Attracting an audience
hwardsil at seattleu.edu
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
In addition, good manners on the air to casual operators and others alike
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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