The Dog Days Can Be Profitable
Summer! Simply hearing the word brings joy. The days are long, the nights are fun and every weekend feels like a vacation. This is also a great season for radio stations, as the warm air draws the biggest crowds to station events.
If your station calendar isn’t set yet, what are you waiting for?
To get your planning started, take a gander at these time-tested activities that will help you reconnect with your audience and (in most cases) generate additional sponsorship revenue all summer long.
I. “MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AT THE PARK”
Kick off summer for your listeners with an offer they can’t refuse, by joining up with your local minor or major league ballpark. Even though the clock is ticking fast, it’s probably not too late to call the group ticket office and propose that they offer a discount deal exclusively to your listeners.
You’ll gladly promote it for free if they offer you two-for-one tickets, half-off hot dogs and free snow cones for the kids. If you have SMS capability, you can send out a special pass to a mobile phone, which your listeners show at the box office.
Kris Allen, 2009 American Idol winner, shows off Zorro at
the 13th Annual Pet-A-Palooza held by KMXB Mix 94.1 FM in Las Vegas. Credit: Scott Harrison
Maybe your morning personality can throw out the first pitch or join the stadium announcer in welcoming fans.
II. “THE WXXX JUNE BIKEFEST”
Have you noticed the surge in people who bike for exercise and fun? Ride the coattails of the trend and ask one of the larger bike stores in your area to hold a Bikefest Weekend.
Kick things off Saturday with a full day of free tune-ups and special sale prices on ancillary equipment like helmets. Finish on Sunday with a group ride on local trails, perhaps with a small entry fee to benefit a charity.
To draw attention to the weekend, give away a bike on a weekday leading up to the event. Have listeners register at the store, or on your website or Facebook page, and announce names on the air, giving people 10 minutes to call in and claim the bike. Do it every hour on the appointed day until you get a winner.
Once you have your winner, congratulate them and plug the event.
III. “THE INDEPENDENCE DAY CHILI BATTLE”
This is a July 4 weekend you can build up over a number of years; start small and let the event grow from there.
Step one: Find a good outdoor location that is grill-ready.
Step two: Invite a group of cooks to compete over who makes the best chili.
The cooks should make enough extra chili to allow the crowd to taste test.
You’ll need celebrity and authentic food critics to judge, too. Of course, the cooks will run out of chili eventually, so make certain you’ve got a few vendors to sell additional food and beverages.
Bands are a wonderful addition to the festivities, but this does add another layer of complexity in terms of stage, sound system and sometimes permits.
Decide if you want to charge admission and sell in a title sponsor who will be in all the on-air and Web mentions.
This is another event that could benefit from charity involvement. However, before you sign with a charity, decide upfront if you want to “own” this event — because you’re going to do it for years to come — or if you’d like the charity to control most of the details.
(Sometimes this kind of event can become large over time; without a proper understanding, even a contract, it’s easy for a conflict over ownership to develop.)
IV. “DOG DAYS OF AUGUST"
Solicit pet pictures — dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, etc. — and post all the photos on your website. Have your listeners rate them based on cuteness, but do not show the results. Invite all the participants to your “Dog Days” Party to announce the finalists.
Suggested location: the parking lot outside a favorite local pet store.
To make the party bigger, bring in pet specialists — tables and booths with vets, animal trainers, dog walkers, groomers, pet sitters, etc. Let the owners parade their pets across a stage for all to see. Then bring up your finalists and have the crowd vote by applause for the winner.
Oh yes, be sure and serve — what else? — hot dogs!
The author is president of Lapidus Media. Email him at email@example.com.