Syndie ‘Gimme’ Pleases Sponsors

Jul 25, 2005  •  Post A Comment

“American Idol” may be a popular show, but the chances of talented teens from a local market appearing on the program are slim. That’s why Capitol Broadcasting-owned Fox affiliate WRAZ-TV in Durham, N.C., hosts its own ad-supported singing contest.

WRAZ’s version of Post-Newsweek’s syndicated “Gimme the Mike!” ferrets out top talent ages 16 and older across the Raleigh-Durham market. Recently wrapping up its second season, the six-episode series had Verizon SuperPages as the major sponsor of the program.

Four singers performed every week for five weeks. The winner, Erica Davidson, was announced on the sixth week during a live hour-long season finale that aired May 25 at 7 p.m., just before “American Idol.”

After each show during the competition, viewers could go online and vote from 8 p.m. until midnight for an Ultimate Wild Card winner who would compete against each week’s judges’ picks during the finale.

The grand prize winner received a trip to New York and an audition for record label executives.

As far as advertisers are concerned, “Gimme the Mike!” is more about a partnership-sponsorship than points, said Kevin Kolbe, executive producer of the series and creative services director at WRAZ. “It is more about someone who wants to be associated with the show and have product placement than just getting two spots on the show,” he said.

The “Gimme the Mike!” format is syndicated by Post-Newsweek to about 30 stations.

Griffin Communications’ KOTV in Tulsa, Okla., launched its six-week series July 11, running through Aug. 15, with sponsors including Maupin’s Kia of Tulsa dealership, Braum’s ice cream and dairy stores and Mathis Bros. furniture. Other stations carrying “Gimme the Mike!” include Sinclair Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate WSYX-TV in Columbus, Ohio, Viacom’s UPN affiliate KTXA-TV in Dallas and Belo’s independent station KONG-TV in Seattle.