‘Wait, Wait’ a Huge Success for KRCC
Colorado College’s NPR-member radio station KRCC was hugely successful in bringing the popular radio show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” to Colorado Springs. KRCC Program Manager Jeff Bieri said the event had been two years in the making, dating from 2008 when Bieri contacted NPR’s main office in Washington, D.C., asking to host the Saturday morning show. “They said, ‘Sure, you can host in it May 2010,’” Bieri said.
“Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” billed as the “oddly informative news quiz,” has an audience of 3 million listeners and 1 million podcast subscribers. The show featuring Host Peter Sagal, Official Judge and Scorekeeper Carl Kasell, and panelists Tom Bodett, Faith Salie, and Paul Provenza was taped live before a sellout crowd at the Pikes Peak Center on May 6, and aired on May 8.
“People came from all over the state – Boulder, Greeley, Montrose – to see this,” Bieri said. “People were coming in from everywhere. This is the only time this show is happening in Colorado this season, and people from around the state knew about it and were coming. The audience was hungry for this thing.”
Colorado College, as one of the underwriters of the show (Fountain Valley School was the other), had to develop a 10-second tagline. Delaney Utterback, manager of KRCC, and others came up with a spot that mentioned Colorado College “challenging students to mono-task, one class at a time,” and provided the web address for information about the college’s Block Plan.
That “mono-task” phrase resonated with panelist Salie, who used it while on the air. And it also resonated with a listener in Chicago.
The same day the show aired, Colorado College received an e-mail from Marne Glaser in Chicago, which read:
I want to tell you that as I was listening to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on the radio this morning, my ears perked up when I heard the words “mono-task,” “Block Program,” and “Colorado College” mentioned. I am many decades past college, and have no college bound kids, but the idea of one course at a time really cheered me. I have been a school psychologist for many years, and just been so disappointed in the continuation of “whoops, there’s the bell—put your work away– next!” practices in the schools. Perhaps it’s my Montessori training that sensitized me to the need for children to focus and mono-task. I think it’s no wonder that kids are so unable to concentrate these days—we sure don’t help them. Likewise, I have been disappointed in the way higher education continues to operate—every day and week fragmented so that success in school has more to do with your ability to administratively orchestrate all the required tasks, while deep learning, thinking, and understanding are short-changed. It gave me a little feeling of hope that some college honored those needs, as well as fortified the connection between the real world and the academic. I wish my college (university) experience could have been like that!
So I just want to say, whatever resources you put toward your advertising, they were effective in getting at least one person’s attention and admiration! Keep up the good work!
The May 8 “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” show can be heard at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=35