WCFM deejays Topher Goggin ’02 and Ben Chaffee ’02 readily admit that they aren’t afraid to buy their listeners. The hosts of Take Our Word for it, WCFM’s satirical news show, are running their largest contest ever during the spring semester. Goggin stated that they plan to give away hundreds of dollars in gift certificates to the Williams Shop and Goff’s Sports in their new “High/Low-Show Me The Dough Game.” The game is played weekly on Take Our Word for it, which airs at 7 p.m. Thursdays on the student-run radio station WCFM (91.9 FM).
The object of the game is to determine the exact value of the gift certificate being given away. The certificates are somewhere between $1 and $250. Every week, listeners wait to hear a sound effect saying, “Show me the dough.”
Once this sound is played, the third caller receives three chances to guess the certificate’s value. After each attempt, Chaffee and Goggin instruct the caller to guess higher or lower. The range is thus narrowed down until someone wins, then the process starts over with a new certificate.
Chaffee, who hosts two other music shows on WCFM, pointed out that even people who can’t listen to the show regularly have a chance to win: “We realize that people can’t listen every week to keep track as the range gets narrowed. We have a sign in the Williams Shop listing the range, so anyone can check on it during the week. This lets anyone stay in the contest, even if they can’t always listen or join the game late, and hopefully generates some traffic for the Williams Shop in the process.” The game already has one winner under its belt. In just its second week, Mark Robertson ’02 cashed in with a correct guess of $179.
“We were kind of startled to get a winner so quickly,” Goggin commented. “When we designed the game we expected someone to win every three or four shows, so shelling out $179 the second week was pretty surprising. I actually think it’s to our advantage, though, because now we have a big winner we can use to publicize the contest.”
Goggin and Chaffee plan to run the contest until the end of the spring semester. On the air, they claim to get the money for the contest from a mythical sponsor named “The Pharaoh.” “The Pharaoh is just a nickname for my dad,” Goggin admits. “He and my mom give us the money to run our contests. We’ve been very fortunate that the local businesses have been willing to help us out, and the Williams Shop has been our best supporter.”
Take Our Word for it has used contests to attract listeners for the past three semesters. In the fall the show conducted a gigantic poker game (listeners had to tune in to get cards) for a $200 gift certificate to Water Street Books. Last spring’s contest was a giant treasure hunt, which eventually led to 25 to 30 people searching on the hill behind Weston Field during the show’s season finale. The treasure hunt prize was a $300 gift certificate to the Williams Shop.
Take Our Word for it has been a mainstay in WCFM’s Thursday prime-time lineup since Sept. 1998. The show features a satirical look at both mainstream and “crazy” news, as well as a weekly report from a mythical division called the “Crack” Research Department. “They’re separate from our heroin and marijuana research departments,” Goggin jokes.
Each episode also includes an interview with a local guest. Recent guests have included budding playwright Rolando Garcia ’02 and the Women’s Nordic ski team. Future guests include Housing Committee President Phil Swisher ’01, football and hockey broadcaster Jason Pack ’02, and professors of chemistry David Richardson and Tom Smith.
Goggin created Take Our Word for it shortly after arriving on campus last September. Chaffee joined the show in its seventh episode, and Goggin gives him a lot of credit for the show’s subsequent success. “The show became much more spontaneous once Ben came in. We play off each other well on the air. He gives me hell when he doesn’t like my jokes, but fortunately he messes up the weather occasionally and I can give it right back to him.”
Take Our Word for it leads off WCFM’s Thursday prime-time lineup at 7 p.m. and lasts about 30 minutes. After a brief musical break, it is followed by the dedication show Lovelines at 8 p.m. and a new show featuring live performances from student artists at 9 p.m.