In 1993, WCBS launched a promotion campaign that involved the distribution of cheap yellow plastic flyswatters as novelty souvenirs. The idea was that Newsradio88 could swat the competition (WINS) as easily as swatting a fly.
The slogan News Without The Noise on the flyswatter was a slam at 1010-WINS for using a teletype sounder behind its news readers (a sound WCBS itself adopted, even after computers had replaced teletypes, which were becoming obsolete). This year was WCBS's twenty-fifth, which could have been celebrated with its commitment to news, community dedication, and quality. Alas, it was about swatting the competition like flies.
Needless to say, the flyswatter campaign was lost on the listeners and non-listeners alike who had no idea what it was all about, and it was certain that 1010-WINS never lost a listener. Here's the flyswatter commercial for TV. Click to play:
The failed promotion came at an awkward time for the station, then managed by Ed Kiernan. Not only had there been an ill-advised change in newsroom management, WCBS regularly interrupted its news programming to broadcast a local college's basketball games, which were of no interest to an all-news audience.
Predictably, the station's ratings plummeted to unparalleled lows (at one point a humiliating seventeenth in the market). It took fresh management and years for WCBS to recover -- and, of course, the flyswatter promotion didn't help.
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