Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, May 05, 2006

Truly Trivial

One of the favourite parts of my new job is coming up with trivia questions. YOu know what I"m talking about. Every radio station does it. They announced some kind of startling statistic (ie "37% of women shove this up their noses!"), people call in and make all kinds of embarrassing guesses (ie "toothbrushes!") until, finally, the real answer is arrived at (ie "kleenex!").

I made up that example. But you know what I"m getting at. It's my job to find one of those questions and try to stump the listeners. But see, doing things in Athabasca, there are some unique challenges.

I'm going to pull back the curtain and reveal some of the radio magic. Just about every radio station these days records their phone calls. Every phone call you hear on the radio happened about 3 minutes ago. The announcer recorded it, and saved it for the right time.

Now, with that in mind, every trivia question you hear on the air, was answered on about the second or thrid guess. The announcer recorded the winner, and kept on recording all kinds of incorrect guesses. The announcer then plays the funniest or oddest or best of the wrong guesses, until he or she feels it's gone on long enough. Then, the announcer plays the winning phone call, and it's over.

But see, here in Athabasca, we're a small operation. So, we're one of those operations that does not record phone calls. Every phone call is done live.

And you can imagine the ribbing I get when a trivia question is answered on the first or second try.

My challenge is I've got to come up with really challenging trivia questions that will get a lot of guesses...but are still fun and kind of silly.

My first two days didn't go so well. Answered on the first guess. But, on Wednesday, I found a really tough one.

Q: Which cartoon character originally spoke Pig Latin and wore a fruit-covered hat?

Hint: He's a breakfast cereal mascot.

A: Toucan Sam.

That one was great, but guess as soon as I gave the hint. That'll have to be my formula, I think. A really tough question, with a crucial hint that gives it away.

I've found lots of good trivia bits. Some of them I can't use because I don't know how to phrase them as a question. Like this one:

In 1996, the average bra size bought was 34B. Today, it's 36C.

I like this one, but I fear it may be too easy.

Q: This city was voted the most dangerous, least attractive, the rudest...and the one place most would like to visit.

A: New York City.

But yeah. That's definitly a fun part of the job.

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