Attracting an audience

Ward Silver hwardsil at
Wed Apr 7 21:31:11 EDT 1993


  de Ward, N0AX


  I think we're barking up the wrong tree here, fellas...

  Any new "category" or "box" that we open up is immediately going to be

  pounced on by the hot operators and the little guys are going to be aced

  right out...the fact that we're already wrangling over competitive advan-

  tage and other similar details should be proof of that!  I'm afraid that

  even a listing gleaned by clerical means at HQ would just attract the most

  competitive souls among us, not the target audience.  Bear in mind I'm not 

  talking about "already-contesters" who don't/won't/can't do the full 48.


  The are always going to be operators on the periphery of any competitive

  group; partly interested and cheerfully playing along.  I would like to

  see steps taken to increase the pool of operators that would consider dip-

  ping a toe in or just playing along if they have a few hours to kill.


  How might that be done?  I think we need more positive exposure in the

  ham community to contesting.  The League seems to be doing it's level best

  to bury contest coverage in QST because contesting prods complainers to

  write HQ and bitch about QRM, while the go-along guys aren't writing.  

  Every year it seems there's another move to put all coverage in NCJ or some

  such.  We have an image problem, not a structure problem!


  The sport has absolutely no exposure outside the hobby, either.  No one

  can watch, the scores take FOREVER to get published, etc.  You pretty much

  have to fall into contesting almost by accident to participate.  How many

  times do you have to answer questions like, "What's a contest?", "What info

  do you need?", "What do I do now?"


  The WRTC in 1990 got tremendous participation for a first-time contest.  I

  believe the advertising and prizes (pins, T-shirts, etc.) helped to bring

  in the casual guy.  Pins and cups have dramatically increased SS partici-

  pation, haven't they?


  I don't think the little guys are ever going to be in it on the chance that

  they might make a box.  They have to have FUN and they have to have a small

  incentive to get involved.  Minor prizes and timely scoring, plus some ad-

  vertising of contests where they look for it should have a tremendous payback

  ratio for the cost.  The box score comes later after they find out just how

  much fun it is.



  1) Advertise contesting (in your club, in our mags, on the air)

  2) Lots of small and medium-size prizes

     (attainable at the casual or medium-effort level)

  3) Timely, positive feedback (scoring results disseminated via packet,

     for example, or newsletter, or ???)

  4) Once you're in, "rate and rate" are the nominal goals, but before that

     is FUN!!


  In addition, good manners on the air to casual operators and others alike

  wouldn't hurt...


  This has been quite a ramble, hasn't it?  Hello 75-meters...

  73 and looking forward to the cascade of discussion!


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