I was reading an article on national contesting..you know,“win $1,000 every hour,” with some kind of tag line (right now likely relating the pandemic). As I started thinking about it, I realized what was missing in both the commentary and reality: The Payoff.
As I’ve been grinding on the treadmill lately, I’ve been exposed to game shows I haven’t watched in years: The Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal and Family Feud. Part of the show is the audience interaction between Drew Cary, Wayne Brady and Steve Hardy. But can you imagine if the shows didn’t show the players going for…and frequently winning..the big prize?
“OK, Janie Douglas and Billy Smith are our Showcase Finalists…we’ll let you know tomorrow who won!”
“You can see Doors Number 1, 2 and 3. There’s a prize worth $20,000 behind one of them. Robert Jones will be trying to win it. Good luck Bob. That’s our show for the day…see you tomorrow.
In other words, showing the game, but not the person winning it.
It’s laughable, right? But that’s what radio stations are doing ever day!
“Tune in to win your chance to “pay your monthly mortgage” as we give away $1,000 every hour, every day! Keep listening to text the keyword “month” and you could win!
That’s it, with most stations… no Payoff! It’s a national contest, right? In Peoria, who cares if Dorothy Gale from Wichita is a winner. That becomes self defeating in the event to “kind of fool” the listener that it’s a local contest. (Yes, the rules are specific, and many listeners have caught on)
Go back to when a station actually gave away $1,000 locally. There would be a big build up. The (Live) personality would play the game, and then give the prize away! (not to mention getting a huge charge out of it). You would re-air the “winning moment” many times, and cross promote it for at least a day or two, sometimes a week. You’d get the winner into the studio, put them on the air, get a picture for the website, and create more promos.
You excited your listener base. You created that elusive viral nature of radio. You branded yourself as a station that gives away big money!
Now, we’ve diluted the value. Once you give away $1,000 an hour, for 12 hours, over five days, for six weeks, the audience doesn’t get excited anymore. At best, we mention when there is a local winner!
$1,000 isn’t a million, but it’s “scream worthy” for a listener. We used to make it even bigger than it is. Now we make it significantly smaller.
$1,000 a week is better than a $1,000 an hour…if the Payoff is there.