October 7, 2012 by Cory
Have you ever listened to a radio station when they ask for the 25th caller and thought to yourself, “Is it even possible to get through if I tried to call?” Well, I am here to tell you that it most certainly is! On more than twenty occasions, I have been the 8th, 10th, 25th, 102nd, or whatever other number caller to win concert tickets, gift certificates, cash prizes, and even vacations. Even more often that than, I have called in, made it through the busy signals, and was the wrong number caller. Now, please know that I do not sit around all day long (especially during a work day) waiting to call in. Most of these contests I have won have been prior to or after work. Here are a few tips to help you get through (and the right number!):
1. Pre-program whatever radio station phone number into your phone, thus saving you time later looking up the phone number and making it much easier to redial.
2. Make sure that you are listening to an actual radio or test it ahead of time to ensure that there is not a delay when streaming online or using a radio phone app.
3. Don’t start calling until they ask for the calls to start as they will not start taking calls until then. But if you know to call at a certain time, you can always try calling then even if you are not near a radio, though again, you might find that they have not started taking calls yet.
4. Be prepared to redial over and over again. Be in a place with a good connection where it doesn’t take 10 seconds to connect with the phone number. If possible, use a cell phone in one hand and a land line phone in the other hand. This takes practice!
5. Recognize that some radio staff will answer the phones right away and others will wait a minute or two before starting to answer calls. When you think you may be caller 25, you really may be one of the first five callers. Also, some radio staff answer very fast while others may be slower and even have conversations with the wrong callers.
6. While several times during the day the radio personalities will ask for random callers to give prizes to, other times will be pre-announced with a “song of the day,” a “code word,” or a special time where they will ask for a particular caller. If you are very excited about a particular prize, follow the radio station’s website, Facebook page, or Twitter page.
7. Often, radio stations plan their contests for when there is a lull in listeners. For instance, during the weekends, there are often concert tickets or tickets to local events. There is less competition making it easier to get through and be the correct caller.
8. For some contests, you will enter online to have your name called on the air. If you hear your name and call back within a length of time, you will win a BIG prize. That’s how I won a Disneyland vacation, a chance to “break the bank” to win up to $20,000, and a chance for a big “office lunch party” (and in case you are wondering, I did not win the $20,000 or the lunch party, but I got nice consolation prizes). Make deals with friends that if you hear their names, you will let them know, and perhaps they will do the same for you.
9. If you make it through on the radio, there is a delay of a few minutes (or longer) before you will hear yourself on the radio (or at the very least, someone congratulating you on your win).
10. Occasionally, radio stations participate in national promotions where you will call into a toll-free number. Often, certain phones will be unable to connect. I have never figured out why this is the case. While I have successfully called into an XM radio station toll free number, I have yet to make it through to a toll free radio or newspaper contest number. Don’t let this frustrate you.
So…set your favorite radio station as a pre-set phone number on your cell phone and start listening. Then get prepared to call in and WIN!