The WMCA Promotions
Promotions were a major part of the WMCA appeal. The most memorable, of course, are the "WMCA Good Guy Sweatshirts". Ruth Meyer decided the station needed a signature giveaway that was better than what the competitors gave to listeners. Most stations give away T Shirts. So, Ruth gave away sweatshirts. And, WOW.... did WMCA give away sweatshirts! Call in to win if you hear your name announced by one of The Good Guys. The phone number was Plaza 2 9944. WMCA flooded New York with sweatshirts with the famous smiley face WMCA good guys logo. Here's a bit of trivia... Ruth was very concerned with the quality of those sweatshirts. When a major clothing company approached the station about supplying the famous shirts, Ruth was not satisfied with the quality of them and actually turned the offer down rather than giving away a lesser product!
The sweatshirts were only the beginning. There was also the famous WMCA Picnic. The idea was that for an entire week in July, WMCA would announce clues over the air as to where this picnic was supposed to take place that coming Sunday. Anyone who could figure out the location was invited as long as they wore their Good Guys sweatshirt. As the week went along, the clues got easier so that the Sunday morning of the picnic, it became very easy for listeners to figure out. And, figure it out they did. By the thousands New York listeners poured into Nassau County Long Island not far from the Jones Beach entrance at a military school. WMCA did not think to notify the police first and this was not appreciated by the local authorities. The enormous turnout resulted on tramped lawns, illegally parked cars and more people than WMCA could ever hope to satisfy. It was an example of the tremendous appeal the station had at that time.
The WMCA Good Guy's era coincided with The Beatles era. All top 40 music radio stations of that time did everything and anything to get in step with the Fab Four. One of WMCA's contests was an ingenious one and it didn't cost anything which made it even better. Ruth Meyer's idea was to offer listeners a chance to win a lock of Ringo Starr's hair. All they had to do was to submit a drawing or painting that you or someone created that had a Beatles wig on it and the most original submission won. There was only one problem... WMCA never asked Ringo for permission to get Ringo's hair. Joe O'Brien was given the job of getting the hair... not an easy task considering Ringo knew nothing about this. So, Joe went to that first Beatles news conference at the Plaza Hotel with a pair of scissors and asked Ringo for the hair. Needless to say, Ringo was taken back by Joe's request since, to say the least, it was a bit strange for some guy to be standing in front of him with a pair of scissors asking for a lock of hair for a contest! Just as Ringo was about to refuse, John Lennon said "Oh Ringo, give him a piece of your *#&% 'in hair"! Joe got the hair, WMCA ran the contest and received over 85,000 entries! (The winner was a huge Queen Elizabeth picture with a Beatles wig.)
WMCA billed itself as "The Most Generous Station In The Nation". There were lots of quick call in contests which ran constantly. The prizes frequently were not big but it didn't matter. They ran all the time and it was the excitement of winning something that made it fun. "Name It And Claim It" was one of the most popular (and easy to win) contests. All you had to do was name the song that was playing and you could win it. Then there was Joe O'Brien's "Tongue Twister" contest where you won a sweatshirt if he could say your tongue twister or you won $57. if he couldn't. B. Mitchel Reed did "Musical Love Letters", Harry Harrison did the "Housewife Hall of Fame",
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