wall in the studio next to a signature of authenticity. The Wall Of ‘Urps.
  2. Get their permission to grab one item from their bag or wallet, like an ATM receipt or a parking stub, have them sign it, and sell it for charity. Trust me, if you had Dana Delany’s grocery store receipt, I’d bid my brains out.

Also, think down the line. Go to Costco or a hardware store and buy a couple of boxes of ornaments that are gathering dust from last Christmas and whenever a guest comes through, have them sign a bunch of them. In December, auction off these covered-in-autograph ornaments for a toy drive or other charity.

Ditto with A Christmas Carol. Every person who comes through, have them cut a line from it. Edit it together and play it on the last morning show before Christmas. But only if you get Dana Delany to do it.

Windependance Day

A possible name if you’re one of the stations heavily invested in tons of ticket giveaways for the summer.

Cheerleaders + Dead Bodies

One of the regular Valentine’s features is “songs that you can’t listen to because they remind you of an ex” or a bad breakup.

You could also do a topic of “I can’t listen to this song and here’s why.” I might have the winner: a girl from high school who snuck away with a couple of girls from a cheerleader sleepover and at 3am found a body near the Minneapolis airport. “Dust In The Wind” was playing and to this day, she can’t listen to it.

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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