Sunday, October 26, 2008




One of the biggest contests WARM had in the 60s was a thing called Tele-Fun. The object of the game was simple, WARM would pick your name out of the phone book and call you. The announcer would ask what was in the Tele-Fun jackpot. It could be as low as $5.90 and as high as $590.00, the latter no small change back then. Sometimes the dollar amounts would vary but always end with 59 cents. Again, top of the mind awareness of the number 59 or 590. The beauty of the contest was that all you needed to enter was your name in the phone book. "I used to dial the phone number 7 digits in to get a head start" confesses Jean, a 71 year old WARM listener during its heydey. The object was to build audience and when word got out you could win money if you heard your name and called back in 5 minutes and 90 seconds, well then that was a contest no one could complain about. The Tele-Fun contest lines ended around 8PM on the theory that "the kids" needed to do their homework. A few people used Tele-Fun as a premier crank call vehicle but savvy WARMlanders knew a Sensational Seven member's voice when they heard it and the cranks never gained traction. Tele-Fun was in fact an adult audience builder cementing the bond between the rock and roll music it played and the moms and dads who were interested in a little cash just for having their names in the phone book. The numbers by the way were 822-6161 and 346-4646.
FROM YOU TUBE, a song that hit the top 10 at the pinnacle of Tele-Fun, Chris Montez and "Call Me".


Anonymous said...

This had to be one of the earliest incarnations of what became a radio standard, and that would be Cash Call. You'd be hardpressed to find a radio station in America that didn't do a version of Cash Call in the 70s and into at least some of the 80s. I'm pretty sure WARM did bring it back as Cash Call somewhere in the early 80s.

It was easy, required no effort to produce or stage, and when you got right down to it, it wasn't inexpensive - winners were frequent enough to prevent really huge jackpots from accumulating.

Simple, effective, it forced listening, and everyone is eligible. The perfect radio contest.

Anonymous said...

What I meant to say, obviously, is that it "wasn't expensive." Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Cash Call was still going strong when I started at WARM in 1989. It evolved into the Warmland Lottery a couple years later.

By the way, it was the job of the receptionist to select at random and to type up the sheet of names, addresses and phone numbers for cash call contestants. The sheet always sat at the right side of the WARM Control Board, on a clipboard. The info came out of the phone book, or from the solicited postcards of those who were unlisted. "If you're unlisted, you have to mail us a post card".

One short-lived WARM employee met their demise after a Cash Call fiasco, but I think I'll wait another twenty years before posting those specifics---or you can buy me a beer, if you wanna know more.

Stan P.