An old-fashioned brains vs. brains quiz show, one high school against another in a fast-paced test of student knowledge is entering into its fifth season on WTVO and WQRF in Rockford, Ill. “It proves that people will still tune in to watch locally originated programming that offers value to the viewer and business owner,” said Kelly Lattimer, WQRF’s general manager.
The show brings together three of my favorite subjects: schools and education; hyper-local, unique programming; and a successful local TV sales idea that’s a win for everybody involved.
Who would think that students from one high school pitted against another, answering questions on various subjects like science, the arts, literature, history, and the like, would make for a successful local TV program?
The questions can be hard for rocket scientists, Rhodes scholars and Mensa members, let alone high school students.
Here are just a few comments I’ve lifted from past Market Share articles about the Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl, an old fashioned brains vs. brains quiz show, one high school against another, in a fast-paced test of student knowledge created by WTVO and WQRF in Rockford. (WTVO is Mission Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate, WQRF is Nexstar’s Fox affiliate; the stations share studios.)
“Creating good content that connects and resonates with viewers matters greatly to us as broadcasters serving a local community,” said Kelly Lattimer, WQRF’s general manager.
“It proves that people will still tune in to watch locally originated programming that offers value to the viewer and business owner.”
“We are known now as the education station. We’ve added a significant amount of education programming. And this is just enriching the community.
“As the Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl heads into its fifth season, I wanted to share its development and how the station has kept the program fresh promotionally and added new sales sponsors.
“First, the show continues to deliver significant audiences each week regardless of teams playing, with a solid 3.0 in households through week 3,” said Lattimer.
In terms of sponsors, Lattimer said the program “picked up a few additional new companies this year, including a local manufacturing company, Ford Tool, that has never bought any form of advertising, ever.”
“Ford Tool jumped on board this season based on the success other sponsors have had using the show to fulfill their recruitment needs. We were particularly thrilled when we caught the eye of the Army National Guard, who is using the show as a recruitment tool.”
Shawn Anderson, the creative services director for WTVO and WQRF and the executive producer of the Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl, got the corporate folks at Bergstrom, Dave Rydell, the chairman, and Jack Shaffer, the CEO, to star in some fun promos for this season.
Keeping the promotion fresh year after year is a challenge, but Anderson finds a way to pump new life into advertising the show.
“I don’t know what the WTVO viewership stats are for our area, other than the Quiz Bowl, but it must be huge as it seems everywhere we go someone comes up and starts talking about the new ads with Jack and me,” said Dave Rydell, Bergstrom’s chairman.
“They are really a huge hit. It appears your viewers are getting as big a kick out of them as the show itself and they have their favorites.”
Eric Wilson, a WTVO news anchor, is the host of the Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl.
In addition to this campaign, Anderson got some of the participating students themselves to star in some promos for the program.