Varick Street Billboard Sparks Friendly Controversy and Host-An-Hour Social Media Contest
NEWARK, NJ: Do you want to be a guest DJ on WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM? Here’s how: Find WBGO ads on telephone kiosks, street pole banners, billboards and digital billboards located throughout New Jersey and in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including by the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. Before midnight on September 9, post pictures of one of the station’s ads on Facebook or Twitter and tag it with #makejazz. Everyone who posts a picture is eligible to win a WBGO Host-An-Hour. As co-host, the winner can work with his/her favorite WBGO DJ, select songs from the extensive music catalog, and go ON-THE-AIR LIVE! At the end, the guest host will go home with a CD of the hour-long hosting experience.
WBGO launched the media campaign on August 12. The colorful signage has not gone unnoticed. In fact, the new awareness campaign caught the eye of one particular Manhattan-based company and set off a “war.” It turns out that one of the billboards was installed directly across from 160 Varick Street – the home of fellow public radio station WNYC-FM.
The friendly controversy started when Chris Bannon, WNYC's Vice President of Content Development and Production, tweeted: New WBGO billboard going up across from WNYC. #thismeanswar. Not one to shirk from a fight, WBGO's new Vice President of Content Josh Jackson replied @cjbannon Bring your A game, Bannon. #makelovenotwar.
Taking cues from this friendly “battle, ” WBGO launched the social media contest to help measure awareness of the campaign and the station while encouraging fans to make neither war nor love, but to make jazz.
It's all in good fun, but there's an underlying subtext to all this bonhomie. We are both operating in the very competitive New York Metro market and stakes are high, said Jackson. Through this campaign, there are people who are learning about WBGO for the very first time. We are on their minds and now in their lines of sight. This is an extraordinary opportunity to reach them and persuade them to join the WBGO family."
Amy Niles, WBGO Acting President and CEO, added, Our goal was to place our billboards where we would reach those consumers who want to find the best in Jazz radio. Since WBGO/Newark Public Radio is the leading provider of news and information in New Jersey, reaching the listener as they travel between New York and New Jersey is also significant. Having a billboard in the Holland Tunnel area is key to that awareness. Our tower is in Manhattan and many of our listeners span the two states. The sign is a great reminder that listeners have choices, and WBGO is the public radio station in this area that provides the best in Jazz and award-winning news.
Founded in 1979, Newark Public Radio, Inc. is a publicly supported cultural institution that champions jazz at WBGO 88.3 FM in Newark, New Jersey and worldwide via wbgo.org. WBGO is the recognized world leader in jazz media and one of the most respected jazz presenters in the country, and offers award-winning news and innovative children’s programs. Beyond reaching 450, 000 weekly listeners (including 17, 000 contributing members) on air, online and via mobile devices, WBGO presents live broadcasts from prestigious jazz venues and produces acclaimed programs for NPR heard by millions.