Radio Contest Ideas: 8 Hot-Practical Ideas

In today’s post, I’m going to reveal 8 radio contest ideas.

You’re familiar with a contest, right?

"When opponents battle it out for a chance to win a prize." An easy off-air example is a pie-eating contest.

So without further ado, let’s get started with radio contest ideas:​

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WIN STUFF/Radio Contests Page


Do you have a "Win Stuff or Contest" page on your radio website? It’s a great place to showcase all the contests you're running at the moment.

You can provide extra info like how to participate, contest rules, prizes, etc. Take a leaf from Great Hits 98.1s website, and check out their "WIN STUFF" page.

1

Daily trivia


Game:

The host asks questions to a live caller. Alternatively, the quiz can be hosted on your website, allowing all website visitors to participate.

  • Questions: You can try multiple-choice questions, yes or no questions, Wh-questions, etc. If you're promoting a movie, you can ask questions about the lead actor. Hits stations ask pop culture questions.
  • Time Pressure: Find a way to add tension to the contest. The easiest way is by imposing a time limit.

How to Win

1. Getting all the questions correctly

Upon answering all the questions correctly, the prize can be awarded. However, if you feel that it is near impossible to do so, simplify the questions or increase the value of the prize or jackpot.

2. Award every right answer

You can have a trivia with 10 questions, and award a prize for each correct answer, for instance, $100 per correct answer. If someone gets all the answers right, they win a grand prize of $10,000. 

Name Ideas for Your Contest

a. Cant beat [Host's name]

b. The [Station Name] Daily Trivia

2

Tell us ___[Why or About]


The game:

Tell us the reason... Tell us a story about... Tell us about your experience with this product, etc

This radio contest idea entails multiple contestants sending in the reasons they should win the prize. For instance, if it's movie tickets, you may ask them: "Who are you going to take to watch the latest Avengers movie, and why?"

Submissions can be through an online form. Fans can DM you on social media, send audio clips or video clips, emails, or call in.

How to Win

Well, the listener has to offer up the best plausible reason or story. You can have a small team to vote for the best submission.

Examples:

aBlue Man Group Web Contest from KYXY

Entrants had to talk about the person who made their life happier and brighter for a chance to win tickets among other prizes.

b. Selling Horror Story

For this radio contest, listeners had to retell a grueling experience they had when they were trying to resell their stuff. It was sponsored by Cash Converters who help customers solve the typical flipping problems.

I also encountered a contest sponsored by Toyota. The company was giving out trucks to businesses. To qualify, listeners with registered businesses had to tell the radio station how a new truck would help their business run smoothly.

3

Location Name Mentions


The Game:

Want to reward your adherent listeners? The ones committed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Well, this is a simple radio contest idea.

If you’re in a city, simply mention a particular location for a set number of times a day. You can mention an area's name 3 times during the main broadcast hours. The listener living in that area should call in after they have heard the name 3 times for a chance to win a prize.

For instance, if you’re in London, choose one of the boroughs like Kensington and drop the name three times. You can even do it in one hour or throw the listeners off balance by also mentioning other locations to add in some fun.

How to Win

Once a caller calls in, you need a way to vet them and establish that they hail from the stated region. Ask for proof of their physical address..

Prize:

Cash works well as an incentive. Maybe, you can start with $100, and if someone fails to call in after you mention the location name, increase the amount to $100 and so on.

What can this contest achieve?

It could bring in new listeners from an area where your radio receives less listenership. You can even win listeners from a competitor’s stronghold.

4

Become the "nth" Caller


The Contest:

It’s a call-in type contest that you can execute if you have local listeners. People will call in, and you'll note the order of calls: caller 1, caller 2, caller 3, etc.

How to Win

Contestants have to listen for the cue to call in. You can select the 25th caller to win or the 9th caller, it’s all up to you.

Examples:

106.7 KJUG COUNTY in conjunction with Giant Chevrolet Cadillac ran a contest offering $50 fuel gift cards. To win, you just had to be caller number 25.

Title Ideas:

1. [Sponsor] FREE GIFT VOUCHERS ON [Station Name]
2. FREE [prize] to the Lucky Caller
3. The [Sponsors Name] Giveaway


Streaming & Call-in Contests.

Online radio streams have a lag of some seconds. Sometimes it is 3 seconds. The online player has to buffer to receive enough information before playback. Contestants tuning in via FM may beat you to the punch, especially for a radio contest where listeners are selected as per the order they called.


5

The Guessing Game


The Contest:

​One of the simplest radio station contest idea to try is this.

How to Win

The listener wins after making the correct guess. Owing to the broadness of this idea, you can have countless spin-offs.

For instance, hold some coins in your hand, and let them fall on a table or floor. The live-caller has to guess the number of coins that have fallen on the table.

Radio Contest Example: 

This example is straight from an Austrian radio station. And radios down under are pretty creative with their radio contests and giveaways.

It was a contest by 97.3 FM and was dubbed Bristane's Most Simple Radio Competition. The sponsor was Compare the Market.

When a listener was called, they had to guess the amount of cash Sergei (the company’s IT Meerkat) had saved by using Compare the Market – a platform that allows users to compare loans, mobile contracts, insurance, pet insurance, etc. 

The hosts gave clues by stating a higher and a lower amount, leaving room for the listeners to guess the right amount. The listener who guessed correctly won Sergie’s entire savings.

Contest Title Ideas:

1. Guess Your Way to Stone Cold Cash
2. The [Station Name] Guessing Contest
3. [Host Name] Out of Luck

6

Mystery Voice


The Game: 

The mystery voice is a classic radio contest, and it never gets tiresome. Calling it boring would be like calling monopoly dull. Even the participants are happy to listen in other contestants participate.

It gets people speculating. And many listeners may think they know the answer and keep calling hoping to get their calls picked. 

How to Win

The listener has to identify the mystery voice and say who it belongs to. Make the voice a celebrity or politician or someone famous. Don’t use a sound bite of your best friend or co-host...obvious stuff.

Prize Ideas

For this radio contest idea, money is the preferred gift but you can get creative and even offer merch.

Examples:

Check out the mystery voice by Lincs FM 102.2. Particularly, note that they list all the wrong guesses accompanying a short audio clip of the mystery voice. So listeners don’t have to wait for the voice to get played on the radio.

Shout out to Eagle Radio for this mystery voice video that will take you behind the scenes, and show you how to run a proper mystery voice radio contest.

7

Touch a Car Contest (Off Air)


The Game:

Touch a car is also a classic radio contest like mystery voice. Off-air contests feature participants competing outside the radio sphere, and the station’s role is to give fans back home updates on what’s happening. 

Such contests generate a lot of publicity. One of the most famous touch-a-car contest was in 1997 and gave rise to the hit documentary “Hands on a Hard Body.”

In 2017, 96.7 KISS FM held a kiss a car contest in partnership with Kia. Participants, all 20 of them, had to smooch the car until one final participant was left standing.

How to Win

The last person standing wins. But, if the contest doesn't seem to end after a set number of hours, and no one seems to give up, or the doctors are raising concerns over the safety of the participants, there is a way to end the contest.

For instance, in 2017 during the kiss a car contest, they randomly chose the winner from the last 7.

Examples

Head over to YouTube where you can watch footage from these radio contests.

1)
Hands-on a Hardbody 

2)
Kiss the Mustang

3)
Kia Car Kissing Contest in Texas

In the kiss-a-car radio contest participants were allowed to speak provided that they couldn't take their lips from the car.

8

Photo Contest


The game

It’s a social media-driven contest, so you need a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. Listeners share photos or videos. You need to give them special instructions or specify how they can win.

For instance, when Coca-Cola was printing names on bottles, some radio stations took to asking fans to share pictures of bottles bearing their name for a chance to win a prize.

Capitalize on holidays such as Mothers Day, Thanksgiving, Father’s Day, or Independence Day.

How to Win

The best photo or video will win. So, if you’re asking a mother and daughter duo to send in a picture of them decorating their Christmas tree, it should stand out and beat all other submissions. You might need a small team to vote on the best entries.

Examples 

Ahead of this year’s Halloween, WYPR is asking listeners to decorate pumpkins with art on current events such as the democratic debates. You can also carve the station’s logo on a pumpkin and win.

Purpose will Make Your Radio Contest Successful


Need a successful radio contest?

Have a clear end-goal you want the contest to achieve.

The radio contest must be simple, interesting, lively, and not another chore you have to check off your list. 

Big prizes aren't important. 

Go for smaller, unique prizes instead.

On top of everything, enjoy the contest.

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