Tales from Da Basement – WIDB Narrowcasting Promotes Party

WIDB Narrowcasting Promotes Party
By Gary Goldblatt

1973 was my first year in the party business and I learned early on that relentless promotion was the key, preferably via two or more sources. One time, however, I successfully promoted a party with a simple yet effective plan involving one source focused on a particularly desirable audience.

I was sitting around the living room of Lewis Park 21A with my roommates, Bob Korch, Jim Kolo and WIDB Chief Engineer Ed Kasovic and we were discussing promotion for an upcoming party. Naturally, we wanted a good turnout, but specifically we wanted attendees of the female persuasion. Suggestions of posting flyers around campus or doing direct mail were rejected before I had a brainstorm: because we had control of what WIDB programming was being broadcast to any of the ten to fifteen station transmitters around campus, we could patch a commercial for the party just to Mae Smith and Neely towers, which at the time were populated solely by women.

1974, Lewis Park, 21A from left: Bob, Gary, Jimbo, Ed. Not pictured: Bingo.

So I produced a spot for the party. The main obstacle I encountered was in writing the copy. How does one make a C’dale-style blowout with nothing but beer, youknow and very loud music appeal to women? All I remember is saying something about (don’t laugh) the quality of the men at the party. You can hear the spot here, but as far as I know no air-checks exist of it being aired in Neely and Mae Smith.

It was more tedious to execute the plan than we anticipated. To run the spot it took two persons, one in production and one in Master, and if we were going to run this twice an hour for five hours, then Ed and I had to be there for five hours. We couldn’t ask anyone else from the station to help us, and we had stuff to do for the party. So we ran it five or six times on Friday, and came back Saturday for a few more.

Fast-forward to party night and, as usual, the first 43 guests were male. But then I noticed a group of women coming in, then another, then two or three more. I waded in, introduced my self, offered amenities and made conversation.

ME: “So, you live on campus?”

CO-ED: “Yes in Neely.”

ME: “Neely. How’d you find out about the party?”

CO-ED: “Everybody was talking about it. A couple girls said they heard it on the radio. I heard it on the radio too. And it was YOUR VOICE on there, wasn’t it?”

ME (stammering): “Uh, yes. Yes it was me.”

CO-ED: “This is my first year here, and I think it’s so cool that all you have to do is turn on the radio to find out where the party is! This is great! And I brought all my friends.”

Then she started to detail exactly what she was doing in her room when the spot came on the radio, we talked some more, one thing led to another, and the rest of the story is too much of a cliché even for this space.

But the AWEsome power of WIDB and all that stuff the professors told you about “narrowcasting”—it’s all true and it worked for me.

2 comments on “Tales from Da Basement – WIDB Narrowcasting Promotes Party

  1. Randy on said:

    What was the rest of the audience hearing during these narrowcasts?

    • The regular spot scheduled on the program log. The on-air jock was doing his regular show, and when it was time for a break, he would start a :60 cart called for in the program log, and Ed, on standby at the patch panel, would throw in patches that “interrupted” the on-air audio feed at that very second (only for Neely & Mae Smith) and replace it with the party spot, which I was running on the cart machine in production. Ed cued me when he threw in the patches. The party spot was timed to end when the on-air spot ended, so when Ed pulled out the patch, everything was re-connected seamlessly.

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