Friday, October 22, 1999

Radio contest challenges rivals

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        At least one Cincinnati radio station is trying to cash in on the lack of local winners in Clear Channel's contests on WEBN-FM (102.7) and WVMX-FM (94.1).

        Advertising for the WKRQ-FM (101.9) “Q102 $500,000 Free Cash Payoff” contest is splashed with the words “ALL LOCAL WINNERS!”

        Another says: “Not a nationwide, multi-station (toll-free) 888 number like others do.”

        Others, of course, refer to the WEBN-FM “Frog's Really Wide World of Sports” trip give-aways which I wrote about Wednesday, and the “MIX94.1 Million Dollar Big Money Song” contest.

        Clear Channel's contests, which aren't promoted here as national, “have been driving us crazy for a long time,” says Tony Phillips, Q102 marketing director. Q102, WGRR-FM and WYLX-FM are owned by CBS' Infinity Broadcasting, the nation's second-largest radio company behind Clear Channel.

        Q102 reads numbers of “checks” mailed to Tristate residents this fall at 7 a.m., 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Listeners win $1,000 to $10,000. (“Checks” also are available at Arby's or the Web site.)

        After my Wednesday column, WGRR-FM also began touting that its “WGRR Flyin' Drivin' give-away” was strictly local. The oldies station will give away six Hawaiian trips and a new Ford Explorer through Nov. 26, says Meme Wagner, promotion director.

        “Everything that WGRR gives away is only given away here,” she says.

        WEBN-FM's contest sounds local, but actually 50 Clear Channel stations are giving away the same 20 trips for two to the 2000 World Series, Summer Olympics in Australia, Wimbledon in London, the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii, the Super Bowl and other events.

        That's why no Tristate residents had won through the first 16 days of the 20-day contest. (It ends today.) WEBN-FM listeners are competing with stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland, Baltimore, Syracuse, Dayton (WTUE-FM) and Lexington (WKQQ-FM).

        Listeners must know the trip destination revealed by the stations, and then be the 25th caller when all 50 stations simultaneously announce that lines are open.

        “MIX94.1” listeners have slightly better odds at winning a contest started Sept. 20. They're only competing with 25 other stations, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, St. Louis, Tampa, Cleveland, Dayton (WMMX-FM) and Lexington (WMXL-FM).

        WVMX-FM rules promise to award at least $1,000 each weekday through Nov. 30 to the 25th caller who knows the “Big Money Song.” At least one daily prize will be worth $50,000. Each winner will be entered in a $100,000 grand prize drawing Nov. 30.

        GETTING WASTED: ABC's Wasteland drama was buried again in the ratings for its second telecast. Wasteland was ABC's lowest-rated show last week (89 of 131). It was sixth at 9 p.m. Thursday behind NBC's sitcoms (Frasier/Stark Raving Mad), Fox's baseball playoffs, Chicago Hope, Charmed and the WWF Smackdown!

        Wasteland could be canceled by Thanksgiving.

        BLUE MOVE: NYPD Blue may move to Thursdays, reports the New York Times. Either time slot isn't pretty:

        • The Dennis Franz-Rick Schroder series could replace Wasteland at 9 p.m., going against NBC's popular Frasier and CBS' revitalized Chicago Hope. (That means NYPD's blue language would air at 8 p.m. Central.)

        • Or it could air at 10 p.m. Thursday, opposite NBC's top-rated ER.

        The move is prompted by strong ratings for ABC's Once and Again, which was to give up NYPD's 10 p.m. Tuesday slot in November, then resume on Mondays in January. ABC folks fear that moving the Sela Ward drama would increase ratings for CBS' Judging Amy (No. 7 last week).

        RERUN WAR: The networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, UPN and WB — have told TV listings services they will no longer label previously aired episodes as reruns, USA Today reports.

        For years, the networks have complained that they're held to a double standard. Syndicated or cable reruns of Seinfeld, Frasier, Law & Order and other off-network shows are not labeled as repeats (r) by most listing services.

        By flagging repeats, networks are “discouraging people from tuning in to programs,” CBS researcher David Poltrack told USA Today.

        USA Today says the issue came to a head last month when two new fall series began repeating days later on cable without the rerun label. ABC's Once and Again airs 11 p.m. Friday on Lifetime; NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs 11 p.m. Sunday.

        The change may not be noticeable. TV Data (which supplies listings to the Enquirer) and Tribune Media Services (which serves USA Today) will continue to denote network repeats using program descriptions in their computers. TV Guide has declined comment.

        CORRECTION:WRRM-FM (98.5) has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suburban rapist being sought by Tristate authorities. An incorrect figure was published Wednesday.

        AROUND THE DIAL:Peter Jennings' World News Tonight will devote about half of its newscast today (6:30 p.m., Channels 9, 2) to the Internet.


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