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Les Patterson??Ÿ?¦Ÿ??s Monday Morning Boost: Les Nessman??Ÿ?¦Ÿ??s Thanksgiving Radio Promotion

Perhaps the most well-known radio station promotion ever pulled off was in 1978 by WKRP in Cincinnati.  Station General Manger Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson, in attempt to exercise some kind of assertion over the “casually dressed people [who] seemed to think they have taken over the place” – now that the station had converted to rock-n-roll – cooked up the “greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving Day history.”
 
Mr. Carlson’s “greatest turkey event” was to give away live turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.  Trusted sidekick and slick salesman Herb Tarlek does some “fast talking” to get the birds while quirky news anchor Les Nessman – famous for his daily hog reports, always wearing a bowtie, and the unexplained bandages he wears in a different spot every day – is on the ground “reporting live” from the Pinedale Shopping Mall.
 
If you didn’t know, this is where a great radio promotion turns into a great radio disaster as the turkeys, instead of soaring from the helicopter, come crashing down “hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!
 
As our fictional radio friends at WKRP in Cincinnati gather back at the station, “Mr. Carlson” utters one of the most famous lines in sitcom history: “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”
 
Well, Thanksgiving has never been quite the same, nor has the hog report since been delivered with as much flair. 
 
Speaking of Les Nessman, for the nearly 17 years I’ve been in the radio business, he’s been a little bit of my alter ego.  By default of our shared name, I kind of adopted him sometime my first year as a rookie radio sales rep.  Several of my clients took to calling me by his name and some would even ask about the hog report.
 
While I’ve been on the radio a few times – mostly as a guest with the Utah National Guard when we deployed to Iraq – I’ve never delivered the hog report.  While I enjoy creating and writing radio ads, my skill set doesn’t lend itself to getting behind the microphone.  My kids gave me a t-shirt a while back that says “my face was made for radio.”  Unfortunately, my voice wasn’t made for radio.
 
If I was turned loose behind the radio mike, I would probably do as Les Nessman did and misreport a monster blizzard as a “Monster Lizard ravishing the east coast.”  Or maybe I would slaughter the pronunciations of the names of politicians, celebrities, or athletes as Nessman did with Chi Chi Rodriquez, calling him “Chy Chy Rod-ra-geez.”
 
If you’d like to retreat nostalgia land, you can YouTube a longer clip of the Turkey Drop or click on Hulu to watch the complete episode.
 
Have a great Monday!  Happy Thanksgiving!  Thanks for letting me share.
 
Les Patterson
 
p.s. Take 15 minutes today to watch WKRP.  Or better yet, take 15 minutes to journal or write a letter of gratitude.
 
NOTE: Today’s Monday Morning Boost is a repeat from Thanksgiving 2013. Hope you enjoy!

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leverton

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