Fun Radio Fact #914

One of the things I love about public radio is how you can turn the dial, and as soon as you hear that deep, round silence, followed by beautifully enunciated vowels, you know you are in the land of Stamberg and Simon. The flip side of that is the wildly frenetic sound of 1010 WINS — anyone who's ever ridden in a NYC taxi, or lived in the fabled tri-state area, knows exactly what that sounds like. And what their promise is. "Give us 22 minutes, and we'll give you the world!" Today, while reading an online chat with one of Washington's commercial all-news radio gurus, I learned the secret to that famous phrase. Here's WTOP's Jim Farley on washingtonpost.com:

Arlington, Va.: Jim, since you once worked at WINS, can you answer a question that has bothered me for decades: if their broadcasts last 20 minutes, why is their slogan "You give us 22 minutes, we give you the world"?

Jim Farley: Thanks! You give us 22 minutes and we give you the world was designed (by a consultant) to make people THINK they listened longer than they really did and write that down in their Arbitron Diary.*

Brilliant! Read the whole thing for the secret behind "weather on the 8's."

*For those of you who don't know, Arbitron is like Nielson for radio — for decades (and this is going to start changing thanks to new technology) people wrote down what they listened to in diaries.

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