By Holland Cooke
Here comes October, which begins on the heels of another mass shooting, and with yet-another episode of the partisan Washington brinksmanship that has cost Congress in public approval polls, and threatens to relegate talk radio to a wearying caricature.
Meanwhile, the listeners that local retailers want most to see pull into the parking lot are buying pumpkins and candy and wondering who/what to dress up as. So Halloween affords radio an opportunity to be about what people are up to.
Call-in topic, sooner-than-later: Halloween costume ideas.
Thank me later for this one. At the moment, we’re between Harry Potter-size, movie-inspired costume characters.
And not only are frugal, harried parents imagination challenged. They themselves are invited to parties. So late-night talkers might play this differently than during the day when kiddos are listening in the minivan. ;)
Played properly, this topic WILL buzz.
This has Internet written-all-over-it.
As in the revenue now commonly referred to as “digital” when corporate barks for more, more, more.
Many listeners have digital photos of past years’ costumes. Consider a (sponsored) gallery on the station’s web site, using Picassa, a Google app, or some other web freebie.
Possibly an online contest rewarding prizes (from advertisers) for Best Costumes listeners came up with last year? This year’s imagination-challenged listeners will appreciate ideas.
Then, on Halloween, regardless of format, play “Monster Mash.”
THE WHOLE THING, not just a bumper that teases listeners.
- Uh, it’s Halloween.
- Talk stations shouldn’t be allergic to fun. For you, the living, this mash was meant, too.
- Many of today’s talk AMs played the Bobby “Boris” Pickett classic as a current when they were Top 40 stations in days of yesteryear – when it caught on in a flash — and before teenage P1s grew up to be today’s Baby Boomers. Check your station’s median age.
- Listeners will HEAR you, during the critical Fall survey period. Never forget: Arbitron’s diary-based methodology doesn’t measure what people listen to, it measures what they remember. You’re in a PPM market? Hey, awareness drives use, and this will attract attention alrighty.
So play it without warning. No set-up. Roll it cold out of the newscast…or let it seem to interrupt the show at another time. Your listeners will be humming it all day, remembering you. You’ll be a graveyard smash.
Follow HC @HollandCooke on Twitter and at www.HollandCooke.com. And meet him October 10 at Talkers/LA, where he will present “New Local Talk Radio Jobs in 2014: Why, Where, How to Prepare.”