Twice in the last year I’ve found myself at international radio conferences and one of the things attendees will ask me, is to what do I attribute the staggeringly low participation rate in our on-air promotions.
“Because they suck” is just too vague so I try to explain the reasons I think we’ve over-thought and STILL dumbed down contesting so that no one cares.
TV has “game shows”. Big gaudy spectacles of noise and vibrant visuals that attract audiences of people to watch a select few who have gotten the call and some plane tickets to Los Angeles.
Radio has “contests” which are drab, uninteresting and immediately forgettable.
Disagree? Then try to explain why fewer than 1 in 10 listeners are compelled to pick up the phone and try to win $1000.
I was hired in 1991 by United Broadcasting in San Francisco to try and help this floundering ship called KSOL. After a few months, sitting in the GM’s office with the PD and Jerry Clifton, the consultant on the phone, Jerry declared “This station sucks. We need to blow it up.” And 7 days later Wild was launched.
Out of the gate we did fun, brash, attention-generating, cume-building promotions but, at some point, Clifton happened to be doing a market visit during a two week period when I’d put something that just wasn’t “wild” on the air.
Jerry: “Why is this contest on the air?”
Me: “To try to get people to listen?”
Jerry: “Well, it won’t because there’s no reason for it to be on the air.”
And he introduced me to his concept of a Promo Arch.
He said a great promotion is like a movie. There’s a beginning. There’s a middle. Stuff that’s unexpected could happen. And then there’s an end. And if you did it right, then there’s a sequel. Read more…