My memory is not as good as it used to be, but I do remember the contests on KAAY. The "For the People" bumper strip contest is the one that is uppermost on my mind. It was a classic. In Pine Bluff, Buddy Dean conducted a contest in 1978 or 1979, where the station was giving away $1,410.00 (for 1410 AM, KOTN's frequency). That year he got a bit miffed, because after only a few clues, someone found the prize document underneath a mailbox at a street corner. Needless to say, I was driving all over Pine Bluff (as were many others) to attempt to locate it. Unfortunately, it wasn't me that found it.
When I was running a movie theatre in Pine Bluff in 1978-1980, I was also working part-time at KCLA "Razorback Country" there in the city. I conducted a contest at the theatre, with none other than a Mr. A.J. Lindsey, where patrons received a ballot at the theatre and numerous locations, and voted for who they thought would win the six top academy awards. The grand prize was a complete waterbed outfit from A.J.'s Waterbed Store. There were other prizes too. The promotion/contest won a circuit award from Commonwealth Theatre Circuit (now defunct). It was a great contest. We got hundreds of entries and it was successful in large part because of A.J. Little did I know at the time that our paths would cross again years later, when I began doing research for graduate school on KAAY. We just never know, do we?
Contests with radio stations are great ways to promote listener involvement. I wish the stations would do more in this area.
Radio stations have always relied on giving away movie passes. They make great small contest prizes. Everyone wants them. The movie distributors are clamping dowm on allowing theaters to give away passes. Many movies now carry the phrase "no passes".
Contests are extremely important in radio. We felt they built audience and helped ratings. In fact, at a point in time Pulse would put an asterisk on your rating
if they felt you ran a contest that was completely aimed and artificially influencing ratings. One contest was an "answer your phone with........" and you will $1000, or "don't say hello
say KAAY 1090:. We never ran a don't say hello contest. THey were mostly aimed at surveys that relied on phone interviews surveys like Hooper.
Just a little thumbnail history as to how wound up in the above comment. I had just got married and returned to KAAY from Lin Broadcasting's TV station WAND in Decatur, Il. I moved into the sales department and was reasonably happy. At a broadcasters convention I met a new owner of KCLA in Pine Bluff. After a few days, I got a call with a job offer to manage KCLA. We moved to Pine Bluff. I spent several years managing KCLA. I had been doing some consulting for a station in St. Louis. That owner bought an FM in Kansas City. We moved to Kansas City to turn a country FM, black. We were picked by white folks. I then was offered Manager of KOKY in Little Rock. From there back to KCLA. I was interesting in owning a radio station but at that point in time, stations were already very expensive so I started looking at other businesses I could own. I decided Pine Bluff didn't have a waterbed store so I opened one. This led me out of broadcasting and to the contest mentioned in the comment above.