Dynamic married duo Gene & Julie Gates host the award-winning Gene & Julie Show which has aired in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta and Raleigh. They’ve been featured on “American Idol,” HuffPost Live, CNN, Country Music Television, ABC’s “Nightline,” NBC Nightly News, Oprah Winfrey and in The Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
As the parents of a young daughter, Gene & Julie have a soft spot in their hearts for kids: they’ve helped raise over $4.5 million for children’s hospitals and have been honored with two Wishmaker Awards from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Last year, the couple was recognized with the “Large Market Personality of the Year” Marconi Award from the National Association of Broadcasters. For more information about the show, head to www.GeneAndJulie.com or follow them on social @GeneAndJulie.
Gene and Julie have always had the knack of identifying those can’t-miss bits, but not every one works to perfection. Great bits continue to drive personality radio – especially the AC, Hot AC, and CHR formats – as evidenced by the always compelling “Battle of the Bits” which takes place each year at Don Anthony’s Morning Show Boot Camp.
Most recently at WRAL (Raleigh), Gene & Julie are searching for their next home. They love radio, and are seeking a permanent home to lay down roots for their family, win big for a great media brand, and become fixtures in a new community.
We wish them well in their quest, and thank them for writing today’s “Guest List.” – FJ
We wish we could say we always have great shows, but we’ve done bits that just plain sucked. Some epic fails. Today we’re grateful for those failures because from them, we learned that when a bit succeeds it passes these three simple test questions:
- Is it MEMORABLE? Will people remember it… or will it be forgotten as soon as the next shiny object comes along?
- Is it CONTAGIOUS? Do fans HAVE to share it with their friends?
Is it ADDICTING? Do fans have to come back for more? Do they set an appointment to return tomorrow?
Now, all our bits are held to that litmus test. And using this easy formula, here are 5 bits that created big buzz, fun images and multiple tune-ins for The Gene & Julie Show.
1. Long Lost Love
Do you ever wonder what happened to that guy you used to date? Is he a CEO or living in his mama’s basement? A private investigator joins us for our Long Lost Love segment—he finds out what your ex is up to without him knowing you had him checked out.
This benchmark has two-day serial content (Day one: the listener tells her story. Day two: the private investigator comes back with the results). This has great relationship drama as it plays upon our voyeuristic tendencies, the “what could have been” fantasies, and our “should I have let him go?” regrets. No one ever said relationships were easy, and most of us wonder what happened to the one that got away.
2. I’d Give My Right Arm for Justin Bieber Tickets
When a star comes to town, the fandom will do anything to see the show, including “giving their right arm.” For a chance to win meet-and-greets, we had five superfans come to the studio on a .Monday to share their celebrity obsession. Then an orthopedic technician put their right arms in a plaster cast. Our contestants had until Friday to see who could get the most celebrity autographs on their cast (as evidence they took selfies of the autographs in progress).
Throughout the week, the contestants gave us updates during the show and we posted their photos on social. On Friday morning, all the contestants came back in the studio, we reviewed the celebrity signatures, listeners voted on who should win, and the winner was crowned.
The bit took on a life of its own because our contestants were running all over town creating buzz for the show by chatting us up to sports stars, coaches, actors, CEOs, clients, musicians and television personalities… plus, they were annoying our competition by telling them how much they love our show while seeking their autographs. It was easy to get TV news, bloggers and fan clubs to cover the bit… plus, our contestants were sharing it with every one of THEIR followers. In the end, we surprised the contestants and gave all of them meet-and-greet passes, so everyone won.
3. Marching Band Wake-Up Call
Parents were complaining about how difficult it was to get their kids out of bed in the morning for school, so we enlisted the help of the North Carolina State University Marching Band for a surprise wake-up call. Live during the show, the band marched through the unsuspecting kid’s bedroom in full uniform with horns and drumlines blaring.
This bit worked on a variety of levels: it was serial content for three days encouraging multiple tune-ins, it produced great audio on location, and it provided funny and shareable video for the station website and social. But most of all, the bit was extraordinarily viral, as the marching band has 325 members and NC State has over 33,000 students who were sharing and retweeting about the bit for days.
4. We’re Paying For Your Entire Christmas and Handing Out Envelopes of Christmas Cash
We tell our listeners we will be handing out envelopes stuffed with Christmas Cash and prizes at a secret location on Monday morning… and in one of those envelopes we’ll be paying for a FAMILY’S ENTIRE CHRISTMAS ($1,000). We let them know we’ll announce the secret location Monday morning at 6 a.m. and that listeners can drive by to get an envelope while supplies last—OR if they want the location texted to them the night before, they can sign-up for the station’s texting platform and we’ll text it to them at 8 p.m. Sunday night.
We’ve done this bit in multiple markets and it always has an enormous response. We do our morning show live from the location and have fun on the air with listeners as they rip open the envelopes to find anything from $20 to concert tickets, Cirque du Soleil passes and a few $1,000 envelopes.
Clients play an important partnership role in this bit, receiving mentions in recorded promos on the station. We also bring recording artists, special guests and local celebrities on location to make it a big holiday show.
Warning: this bit can get really big, really fast… the police might have shown up to try to shut us down because the highway was jammed. News helicopters might have been reporting it. Just sayin.’
5. Big Fat Liar
How good are you at figuring out who’s telling the truth and who’s telling a lie? The four cast members of The Gene & Julie Show share a short revealing personal story; however, one of the stories is a lie. Figure out who the Big Fat Liar is and you win. This game is an opportunity to showcase funny, entertaining stories and help define cast members’ characters. The bit also can be developed into an online quiz on the station website so listeners can connect with the show once they get to work.
If you have any questions about these bits or their implementation– feel free to reach out to us. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. And may 2017 be your best year yet!
Thanks to Seth Resler for putting together today’s “Guest List.”
More Guest Lists
- Steve Goldstein: 6 Ways Podcasts Are Different Than Radio
- Valerie Geller: 5 Things Radio Program Directors Should Start Doing (if you’re not already…)
- Rich Homberg: The 5 Things Today’s Radio Personalities Can Learn from J.P. McCarthy
- Blubrry’s Todd Cochrane: 5 Things You Should Know About Podcast Measurement
- James Cridland: 5 Countries You Should Look At For Radio Ideas
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