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Unleash the Power of Pets

Whether through events or photo contests, dogs and cats add opportunities

One of the most predictable radio talents I ever worked with was a dog.

The backstory: Our morning guy, Paul Harris, got a call from a listener who said he had dog that could predict the weather. At first, Paul didn’t believe him, but of course thought it would make a funny one-time bit. Little did he know that Cindy the Weather Dog would become part of his show for the next six years.

Cindy’s owners would open the door for her in the morning before they left for work. If she wouldn’t go outside, this indicated that it was going to rain. When Cindy did decide to venture outside, it would mean that it would not rain that day. Paul found that, over time, Cindy had 90 percent accuracy.

When the station challenged all the local TV weather people, nobody would compete against her. Who wants to lose to a dog?

Let us now unleash the power of pets to help your station make one more powerful connection with listeners.


Pet adoption is a serious concern in the United States, and it’s one of those rare issues that crosses political and even economic lines.

Here’s a terrific activation you can model: Since 2015, the nationally-syndicated “Johnjay & Rich Show” has found more than 500 permanent homes for dogs with their #LovePup annual campaign.

When you’re dealing with dogs it is easier to get local and national celebrities involved, which of course adds flair to the entire affair. This effort has had support from Selena Gomez, Zedd and Enrique Iglesias.

Fun fact: The team’s more general #LoveUp project started accidentally when auto-correct changed Johnjay’s friend’s text from “love it” to “love up.” The wonderful charity reminds people to pay it forward and spread the love. And #LovePup was a natural extension of it to help our canine friends, with the bonus of an easy-to-remember hashtag.

When conducting gatherings with a significant number of canines, make sure to involve a non-profit that has experience handling dogs in mass numbers. You don’t want dog fights — or human fights over dog fights!

And remember to include cleanup in the business plan.

Here’s a large event where dogs bring their humans to a 5K Mutt Walk & Run. If a dog can’t run, it can walk or simply be carried. The exercise is followed by tons of fun and music at — can you guess? — Woofstock!

The Scripts stations in the Ozarks — KTTS, KSGF, KSPW, KRVI — team up annually with the Humane Society of southwest Missouri to hold these big, happy events, bringing awareness about homeless pets and raising money for the charity.

Each summer in Cleveland, WQAL(FM), WNCX(FM), WKRK(FM) and WDOK(FM) focus on man’s best friend with their annual Dog Paddle & Pet-A-Palooza. The event features adoption, an animal safety seminar and vendor booths.


For those of you who like the idea of bringing dogs and other animals into your sphere but don’t have a large enough staff to execute such a plan, there is another way to participate. Pet pictures!

Solicit for pics on-air and through social media, and you’ll be flooded with pet pixels each time you do it.

Add fun by conducting a Cutest or Homely-But-Adorable photo contest on your station website. The winners get something from your pet store sponsor, like a year’s worth of pet food or a grooming session. As you receive the photos, generate wider participation by sending an auto-response to entrants encouraging each to have family and friends vote for their pet.

Before anyone barks at me about not mentioning cats, I am well aware that some people are dog people, while others are cat people. In the last two minutes, I’m betting another 3,000 cat videos have been posted to YouTube. Whether you go with cats or dogs, one thing is for sure: You don’t typically have to be concerned with talent fees.