Rigged Radio Station Contest Perceptions & New Webinars

We’re busy crunching the numbers on NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study XV and getting ready for the first installment of our spring webinar series: 20 Things to Put Your Station on Top of the 2020 Ratings, kicking off on Thursday, February 13. Register for any of three sessions at nuvoodoo.com/webinars.

While this new sample comprises nearly 4,000 persons ages 14-64, it has over 3200 interviews 14-54 to trend with our past studies. One of the questions we kept in this new study was a check on the perception that radio station contests are rigged.

At NuVoodoo, we’ve been shouting for several years that, with the growing profile of group contests, some stations seem to be endlessly describing the chances that listeners have to win one contest or another. But, with many of those winners coming from sister stations in distant cities, they rarely talk about the listeners who eventually win the contest. We picked up skepticism among listeners – and we believe the skepticism is connected to this lack of transparency in contest procedures.

The skepticism has grown steadily over the past year, now accounting for 37% of our sample of 14-54’s overall, and over half of those respondents who profile as likely to participate in Nielsen’s meter or diary methodology. Remember: people who think they can’t win a contest are people who won’t play a contest.

While we didn’t repeat our inquiries into what fuels this skepticism and what the remedies are, we feel very comfortable leaning on what we’ve learned in previous studies:

  • The skepticism is borne out of not knowing who wins the contests or how to find out who wins the contests, for that matter. Not knowing the who, when, where, why of it all, listeners fill in the blanks with all manner of suspicions – that the prizes aren’t really given out or the hosts give the prizes to their friends or that stations select photogenic winners who’ll look good in their advertising.
  • The solutions remain centered on increasing transparency throughout the contest cycle: making sure contest-actives have an easy way to learn who won (pages on your website, contest-centric emails they can register for, push notifications or text messages with information that someone won a prize).
  • The most important solution is to make sure you get winners on the air, even if they’re from another market (in that case you’d skip mentioning that they’re not from your market). If you get a winner for any contest in your market, it becomes fair game to celebrate that winner across all the stations in your local cluster.

If your goal is to reduce the suspicion that no one wins your stations’ contests, getting proof of performance on the air is your most powerful weapon.