It is more than a little interesting that during the same week that Greater Media's Buzz Knight praised FMQB's U2 3 Nights event, one of his own stations was pulling off another historic moment of their own.
I am obviously a shameless fan of Greater Media, especially in the current environment. (Yes, I work for them in several markets, but there are reasons why.) In the midst of radio industry downturns and cutbacks when it seems like we can't catch a break, it gives me hope when I watch the video of WMMR's "Cardboard Classic." Hosted by Preston & Steve - but a labor of love from the entire station - this event provides many benefits at a time when radio needs all the positive attention it can get. In many ways, it's a throwback to the days when radio station events were attention-getting, and the attractions that local papers and TV stations fought to cover.
Let's work down the list.
1. It's big. While everything is being slashed and downsized, WMMR continues to pull off the big event. The 3rd annual "Cardboard Classic" was a sell-out for the Jack Frost ski folks, and helps to positively separate them from every one of their competitors.
2. It's all about audience involvement. Listeners - and their creativity - are the stars. Yes, the prizes are nice, but I would bet that's not what motivates Philly folks to spend hours creating works of art from cardboard to compete in this event. (And you have to wonder that with all this creativity, how come we couldn't get some of these MMR listeners to figure out how to straighten out the economy?)
3. It's local. Yes, it's great when radio can show its network reach and national footprint, but here's an event that is intensely local. You could try to replicate this event in other markets, but the reality is that the "Cardboard Classic" is really all about WMMR and Preston & Steve.
4. It's multi-media. While in many ways, the "Cardboard Classic" is totally old school, MMR updates it with fantastic video coverage. This attracts eyeballs back to the station website, while bringing the event to the station's entire cume (and beyond).
5. It's a sponsor win. How wonderful is this event for Coors Lite, and how does "Cardboard Classic" help to positively separate them from the myriad of similar beverages trying to raise their market share? Without going too far, MMR really sold this event, and Coors Lite is one of the big winners. Someone in their marketing department must be feeling good about the decision to go with radio - and WMMR.
6. It's fun. During one of the worst winters on record in the midwest/northeast when it seemed like nothing was going well, here's a way for lots of Philadelphians to forget their troubles, and spend a morning feeling good about themselves, life, and their favorite radio station.
7. It can still be done. Does this station have more resources than many others? Truth be told, they do. But what you'll see in this video is a reminder that big events produced by big brands are still possible. Maybe many programmers and jocks reading this can no longer operate on this scale, but "Cardboard Classic" is a reminder that if you continue to think big and focus on entertaining the audience in a unique way, it is possible for radio to be that unique source of local entertainment. When listeners can't afford to dine out, pay for concerts, or attend sporting events, here're lift tickets for $9.33 - a price that is affordable for everyone.
Congratulations to Bill Weston, Preston & Steve, and the entire MMR management and staff on another "Cardboard Classic" victory. After watching the video, it's hard not to feel inspired by what you've accomplished.