I liked the 90’s. My hair was strong, “Clarissa Explains It All” was the voice of a lost and restless generation and Radio was doing actual, wait for it, fun and compelling ‘stuff’.
And then…something happened. Someone who had failed at 4th grade math decided that less was in fact more and then PPM came along and everyone freaked out. Because that’s what we do. If Radio ran the most popular restaurant in town, we’d change the menu because the newspaper got a new food critic.
102 Jamz was the #1 station in Orlando for about 12 years and I can tell you the absolute moment when they lost. Dave Ferguson sent me some copy that they’d emailed over for him to voice. It was for a Universal Halloween Horror Nights ticket giveaway which, in that market, is GOLD. Dave asked “What is this shit?” in regards to a 17 second straight-to-the-point promo. I reached out to the Promo Director who replied (PD) just wants to get to the important stuff and get out.
This is a station that won Addy’s for contest promos. And then they became…unremarkable.
Remarkable is a great litmus test BTW.
But, suddenly, in 2017, a few things happened. Z-90 in San Diego brought back Epic 48. This is a 90’s promotion. A listener and guest get ambushed and whisked away for the 48 greatest hours of their lives. It’ not just a 90’s promotion, it’s a potential TV show.
Kiss in Austin did Kiss A Kia and got a ton of TV. This is not surprising. Since Marconi had listeners lay hands on a Model T, this kind of promotion has always gotten press. But I think that there’s an age range of Programmers who have never done a contest that got TV that were blown away. They’d never seen anything like this.
Star in Roanoke just had listeners trade up from a Fidget Spinner to a Ford. Another 90’s contest albeit with a different starting item.
So, looking into 2018, look back. What worked in the 80’s and 90’s and why did we ever stop doing these promotions? “Lawyers wouldn’t let us.” Did you ask? “It’s not PPM friendly.” What is? You’re not going to win by shutting up and trying to out iPod an iPod. “We have no money.” Who does?
Your goal should be to do at least one of these:
The 90’s were good and Radio is cyclical so they were bound to come back. And this is a good thing.