Programming & Promotion

How many programs do we get ?

The Pop-format series has 480 programs, one for each month of its 40-year span (1960-1999).
The Country-format programs range from 1960 to 2007, so there are 520 of them.

In what form are the programs delivered to us ?

They'll come on CDs as MP3 files (sampled at 256kbps), so you can load them directly to your server.
And they’ll sort in the order you'll air them, because each filename begins with its Sequence Number:


We’re Hot AC and don’t play 1960s music.   Can we skip your 1960s quizzes ?

You can certainly fine-tune for your demographic by avoiding any era you choose.
Some Oldies stations, for instance, steer clear of the 1990s Time Capsule Quizzes.
But even if your playlist is Beatle-free, consider that the sounds of some 1960s moments can captivate listeners of all ages.
            (Wouldn't Millennials enjoy hearing some NASA gold?)
So before dumping the whole decade, you might want to try a few... and test the reaction.

If we schedule two Time Capsules a day, should we re-run the morning one in the afternoon ?

No need to.   You’ll have at least 480 Time Capsule Quizzes.
You could burn through two-a-day, every weekday – and not repeat one for 11 months!

What happens when we DO begin repeating programs ?

It’ll be at least 48 weeks until you do!
Consider 3 valuable tidbits we’ve learned from our longtime affiliates about listener behavior:
      • Listeners readily guess the months when something truly historic happened
      • After a “learning curve” of a month or so, correct guesses increase -– as even folks uninterested in golf or tennis realize that the British Open and Wimbledon are code words for “July”
      • There is no statistical increase in the winning rate after the Time Capsule Quizzes reach the end of their long program cycle and begin repeating.   In fact, listeners don't even perceive   them as re-runs!
      (Well, except for this guy...)


How long could we continue airing the Time Capsule before it wears out ?

Many of our stations have been with us for more than 10 years.
A few are now closing in on 20 years.
KEEZ/Mankato, MN went for 23 years...   and had Subway as a sponsor the entire time!


Median use tends to be about 3 years, although ownership changes & format shifts are often more of a factor than Contest Fatigue.
Your mileage may vary.

We don’t play any music at all.   How could Time Capsule fit in our format ?

Some of our most enthusiastic affiliates have News/Talk/Sports formats.
Think about it.   These listeners crave information.   They’re certainly 35+.
And they’re typically eager to “show off” what they know.


Now along comes the Time Capsule with a challenge:
“Can you identify this mystery month-and-year?”
And what do they hear in the next 30 seconds?   News and sports!
They’re in.


True, you might not be playing the hits today.
But your listeners’ lives have certainly been touched by music.
Our brief song montage is simply some more compressed information.
It splashes listeners with the music soundtrack of the mystery month.

We also get promos, right ?

You bet!   They’re right on the CD.
We realized that two dozen promos will cycle more quickly than our 480 quizzes.
That’s why we crafted them differently.
Instead of “events first, then music”, the promos let everything loose at once.


So the listener gets an intense sonic fly-by news cuts (overlapped, in stereo).
All of it mixed over a sweep of that era’s music.
There’s so much going on that most people can’t take it all in on the first hearing.
Which is precisely the point.


You’ll also receive a couple of Advance Promos.
On these, host Bill Stephens explains what the Time Capsule Quiz is -- and how listeners will be challenged to figure out the month-and-year.
All you need to do is tag them with your airtimes and sponsors.
If you’ll be giving away prizes, you could mention that, too.

How long are the promos ?

They run about 38 seconds, leaving the rest of the minute for your sponsor’s tag.
Here’s a secret you may already know:   Have the sponsor voice his/her own tag.
      • Biggest Benefit:   Friends & customers tell the sponsor, “Hey, I heard you on the radio!”
      • Secondary Benefit:   Tags needn’t be freshened until the sponsor finds time to do it.

How soon can we start ?

Once you submit your TC license, we’ll direct you to a download site.
You can grab the first week of programs (and promos) while the CD is winging its way to you.
Want to start today?

Any other goodies for us ?

Just wait until April 1st!
That's when we traditionally spoof ourselves ...with some April Fool’s Time Capsule Quizzes:


You can go back to 1,000,005 B.C. to hear some Classic Stone Age Rock ("Like A Virgin Sacrifice" by Madonnasaurus was big then)
Or ahead to the Year 2525 for Super Bowl DLIX... and “Let’s Get Fissionable”, the #1 song by Olivia Neutron-Bomb
Or perhaps to the mystery month that no one has ever solved, when -- thanks to some studio mischief -- you’ll hear:
      • Richard Nixon win the Daytona 500
      • Gerald Ford assure us that Freddy Krueger is finally dead
      • Lyndon Johnson lamenting being stranded on the moon!


Must we use the Time Capsule Quiz as a contest ?

About 2/3 of our affiliates take calls.
The rest simply use it to showcase a sponsor between the Quiz and the Answer.
Up to you.

How often do contestants win ?

The winning rate is largely dependent on how you structure the contest.
      • If you choose a contestant before the quiz begins airing, the winning rate is usually low, maybe 10-15%
      • If you select a caller after the clues begin playing, that caller wins about 25% of the time
      • if you keep taking calls until someone gets it right, about 80% of the time someone will (thanks to Siri, Cortana & the Wikipedia)


Other factors are:
      • the help (or anti-help) you provide on the air,
      • whether you give credit for either the correct month or year,
      • whether you guide them with a multiple-choice of 2 or 3 or 4 possible answers
And of course, the general intelligence of your audience...

What kind of prizes should we offer ?

Most stations aim to provide something from the sponsor, as it’ll bring walk-in business.
Those prizes tend to be in the $10-15 range, which works well for most contest formats.


Going the Cash Jackpot route?
Get the contestant in advance (like buzzing in early on "Jeopardy!").
The winning rate will be low -- and you can add money to the jackpot whenever the caller misses.


Team Effort:   A few years back, a jewelry store in Kansas gave out little diamonds as the Time Capsule prize.
A group of women from one office took turns winning, until they had enough to string together a necklace, which they then shared!

How can we involve the sponsors in the promotion ?

One way is with the Instant Remote.   It’s as simple as placing a call from the studio.
Let’s say Primo’s Pizza is the Friday sponsor of the Time Capsule.   The quiz is scheduled to air at 12:20pm.
At noon, send an air personality or an Account Exec (with cell phone) to Primo’s.
Just before 12:20, make the call and have your colleague select a random customer.
Put that customer on the phone, and presto, there’s today’s contestant — live from Primo’s!
No purchase necessary, of course.


You needn’t do this every week.  Once a month would make it more special.
Promoting your Instant Remote will help boost the walk-in traffic that day.
And that’s something Primo shouldn’t mind a bit!

Any materials you can give us to promote our station around town ?

How about three giant, colorful Time Capsule collage posters?
One has images from the ’60s, another the ’70s, and one the ’80s – more than 100 images on each.


They make terrific point-of-sale displays at sponsors’ businesses.
There’s an area at the bottom for logos of your station & sponsor (and your Time Capsule airtimes).
We’ll even prepare a customized graphic with those logos for you.


Some businesses use these posters as waiting-room contests.
(It helps their customers pass the time while that oil change is being done!)
And yes, we can provide a numbered outline of the images -– plus a corresponding entry form.
Feel free to check out our posters online.

Do we get an exclusive in our market ?

Absolutely.   You’ll get automatic 30-mile protection.   And if you need more, let us know.

We own a Classic Hits FM and a Full-service AM in town.   Can we air Time Capsule on both ?

Yes.   And because you’d use the same (Pop) format on both, there’s no extra license fee.
After all, you’ve already claimed the territory.   Why not sell twice as many avails?

What if one station wants Country Quizzes and the other uses your Pop format ?

Same ownership, same town, two sets of CDs?
Enjoy a 15% discount on both licenses.

We own stations in several markets in our part of the state.  Do you offer a group discount ?

Yes indeed.   And the license fee drops with each market you add.
Just ask for our Group Ownership License.

Sounds great, but corporate policy forbids paying for programming.   How can I get approval ?

Excellent question!   Many local operators must indeed answer to corporate overlords these days.   Here’s how they handle this obstacle:


First, Time Capsule works hand-in-hand with your sales team to secure sponsors.
So typically the series must generate revenue from Day One, or the GM wouldn’t sign the license in the first place!


Knowing this, the local GM seeks corporate approval in advance for a monthly commission to an agency (that's us) if -- and only if -- it's able to attract this new order of X-thousand dollars in “found money”.


Rather than walk away from all that dough, corporate generally OKs the commission.
Especially because it’s less than the commissions already being paid to every salesperson in the building.
That “commission” is our modest license fee.


So call it a commission, a consultancy, a retainer or whatever headquarters wants to call it.
It’s a hurdle that smart GMs clear for the good of their companies, and that’s how they do it.