Everything you do on the radio should be designed to appeal to emotions. That isn’t a big surprise, but can you do this with everything? How about contests and promotions?

If we created radio contests that were more like TV game shows, we would be much more effective. The producers of the shows spend a lot of time and money researching what works and what doesn’t. Then they design a program that attracts viewers. By paying attention and studying it, there’s a lot to learn from those game shows. When you dig in and analyze it, you’ll find that the producers can teach us how to build radio contests that appeal to emotions.

The most important thing radio should take from game shows is the play-along factor.Humans love to play games, and many of your listeners (not all, of course) are, indeed, human. We fill out Sudoku puzzles, play board games, watch game shows and compete with each other for Pictionary bragging rights.

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The TV games shows are all designed for the viewer to play along. Those contestants? As you’ll see, they are just props to make the game more entertaining.

But digging a little deeper reveals something even more fascinating. These shows are designed to appeal to emotions. Specifically, games appeal to the emotion of Greed.

This isn’t greed the way you normally think of it. It’s not greed to win cash or prizes, though incentives can be a powerful attraction on their own. This type of greed appeals to our sense of superiority, of feeling good about ourselves.

Contests Appeal to Emotions: Mostly Greed

Now keep in mind that this is more of a discussion on creating games as a contest. That’s quite different than a ratings-based contest designed to attract ratings respondents and drive quarter-hours. But, if you can find an idea that does both, you could have the ultimate ratings generating machine!

Here’s what radio can learn from game shows. We can apply every one of these elements in our contests, promotions and games.

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