Every now and then, I do things that I might not otherwise do because I think, hey. At the very least, I might get a good website post out of this. Sometimes, I want to do something on its own merit, but the thought of CONTENT pushes me past the shyness that might keep me away under other circumstances.
Such was the case with the K92 Listener Lab.
A long time ago, I signed up for their Loyal Listener Club in order to get an extra code to use in a call-in cash prize contest that I was certain I was destined to win. Unfortunately, I misunderstood the rules and played the game all wrong, and I never had a chance.
Since then, my communications from the LLC mailing list have been few, mostly emails asking me to complete surveys on their current playlists. I always take the time to do this, mainly so that I can tell them I hate Ashanti and want them to stop playing any songs by her, featuring her, special guesting her, or whatever-elsing her. Oh, and so I can tell them to play more Kelly Clarkson. Because I love Kelly.
Last week, I got the following email:
K92 is inviting some of our listeners to a special meeting to get your opinions about radio in the Roanoke, Lynchburg, and New River Valley. This is your opportunity to voice your opinion about radio in general and what we can do to make K92 better for you. We would be privileged to have you join us.
K92 will provide food (pizza) and soft drinks. Each person who participates will receive a K92 prize pack worth $50 or more. Prize packs will include free food from Texas Steak House, CD’s, and a K92 T-shirt. This special listener advisory board will begin at 6pm on Wednesday, February 2nd at the K92 facilities at 3934 Electric Road in Roanoke, and will end by 8pm sharp. If you’ve ever wanted to speak out or speak up about radio and your favorite station please respond by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (540-774-9200). We will need to confirm your participation by Monday, January 31, 2005, and will need to speak with you on the phone to hold a place for you. I hope to hear from you! Thanks for being a K92 Loyal Listener Club Member.
And I was like, awesome. What a great idea! So I immediately emailed back and said I thought it was a great idea and I’d love to be a part of it. After that, I got another email back saying that they had limited space, and they requested more information about me and said they’d call me if they wanted me to participate.
On Monday, the program director called me at work and confirmed my participation. He was careful to tell me that “this wasn’t a party” and that I couldn’t bring any friends along. On Tuesday, he called to reconfirm, at which point he told me I needed to arrive between 5:30 and 5:45 – no earlier, no later. He also said that they’d overbooked the listener lab by about five people, knowing that some would cancel or not show, and that in the unlikely circumstance the place filled up before I got there, I’d still get my prize pack.
I was way dorkily excited about doing this, and not because I’m a radio whore. As many of you know, I earned my degree in radio/television/film studies, and I have a strong interest in marketing, so I thought this would be a cool opportunity to get to use a bit of that knowledge and insight, and to meet some new people.
I was such a dork, in fact, that I actually got online and did some research about marketing trends in the twentysomething demographic, and prepared a strong case for bringing back retro lunch hour broadcasts. I also arranged to leave work at 4:00 on Wednesday afternoon so that I’d be sure to reach the studio in time for the panel.
I did actually leave work at 4 on Wednesday, but I had to make a detour to Target to buy a new pair of black penny loafers, as the ratty Mudd ones I’d been wearing for two years finally gave up the ghost and sprouted a monstrous hole in the foot that even Oliver Twist would have been ashamed to wear out. In a miracle of science and nature, I made it in and out of Target in ten minutes and hit the road.
I watched the clock carefully during my drive and stressed a little, because I wasn’t sure exactly how long it would take for me to get there. I figured more than an hour, but less than an hour and a half. And then I got caught in traffic in Roanoke and proceeded to lose my shit for several minutes while crazy tiny women in Escalades tried to kill me on the road and stuff.
I made it to the station at 5:40 and breathed a sigh of relief. I would have hated to go through all that trauma and then arrive too late to participate.
On my way to the door, I passed a woman leaving with what looked like a wadded-up t-shirt in her hand, but thought little of it. Until I got to the lobby and a skinny bottle blonde teenager greeted me at the door.
“Sorry, we already have our twelve participants, so we don’t need you, but thanks for coming and here’s your prize pack and we’ve got your information on file in case we ever want to use you again!” she recited without ever asking my name, and then she handed me my wadded-up t-shirt and I left, passing two more people on my way to the car.
When I got to the car I unwadded the t-shirt to reveal my prize pack, which contained the following:
- The t-shirt, gray and way too large to wear out;
- Two coupons for free food and a $10 gift certificate to Texas Steakhouse;
- A K-92 bumper sticker in that black-and-white oval style that’s really popular these days;
- Greatest Hits: My Prerogative (limited edition with bonus CD) by the airbrushed Britney Spears;
- Concrete Rose by my favorite artist ever in the world except totally not at all, Ashanti.
I went straight from the studio to Ginny’s work, which is pretty close by, so that I could eat Cheetos and drink Stewart’s Root Beer and complain about how I was mistreated and how it was stupid that they overbooked by five people if they were only allowing twelve in to begin with, because that’s overbooking by 42% and I think that’s a bit much, and how I’d be really supremely upset if they had not told me they were overbooking, so at least it wasn’t a total surprise, and how I think I won’t participate in anything with this radio station anymore since this is now the third time I’ve been disappointed by attempting to participate in something sponsored by this particular station, and so on and so forth. Ginny said it was a shame because I was probably taking the whole thing way more seriously than anyone else would have, which I guess is a testament to my complete dorkdom. My parents later commented that I should have told them how annoyed I was to drive almost an hour and a half and take time off from work to get turned away at the door, but I figure I took my chances when I agreed to do it. At least I got the prize pack, I guess. Here’s what I’m doing with it all:
- The t-shirt happens to be really comfortable, so I can wear it to bed.
- I’m not sure what to do with the Texas Steakhouse gift certificates, because I don’t know when I might end up there, but I might use them or I might donate them or give them away.
- I will not be applying the bumper sticker to my car.
- I am totally keeping the Britney CD, because although I would never spend money on it or be caught dead holding it in my hand in a store or asking for it for a birthday or Christmas, I will totally hide it in another CD case and blast it in the car, not like I did that today or anything.
- I guess I’m going to donate the Ashanti CD to an incentive program at my work, because no one else in my family likes her either and I want her out of my house and my car and my life.
So there you have it – the story of how I ended up singing “Stronger” and “Toxic” at the top of my lungs on my way to work today. I’m a loser.