Keep For Christmas 2021

    • 118 posts
    December 24, 2020 7:37 AM PST

    I work for a small market station, KGAF. Our focus in on a county with about 42,000 people on the Texas/Oklahoma border. We are the only station with local news, weather and sports. The station enjoys instant recognition throughout the county. To cite an example, I visited one business about advertising on KGAF and offered to expound on why KGAF should have a slice of their advertising pie. The owner stopped me and said they listen to KGAF and that she lives in the home the operations manager and half of the morning show lived in while he was in high school. I would like to think we are a very special place and station but I believe people are the same everywhere.

    With the loss of revenue we experienced due to Covid-19, we had to get a bit creative to build revenue but some things continued on unaffected. 

    Our county has some very generous people. They secretly donate money that our station doles out in $500 increments to those who call in to the station. This year we handed out $20,000 to 40 callers thanks to our Secret Santas. 

    Here's the link to the story WFAA TV 8 in Dallas/Fort Worth aired about the giveaway:

    For KGAF, it is an easy promotion. Those wanting to give have a 'go-between' contact us. We never know who is giving the dollars. They came to us and allowed us to create the way to distribute the cash. If you want this in your community, you might promote the idea, setting up a bank account or some way Secret Santa givers can contribute to help those less fortunate.

    The advertising implications can be substantial. One idea is to establish an annual dollar amount threshold to reach to become a part of this.

    Second, KGAF 'claimed' to have been given a secret number to Santa's North Pole home. Santa agreed to come to Gainesville to talk to children by phone and learn what they want for Christmas. We had Santa on the air fielding calls live from the kids. It's was not the tight format we are used to in radio with younger kids having to be prodded by their parents  but it was so heartwarming. It was amazing the remarks I got from clients. Not only did they listen, they listened to the whole hour! For us, it was a last minute thing but it can be a big sales opportunity that brings sizzle to those normal offerings of Holiday Greeting packages that get sold.

    Here is a link from KXII TV 12 Sherman/Denison, Texas/Ardmore, Oklahoma that covered Santa taking calls:

    As the title says, store this away for the last quarter of 2021 and bring lots of cheer, goodwill and revenue for your station. 

    I take no credit for the above. I work for an incredible radio operator, Steve Eberhart.

    (KGAF came on the air in 1947. Steve Eberhart got a job at KGAF while still in high school in 1973. A year later he trained a guy named Dee Blanton when he started at KGAF while in high school. Although both went their separate ways, they found themselves back in their hometown running KGAF. Steve is my General Manager. Dee is Operations Manager and half of the Dee & Darin morning show. I was fortunate to join the staff doing sales in May 2019)


    • 994 posts
    December 28, 2020 3:40 PM PST


    I'm just reading your post and loving every bit of it. What a great idea—the Secret Santa cash giveaway—especially as executed by your station! Thanks for sharing the promotion and the related TV coverage. This is a great illustration of hometown radio at its best. Well done!!