Thursday, December 17, 2015

Longest-Running Radio Trivia Show

Radio trivia wasn't invented here.. just perfected. Mel Simmons wrote the book on it, The Old-Time Radio Trivia Book, but not until 2004, less than a year before this blog was launched. I'd argue that actually
Arnold Passman invented it in 1971 with the book The DeeJays in 1971. But the first radio show on trivia was probably Vox Pop in 1932. The program crossed the line between man-on-the-street interview and quiz show in about 1935.. a year before Professor Quiz debuted on CBS in 1936. More here.

But the longest-running trivia contest in radio didn't even debut until decades after the fad was over. Starting in 1982 station 1100 WISS-AM in Berlin, WI began simulcasting a trivia contest with another Hometown Broadcasting property 104.7 WBJZ-FM. At some point it was simulcast on 3 stations including 97.3 WAUH-FM. But by 2005,  the contest was broadcast only on WAUH.

Despite the move to FM the contest wasn't growing in stature. The contest was not a weekly like NPR's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me.  It was an annual contest, so there were only 23 episodes in total. While that format worked for call in participants in 1984, by the mid to late 1990s teams had moved past encyclopedias to using the Internet. Of course early web browsers weren't exactly amazing but neither was the Internet. But by 1995 both IE and Netscape were allowing a basic keyword search to solve those kind of problems. Opera in 1996, and then Mozilla arrived in 1998. Wikipedia launched in 2001 and thing went downhill rapidly. 
The long-running radio program was cancelled and no contest was held in 2006. Damn you Jimmy Wales.