I love this so much, for a bunch of reasons. But most of all, for the way this show knows how to turn a listener into a star on the air. it’s a perfect example of making a listener feel great about themselves because of the radio show they love. Radio personalities earn loyalty and build fans one at a time, and there are hundreds of small things that make a big difference in the fight to win friends and influence listeners.
When you hear this, you’ll realize once again how brilliant Kidd Kraddick was, and it continues with the cast to this day.
In this case, it’s a contest winner that steps into the spotlight and becomes a cast member.
This break really stood out to me, because it’s unusual for most radio stations. Normally, when executing contests, radio personalities and programmers are predictable. They believe in the concept that drama makes for great moments on the air, but apply the concept in typical ways when it comes to contesting.
The result is that we hear a non-winner caller before the actual winner is aired:
Talent: Hey, this is WXXX…Who’s this.
Listener: Hi, I was calling to win the prize. Am I the right caller?
Talent: Oh, no, sorry, you missed it by just one. You almost won, but no…you’re not the winner.
There’s no benefit to this type of call, no matter how playful and fun the personality thinks he or she is being. The listener is disappointed, the audience thinks you’re a jerk, it builds no real suspense or anticipation and everyone’s time is wasted.
This is the opposite of how to turn a listener into a star. And it does nothing to win friends and influence listeners.
How To Treat A Caller
Each caller on the air represents the entire radio audience. The way they are treated makes a statement about how the personality feels about all listeners. Yes, they take it personally because listeners take radio personally.
That caller is interested enough to do what was asked of them. They listened and took action. They actually called in to win. And their reward is that the air personality calls them a loser. Not literally, but figuratively.
Sometimes I hear several non-winner calls in a break. Personalities may take 2-3 calls before getting to the winner, or they air some calls after the prize has been awarded. I suppose they think it’s to back-sell the previous giveaway or build anticipation for the next chance to win. But it doesn’t work.
I get the intent, but it sends a subtle message that there are a lot more losers than winners, and the average person has little chance to win. By the way, the whole call in to win concept is not only dated, but ineffective, but that’s off-topic.
The Winner Call
Then there’s the actual winner call. You know, when talent is instructed to coax an excited response from the winning caller?
The problem is, they may be:
a) not really excited to win,
b) not an excitable personality,
c) shy or nervous or
d) in a place they can’t burst out in a scream.
So the DJ asks, “What are you going to do with all that money?”. And they usually say something exciting like, “Oh, probably just pay some bills”, because they haven’t thought about it, aren’t creative and lack the natural cleverness of air personalities.
Or, the personality will follow up with the gratuitous,
What station just made you a winner?
This usually gets a proper response, but it’s not natural and nobody listening really values the response as an endorsement. It’s not authentic. It’s more like a bribe. Kind of like the Uncle who asks the 5 year old “Who’s your favorite Uncle?” just after buying them ice cream.