Production 212: DEFCON 1

Production-212-Logo-1By Dave Foxx

Every year about this time, I think the world is about to end because I’m jumping around like a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. You too? It’s enough to make you hate the Holidays! Well, it’s certainly enough to make one very cynical. Bah, HUMBUG!

I guess the one thing that always pushes me over the edge is “Jingle Ball,” Z100’s annual Christmas show at Madison Square Garden. Every year it seems to get bigger and more elaborate, and every year the push for promos seems to be headed up a steeper incline. So far, I’ve done 60 promos, and we’re not even through the second week! {Sigh} But it IS a killer show and a proven ratings booster.

On the CD this month, I have a few samples of what we’ve done so far this year, realizing that by the time you read this (I’m writing this in early November), the event will be almost upon us. Bear in mind that there’s still another five weeks of this madness before it’s done.

So, what makes this so time consuming? It’s a DEFCON 1 promotion, categorizing our promotion along the lines of the US National Defense System. According to the Federation of American Scientists, these are the stages of DEFense CONditions:

DEFCON 5: Normal peacetime readiness
DEFCON 4: Increased intelligence & security measures
DEFCON 3: Increase in force readiness
DEFCON 2: Further Increase in force readiness
DEFCON 1: Maximum force readiness.

Redefining these in radio terms, we get:

DEFCON 5: No special promotion. Just play the hits.
DEFCON 4: A simple promotion, including promo
DEFCON 3: Multiple promos and/or an “In 30” sweeper
DEFCON 2: Multiple promos, sweepers and stagers
DEFCON 1: Maximum force readiness

DEFCON 1 means multiple promos, sweepers, bumpers, top-of-the-hours, and a full battery of stagers, including announcement, winner and touch-tones. It’s entirely conceivable that every produced element in any given hour could relate to the promotion, although it’s unlikely.

Using this system makes it easy for the PD to communicate with the staff what’s expected on a promotion. Jingle Ball is always a DEFCON 1 promotion. Last week we were giving away tickets to our special screening of Eminem’s flick, “8 Mile.” (See now…by the time you read this, you’ll KNOW whether it’s really any good.) Is a movie screening a DEFCON1 promotion? Of course not, but Eminem is extremely hot right now, so we declared DEFCON 3.

DEFCON 1 is the money promotion. THIS is when we make our ratings jump. It’s for all the marbles.

I hope you enjoy the Jingle Ball production sampler on the disc this month. It has most of the various elements we’re using, but certainly not every version. Every one of the 10 artists wants equal billing and there are (so far) 7 different sponsors, each getting their own set of promos. You do the math. But, I don’t mind. For us at Z100, this is all out war. It’s why we play this silly game called radio.

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