Growing Contest Prizes = Growing Ratings?

Robert Redford’s wonderful movie Quiz Show chronicles the scandal of the TV trivia game show Twenty-One, back in the 1950’s. Playing an executive from one of the show’s sponsors, Martin Scorsese gets to summarize why people watched the show, “You see, the audience didn’t tune in to watch some amazing display of intellectual ability. They just wanted to watch the money.”

Lottery ticket sellers watch demand go through the roof and lines go out the door when jackpots reach record levels. The higher the numbers, the bigger the fantasy of big ticket winnings. You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than of winning one of those jackpots, but people love the fantasy and they love watching the money.

We know that the budgets for radio contests never get into the rarefied air of those for multi-state lotteries. We also know that as more and more stations jump into promotion of $500 five times a day or $1,000 per hour group contests, it gets harder and harder for a station contest to stand out from the pack and make an impression. NuVoodoo Marketing Guru Mike O’Connor made the connection, however, “There’s something about the escalating drama of ever-increasing jackpots that stirs contest players into an ever-increasing frenzy.”

Some early-adopter clients have jumped into the pool and the results have been substantial. NuVoodoo’s Progressive Payday™ has moved the needle for Country, Classic Hits, AC, Hot AC and Urban AC by racking up quarter hours from workplace listening. A top-10-market AC client shifted from their traditional Name Game promotion to Progressive Payday™ and have seen game-changing growth.

Mike and I review the details behind the creation of Progressive Payday™ and the execution of the program in a 20-minute webinar you can find at We’re planning a deeper dive on this prizing and promotion strategy in our next NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study that we’re preparing now to field at the start of the new year. We’re continuing our program to make ourselves and our clients better informed about playing the ratings game in 2019 and beyond.