MediaHQ.com dissects a selection of radio stunts from 2015 ahead of the release of the latest JNLR listenership figures.
Which stunts paid off and which fell on deaf ears? Tomorrow’s figures will tell.
iRadio’s Three Strangers and a Wedding stunt — launched last May, when marriage was on everybody’s mind with the referendum — garnered a lot of media attention.
Dubbed “the world’s greatest social experiment” no less, it claimed to generate a lot of interest among its listeners, including those who were appalled at the lack of respect for the “institution” of marriage (their website preemptively included a complaints page).
Three candidates were whittled down from a host of entries, one bride and two possible grooms, with the bride having to chose between who she would marry live on air.
To add to the mystery, their names were kept a secret so they bride couldn’t run any background checks over the six-week period before the wedding. She could only go on what she learned through their on-air conversations.
The wedding took place at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone with a host of sponsors covering the clothes, photography, entertainment and stag and hen dos.
Alas, it was not meant to be: The couple — real names Nigel Finegan and Ann Marie O’Neill — split after one week while they were on their “honeymoon” in Turkey.
Swapping shifts at Today FM
The weekday presenters at Today FM got to experience a day in each other’s shoes with the Trading Places promo.
Details of which presenter was going where was cunningly revealed only on the day.
The bold move was very much on brand with Today FM’s humorous output — presenters happily poked fun of themselves.
Listeners were invited to give their tuppence using the hashtag #TradingPlaces, and the station promised (with their fingers crossed) that any positive changes might become a permanent fixture.
Boylan catches the love bug on Classic Hits 4FM
Presenter Niall Boylan and reporter Robbie Kane’s wolf whistle experiment was a flop. but did it damage listenership figures?
Boylan recruited Kane to cat-call and whistle at women (and men) passing by on Henry Street in order to get a reaction.
Kane apologised immediately to every person involved, explaining that it was a “social experiment”.
The two came under fire on social media and were accused of humiliating those involved.
Such was the reaction, Boylan continued the discussion on his night time show and tweeted an invite to those who were offended by the experiment to call in and give their opinions.
At a time when there is a huge appetite for women’s perspectives and discussion on feminism, the Classic Hits presenters challenged the status quo in a bid to drum up some negative publicity that probably didn’t have a negative impact on their audience numbers.
Niall Boylan also attempted to titillate his listeners with the Love Contract, a “sex experiment” in which a Dublin couple, Gary and Suzanne, agreed to have sex seven consecutive nights and report back to the 4FM team.
Did it arouse their interest?
The Find Dracula competition, in conjunction with the Bram Stoker Festival, saw 2fm’s online team flex their social media muscles.
“Vanessa van Helsing” asked listeners to help capture the Count, for which she rewarded them with hefty cash prizes.
The competition ran across the weekday schedule from 8am to 6pm, with listeners following the excitement on Twitter.
We know a certain vampire who will be counting the figures tomorrow.
A whole lotta love for a legend
This was not a stunt. The Whole Lotta Live promotion was a fitting tribute to broadcasting legend Tony Fenton, who died last year.
Playing off the popular Even Better Than The Real Thing compilations and Shave or Dye campaign, Whole Lotta Live resulted in a spectacular 30-track album with proceeds going to the Irish Cancer Society.
The sessions, which included recordings from Hozier, Bell X1, Ellie Goulding, Lisa Hannigan and The National, were broadcast on shows across Today FM’s programming.
Tony Fenton’s producer Pamela Blake worked on the sessions with her husband Gavin Blake.
Check out MediaHQ.com’s award-winning blog to read our analysis of the latest JNLR figures.
Conor – @conormcmahon