What Is The Best Length Of A Stunt?

Radio Format Change Stunt FormatChange.com Stunting While less and less stations have stunted in preparation of a format change in recent months, last week brought three examples of stations trying to generate attention on its way to debut a new format.

Mainestream Media took possession of WBQW Kennebunkport ME on Thursday and began a Christmas music stunt that was announced to run 104 days until December 27. Just a day later, the station launched its permanent format as CHR “Hot 104.7“. In just one day, the station garnered attention from the radio industry press for being the first station to go all Christmas this season but that did not cross over to mainstream attention due to the short lived nature of the stunt.

101.5 WMXO Olean NY used a couple hours of stunting to shift from Hot AC to CHR while keeping its “Mix 101.5” moniker. Over the course of hours the station teased going Classic Country, AC, and Urban just to return to just about where it came. The stunt was so short that it got no reaction on the station’s social media accounts.

Clear Channel’s WROO Greenville used a 12 hour stunt between its Christian AC “Shine 96.7” and Classic Rock “96.7 The Road” to take swipes at its competitors. The stunt helped in clearing the audience from the old format that would not be compatible to its new one.

The similarity in all three stunts is that they were short lived and not long enough to get people talking. In 2011, 107.9 WPHI Philadelphia used Michael Vick’s notoriety to generate attention over Labor Day weekend. Merlin Media’s infamous “FM New” stunt in Chicago and New York was used to clear the Alternative Rock audience prior to the launch of their female focused News formats. In these cases, the stunts did their job in generating attention and cleansing the old audience which should be the two primary goals of a good stunt.

While discussing the WMXO stunt on Twitter, Cumulus VP Mike McVay began a discussion on whether the days of stunting are in the past.

Do stunts still make sense in the PPM era? What’s the right length of time for one to take? As someone who runs a site dedicated to format changes, I personally love the art and science dedicated to the planning, production, and thought put into whys and hows of a major programming change and would hate to see it go, but is it the best way to go about a change nowadays?

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  1. Jason says

    Kinda funny this article pops up just as my internet radio station, River Region Radio, began stunting an hour ago.

  2. Bob says

    Best “stunt” is no stunt at all. Just sign off the old format at midnight and have the new one, and the new personality lineup, ready to blast out of the starting gate at 5 the next morning.

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