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Monday Memo: Retire ‘Trivia’

| June 24, 2019

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I’m NOT saying don’t do call-in contests that ask listeners to think.  Do that!  Even folks who don’t call-in will be talking-back to the radio. And with ratings being a memory test, anything that makes people more-active listeners will help.

What I’m saying is don’t call your call-in contest “trivia,” for four reasons:

  1. Google makes it unnecessary for listeners to think. Whatever you’re asking is answered on the smartphone that’s already stealing radio staples like news, weather, and traffic.  It’s too easy for contest regulars.
  2. The term “trivia” itself is dated. Trivial Pursuit was the 70s.
  3. “Trivia” isn’t a benefit statement, and doesn’t make money. Instead name the contest after an advertiser/prize.  Make it Kurt’s Karwash Kwiz.
  4. Most of all, I recommend against use of “trivia” because the listeners you – and your advertisers – want the most are busy people. Their life is such a blur that they don’t have time for anything trivial.  But they would like to win a swell prize, and you will benefit from causing them to notice that-they’re-listening.

Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  He is the author of “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” an instant download available exclusively from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner on this page.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America. Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice