Since December I’ve been getting up early in the hope of being selected to take part in a couple of competitions to win a car and/or a few thousand pounds. I have a needle-in-a-haystack chance of winning but as we say more than any normal house should, you have to be in it to win it.
One was Real Radio’s Cash Car competition and the other is Forth One’s Every Day is Payday. The former competition ran throughout December and “proved so popular” that it has been running again in January. The latter began last Monday and ends this week but more on that later.
With the Real Radio competition you had to enter by letting them know, via a form on their website, where you would be on any given week day between 6am and 9am for the duration of the contest. As I’m currently ‘between jobs’ my entry form was fairly straightforward and I made sure I would be available. Each week day a clue would be given as to where in Central Scotland, including Fife, the Cash Car would end up. It could’ve be a work place or an entrant’s home. The lucky contestant’s name would be called out on air and they would have 300 seconds to get into the passenger seat of the car. If they made it they’d be asked a relatively straightforward question, usually based on current pop music, TV or celebrities, and then they’d be invited to open the glove box to find a sum of cash, which in December ranged between £300 and £500. The winners would also put into a final to win the car they were sitting in.
That all sounds fairly straightforward you might think but during the first 12 days of the comp (not including a charity celebrity edition with STV’s John Mackay) half of the contestants either didn’t hear their name, didn’t make it on time or, in the case of one guy, was out taking his dog for a walk. I got up at 6am the first morning and when I heard a clue about a bridge and the town name having an R in it I wondered if it might be venturing to Dunfermline. And it did. Well, almost. It stopped off in Rosyth (optimistically subtitled “Garden City”) just down the road. Unfortunately, as was to be the trend through the next three weeks, the contestant was still in his bed. It begs the question – a question I asked a lot during the run of the competition – why do people bother entering if they can’t make the commitment to it? I’m not sure the radio station could’ve spoonfed the contestants anymore than they already had. Tell us where you are and at what time and we’ll bring the car and loot to you! Competitions don’t get easier than that. But, no, half a dozen contestants just couldn’t be arsed to be ready just in case. I was. Every single day.
I continued to listen to the competition despite knowing in my heart of hearts if wouldn’t come to Dunfermline, let alone Fife again. As it turned out it went to Rosyth, Hamilton, Pollockshaws, Bargedie (no, me neither), Edinburgh, Falkirk, Paisley, Blackburn, Ratho Station, Kirkintilloch, Prestonpans and Stirling. It may have gone to one other place but I stopped listening towards the end. I’m not even sure who won the car or how it was decided. To be honest, I didn’t miss the Real Radio breakfast show that was playing host to it. I didn’t hate it – despite the annoying male host – it just isn’t what I would choose to listen to of a morning.
I entered again in January’s competition but after it turned up in Dunfermline on day 6, I decided I needed sleep more and by the end of the second week I’d switched stations. The contestants had obviously learned their lesson from December’s no-shows because only two of the first 10 failed to make it to the car this time, including a builder who, when called up after his failure, shouted expletives down the phone. I had little sympathy for him when I heard he was a builder, his pottymouth notwithstanding, and that he’d missed out on £450. He probably makes that in a day’s work. Builders, like bookies, never seem to be poor.
I also entered the initial stages of the Every Day is Payday competition (I say “initial” because the competition was a two-part one but more of that later*). Despite getting up at 8am every weekday morning to ensure I heard the question and possible answers and then tuning in every hour it hadn’t been won, I didn’t win. But I’d put the effort in just in case. Unlike, it seems, some of the listeners who had posted on the Forth One Facebook page.
Every day was the same, with people complaining they hadn’t heard the question, asking “wot (sic) was the question” or giving any number of tedious excuses as to why their phone wasn’t working and how they had missed out on “their” prize! It was tiring for me; I’d hate to think what the person in charge of Forth’s Facebook page thought. I don’t doubt they’d have been throwing a noose over the nearest light fitting by the end!
I should point out that it was only an irritating minority who were complaining about each and every aspect of the competition. Many of them obviously hadn’t bothered to read the terms and conditions of entry – okay, not everyone does – but they hadn’t even grasped the basic information of the competition. They failed to get up in time to hear the only reading of the question at 8am or even work out the answer for themselves (If they’re accessing FB they’ll be doing it via a PC, laptop or phone, which also has Google with which you would’ve thought they could access the answer). One idiot thought it would be funny to spoil it for those who had got out of their scratcher to hear the question by giving away the answer on Facebook. What did he hope to achieve by that? He didn’t seem to have the sufficient intelligence to realise he was actually reducing his own chances of winning and giving the lazy entrants a greater chance. Another poster suggested it wasn’t fair that the question was only read out once. But that (and the question) is the “skill element” that is legally required for the competition. Some moaned that their Payroll Number only had letters, until I pointed out that there had been at least three winners with all-letter codes already (yes, I was keeping track!) And just don’t get me started on the textspeak-laden, incomprehensible ramblings of some of the posters.
I would’ve been nice to see Real and Forth One berating their listeners for their stupidity, albeit playfully, but they’re not going to do that, are they? Without the listeners they’re nothing. They seem to leave that up to other frustrated listeners. Like me! Although I didn’t win either competition, the radio stations would’ve won because they succeeded in getting me to listen, although I tended to switch off when each day’s competition had run its course. Having said that I’m not sure my listenership means much to them anyway as I don’t have fill in a RAJAR diary by which their quarterly listenership figures are measured.
While I enjoy radio, I also enjoy competitions and I go where the prizes are. You should too, just remember to get out of your bed and pay attention or you could miss out.
* I had no issues with either competition and I took my chances with everyone else who entered. If I win, great; if I don’t, I move on to the next competition. I did, however, have issues with the second part of Forth’s Every Day is Payday, which had a bonus one-off prize of £20,000. I blogged about this earlier. By the way, I’m not picking on Forth and Real. I like some of their output but, as with television, I’m not loyal to one channel or station.