Mar 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Having a meet-and-greet between your news team and the public can have a lasting effect when you’re a TV station in Delmarva, a 10-county designated market area reaching just under 500,000 people in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. At least that is what WBOC-TV discovered.
The CBS affiliate and its sister UPN station, WBOC-DT, set up a 3,500-square-foot exhibit as part of its Rock Around the Fair event at last year’s Delaware State Fair.
Passers-by had an opportunity to shake hands with the on-air personalities or simply watch the news broadcast live at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. every weekday from a set built at the exhibit.
“Crowds would be lined up an hour before the newscast to watch the broadcast,” said National Sales Manager Dave Speicher. But Rock Around the Fair was more than a marketing venue for the station-it was an ad sales promotion that picked up about 12 sponsors.
“We were trying to drive attendance to the Delaware State Fair and promote the events at the fair and also promote [sponsors’] own individual businesses,” Mr. Speicher said. “We brought home six new accounts and increased revenue from existing accounts.”
The advertisers, which included the Department of Agriculture, the Delaware Soybean Board, an RV dealer, a recording studio, a country food store and the ubiquitous auto dealer all had to run their dollars during the summer campaign since they had to be spent in the third quarter, Mr. Speicher said.
The Draper Communications-owned stations also used the exhibit space as a dropoff spot for donations to its Bless Our Children Foundation, which helps needy families during the Christmas season.
For other stations considering a promotional tie-in with a state fair, “plan six months in advance,” Mr. Speicher suggested. By doing so, WBOC ensured that all the promotional spots were paid for.