WDAF Kansas City wanted to thank its 500,000 Facebook fans with a special day of celebration. Problem was, as the day approached, it didn’t have a half million followers. The solution was a 24-hour Facebook Live marathon. “I don’t know that it’s been done before, but to go 24 hours straight on Facebook Live was quite the feat,” said Danielle Ray, WDAF’s creative services director.
WDAF, Tribune’s Fox affiliate in Kansas City, has more Facebook fans, just over 500,000, than any other TV station in town. So the station decided it needed to celebrate that milestone by doing something special for its followers.
WDAF launched a Thanks A Half Million campaign and planned a special day, Tuesday, Sept. 25, to celebrate, getting several local attractions to drop their prices to just $4 for the day. The attractions — The Kansas City Zoo, the Sea Life Aquarium, the Legoland Discovery Center and Science City — normally charge admissions from $14 to over $20.
There was just one hitch. A month out from the date, the station didn’t have 500,000 “likes.” It was 8,500 short.
“So we figured we needed to come up with a plan to pull out all the stops to figure out how we could actually hit 500,000 by that Sept. 25 date,” said Dana McDaniel, WDAF’s news director.
The solution was a 24-hour Facebook Live marathon, starting at 6:30 the evening of Thursday, Sept. 20, and going until 6:30 on Friday evening.
“I don’t know that it’s been done before, but to go 24 hours straight on Facebook Live was quite the feat,” said Danielle Ray, WDAF’s creative services director.
“Nearly every department in the station contributed to the Facebook Lives. We did station tours, podcasts, behind-the-scenes feeds, out to high school football games, and ended it all live with fans who were tailgating before the Billy Joel concern at Arrowhead Stadium.”
“One of the craziest things we did,” said McDaniel, “our morning show anchor, Mark Alford, is very, very popular and I had one of the reporters drive to his house and knock on his door at 4 a.m. and we gave him a ride to work. So we had a little breakfast with him, let his dogs out, let him get ready and then chauffeured him to work that day, stopped at Quick Trip, bought doughnuts for people — yeah it was really fun. It was 5 o’clock in the morning and I think we had almost 300 people watching the Live Facebook stream, which was interesting.”
Ray said the station had a live, two-hour show that Friday morning with a full audience of Kansas City Chiefs mega-fans in the studio, packed into a temporary set in the newsroom since the station was in the middle of a set construction.
“Kind of had like an ESPN game day atmosphere in the news room.”
At the end of the 24-hour Facebook Live, the station had reached its goal of 500,000 Facebook fans.
And the special Thanks A Half Million celebration day on Tuesday, Sept. 25, was a huge success. “There were massive lines at all of the attractions,” said Ray, “and we were live throughout our morning show talking to fans. They loved it.”
“It was crazy how many people came out to enjoy the $4 ticket price,” said McDaniel.
“The venues were super thrilled, too. In fact, we have been talking about maybe making this an annual 4 buck day thing if we can pull it off again.”