How #Nelly1057 Became A Viral Sensation

Hot 105.7 Nellly #Nelly1057 Univision Latino MixIt was just supposed to be like any other format change stunt that takes place dozens of times each year across the country. Univision’s “Latino Mix” 105.7 KVVF Santa Clara/100.7 KVVZ San Rafael, CA began looping Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” at 3pm on Friday in preparation of a flip.

There was nothing truly unique to the stunt. Just two weeks ago, Univision made a similar flip in Albuquerque as KKRG looped Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” for over four straight days before relaunching as Classic Hip-Hop “Yo 101.3“. WRWN Savannah, GA is currently stunting with Irish music for St. Patrick’s Day with nary a mention online. Even the use of “Hot In Herre” has been done before. 93.3 KXMG Austin (now KGSR) did the exact same loop of the song leading into its flip to Urban “Hot 93.3” in 2003!

By Saturday morning #Nelly1057 had become one of the top social media trends in the country before hitting the mainstream media. The path this stunt took to become the biggest radio story of the year is not something that will be easily replicated. So how exactly did it happen?

Although the stunting began at 3pm, the first Twitter mention of it was by Bennett Williamson at 9:43pm on Friday night. At 11:09pm, Bennett would be the first to affix the #Nelly1057 hashtag.

It began to pick up steam when writer Netw3rk picked up on the story and posted a screenshot of associated tweets to his nearly 33,000 followers. From there it was picked up by three prolific Twitter personalities just before midnight, sportswriters Lana Berry (@Lana), Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri), writer/comedian Jon Hendren (@fart) promoted the stunt to their tens of thousands of followers, while Berry began live-tweeting her listening to the stunt for hours on end. Actress Sasha Grey went the extra step of pointing to her Twitter account. The viral boost coincided with the press conference regarding the status of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, bringing additional eyes to Twitter.

The corporate tweets began from there as Netw3rk and Lana’s mentions brought sports media related tweets from Stubhub, Fox Sports, and even the Los Angeles Dodgers. The next phase of the stunt becoming a viral phenomenon would take place on Saturday morning as Reddit, Gawker, Slate, Rolling Stone, Time, San Francisco Chronicle, and dozens of other news outlets picked up on the story. By this point the story had become the top trending story on Facebook, where it would remain for the bulk of the weekend.

Nelly Hot In Herre #Nelly1057 Latino Mix 105.7 San Francisco Facebook Twitter Trending

All good things must come to an end, and the loop of Hot in Herre will cease at 5pm on Monday. Nelly himself made the announcement this morning, the first time he commented on the buzz circling around the loop of his song.

What lessons can be taken from this weekend’s event? This is not something that can easily be replicated. KVVF/KVVZ got lucky with a few prominent social media personalities catching on to the stunt. That combined with a beloved song and a market that has not seen much in the way of format change stunting (The last major stunt was when 107.7 KSOL looped Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing” in 1992) led to this thing blowing up well beyond anybody’s expectations.

If there is a positive takeaway from this, people all across the country came together to listen and talk about something being broadcast on radio; something that hasn’t happened with much consistency in America over the past few decades. No matter if many of the listeners were outside of the San Francisco Bay Area and won’t be listeners of the new format, the stunt has proven that live radio can still be a viral medium. Every broadcaster now has an achievable goal to get their programming to be talked about in some form on a local, national, or global level.

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  1. Bongwater says

    I agree totally on the replication part. KVVF got lucky here. But radio is a medium that tends to do more imitation than actual innovation.

    To one up this, it’s going to take a lot more than just a loop of a particular song. Or a “Wheel Of Formats”, “10,000 Songs In A Row”, computer voice countdown or any of the other tired old stunts radio has been using for decades now. It’s going to takes some brand new schemes. Not rehashed old ones.

    To use similar social media methods to promote another otherwise run of the mill radio format flip stunt after this is going to be quickly called out and could backfire embarrassingly.

  2. Rimshot says

    Reminds me of a old stunt done by KSOL 107.7 many moons ago.

    Let’s Do It… WiLd Thing!

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