Paige Nienaber’s Midweek Idea Dump: Care & Training Your Teens


(By Paige Nienaber) About a decade ago I was discussing a high school promotion with a Top PD and he stopped me and said, “We’re not a teen station. We’re 18-34.” I wanted to point out that 18 and 19 were actually teens but I had a rocky relationship with this client and snark would have gotten me nowhere. But I did suggest that if he didn’t start cultivating and nurturing the kids, that in a few years, he’d be screwed.

And he is.

You don’t have to become a teen station to get the teens. You just need to occasionally acknowledge their existence. Throw them a bone once in a while. Like?

Wild in San Francisco has done a great job over the years of selling dances to schools. (DJ, sound and lights) This has allowed them to maintain a presence in the schools.

Even with thin resources, most of us have access to a sound-and-light show and DJ, so do a “most texts” contest and award a prom

Since Marconi was an intern, having cheerleaders on the air has been a home run. 

When CBS launched AMP in Boston, they did it with a “soft launch” and 10,000 songs with no jocks. A couple of months into it their first PD arrived and emailed me, “No one knows this station exists” to which I replied, “Ya think?” He needed humans on the air and he needed them quick, so, for a month, every weeknight the night show was done by a high school squad. It wasn’t an in-studio visit: they were the jocks with Dan running the board. He did a brilliant job of cherrypicking the schools so they were all from key zips. The girls handled the in-school marketing and by God they got some ears doing this.

If you have some movie screening tickets, save a few pairs for school papers so they can send someone to review the film.

‘HYT in Detroit did Team Of The Week. Not just in the football season but throughout the entire school year, every Thursday night a school team would be in. The Girls Volleyball team from Romulus. The Boys Swim team from Livonia. The Girls Gymnastics team from Grosse Point. It was sponsored by Hungry Howies and the kids went back to school with a trophy for their case.

Hands down the best school campaign right now is Crash The Concession Stand as done by WIXX in Green Bay. Every Friday night in the Fall they go to a football game and take over the concession stand, making a matching donation to whatever club or organization was running the stand (through a client).

Teens dictate trends and Radio really needs to be a trend right now.

And now on with the Dumpage.


One of the stations is throwing “the ultimate” bachelorette party for a winner. There were no less than three BIG bachelorette parties at my hotel the other night. They were large, well-organized, and raucous.

I’d send the guy(s) from the morning show out to tag along on one of these and get a glimpse at how the other gender celebrates one of these occasions. Kind of did this with Albie Dee when we were doing Friday Night Live at WPGC and he gave me the wheel, jumped out of the van and into a limo of women, and did about 30 minutes on cell from the rolling party. Amazing-sounding Radio.

A #1 Idea

We’ve all done some variation of “bounce back contesting” where you hit concertgoers with a song to listen for the next day to win tickets to the next show you’re doing.

What if you plastered porta potties at your next event with the song or the word? You need to get around Prize-Chance-Consideration but that can be done if there are porta-potties outside the main gate.

And then… here’s a Sales guy who should have a smiley face on his report card. With Froggy 92.9’s Country Summer a few years ago in Santa Rosa, an AE with a DUI attorney client, plastered the potties with stickers that had a phone number for the business. The concert was sponsored by a beer and the police were known to lurk and pull people over as they left.

Old Man Wilbur

Great campaigns have great spokespeople and as exciting as a person with a killer voice can be, sometimes you can do more.

Prize Closets (or “Prize Vault” at Power 96) are a great example. Kiss in Albany had Tammy The Ticket Intern who started the summer as a nice, sweet young college student whose job was to handle the ticket inventory. The story evolved and by the end of the summer, she was a deeply irresponsible and corrupted young woman.

102 Jamz in Orlando had a prize vault in Sub Sector J, about 200 feet below the service, and an old man (modeled on the security guard in “Men In Black”) who was happy to have visitors and would ask things like, “Whatever happened with that Watergate thing?”

From Cat Thomas at Beasley/Las Vegas:

We had both Kendrick Lamar & Post Malone tickets for the on-sale.  Instead of doing something like Pick A Ticket, we are using a morning show character “Old Man Wilber.”  We put him in charge of the prize closet for the Summer of 1000 Tickets and basically when we get a caller, Old Man Wilber will go into the prize closet can pick a pair of tickets for the winner. “We have some lines like “Oh Look… a pass to Treasures (strip club). I’ll just stick that in my pocket – I guess it’s now the summer of 999 tickets! Oh, here is a pair of Kendrick Lamar tickets for you!” (Winner awarded Kendrick Tix).

Construction Worker Wednesday

This is 97 Rock’s contribution to at-work marketing. Every Wednesday a food truck delivers breakfast to a work site. Steal this.

Spinners Choice

For the CBS SPF series in Las Vegas, Power in Miami used a theater of the mind slot machine that they had in the studio and that the staff had “liberated” from a casino cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale. The idea was that the hourly caller would get a yank and you would win whatever came up on the reels: concert tickets, swimwear, movie passes and once a day a flyaway.

One of the stations is in a market with several casinos in the region that all spend money and all have summer concert lineups. With one of these advertisers they’re going to do the virtual slot: yank, hear the spinning, and then three artists who are playing there this summer will “come up” on the reels. Night Ranger (with one original member), the Georgia Satellites, and Mickey Thomas’ Starship. I can still rock in America so I’d choose Night Ranger and those would be the tickets I’d get.


One of the stations has a home furnishings client that wants to sponsor some rodeo ticket contesting. Well, you could do caller ten or something on social media or a gallery or have people enter digitally… or you could take 11 callers and assign them each a number between 2 and 12. And then Facebook Live a jock throwing two dice. Whatever they throw, determines the winner.

Could be done as Throw & Go for pretty much any variety of ticket.

Camp 99.7

One of the Albany stations used “camp” as a summer umbrella, which really was pretty cool. The airstaff were counselors. They got into the thematics heavily. This is actually even cooler and as a guy who spent all of his summers at camp, it hits me just right. 99.7 NOW-FM in San Francisco has partnered with the YMCA to send kids to a week of sleep-away camp. Just freaking cool.

Purse Bingo

One of the stations was looking for something for Thursday nights for a bar/restaurant client. They blew them away with another event so the client is coming back for more. This is a good thing.

Y94 has done Purse Bingo on Wednesdays. The client pops for the purses and Zero and Amy run a night of bingo and purse giveaways. Big? It got ticketed by the fire department for overcrowding.

Kid Life Crisis

Many of the greatest promotions started with a name… and then people who scrambled to build something around it. Kind of like “Screw Over Your Ex” at 97.9 The Boss in Atlantic City.

Mike Campbell has supplied the name, now, what could you do with it?

  • How about creating some events, activities, or resources for parents who have run out of things to keep their kids busy during the summer?
  • How about doing a week of spa treatment contesting the first week of September for moms who have survived the summer?
  • Maybe it’s a podcast by one of the talent who is going through the experience of being a parent for the first time.

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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