Perhaps the most well-known Thanksgiving Day promotion ever pulled off was in 1978 by the fictional radio station WKRP in Cincinnati.
Station General Manager Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson, in an attempt to exercise some kind of assertion over the “casually dressed people [who] seemed to think they have taken over the place”… now that the station had converted to rock-n-roll… cooked up the “greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving Day history.”
Mr. Carlson’s “greatest turkey event” was to give away live turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. Trusted sidekick and slick salesman Herb Tarlek does some “fast talking” to get the birds while quirky news anchor Les Nessman — famous for his daily hog reports, always wearing a bowtie, and the unexplained bandages he wears in a different spot every day — is on the ground “reporting live” from the Pinedale Shopping Mall.
If you didn’t already know, this is where a great promotion turned into a great disaster as the turkeys, instead of soaring from the helicopter, come crashing down “hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!”
As our fictional radio friends at WKRP in Cincinnati gather back at the station, “Mr. Carlson” utters one of the most famous lines in sitcom history: “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!”
THE HOG REPORT
Well, Thanksgiving has never been quite the same, nor has the hog report since been delivered with as much flair.
Speaking of Les Nessman, the quirky bespectacled radio reporter became a bit of an alter year during a previous professional life when I spent twenty enjoyable years working in radio. By default of our shared name, I kind of adopted him sometime during my first year as a rookie radio sales rep after a small handful of clients took to calling me by his name. One in particular still to this day uses the moniker and will occasionally even ask about the hog report!
While my voice has been on the radio a few times — mostly back in 2004 as the Public Affairs Representative with the Utah Army National Guard when we deployed to Iraq — I have yet to ever deliver the hog report. But don’t write off me delivering the hog report just yet… I do have an intriguing history of riding hogs as a kid… just ask my cousin Gordy about it!
While I enjoyed writing radio commercials and creating effective marketing strategies utilizing radio, my skill set at the time didn’t lend itself to being the voice behind the microphone. My kids even gave me a t-shirt in those early radio days that said “My Face Was Made For Radio.”
DISCOVERING & DEVELOPING MY VOICE
I had no idea at the time I would eventually love to share my voice.
For too long I strongly believed my voice wasn’t made for radio let alone speaking of any kind. Unfortunately, this became one of the “ugly truths” I have written about several times, and which I allowed to define my self-worth in so many ways.
I feared if I were turned loose behind a mic, in a radio studio, podcast, or on stage I would probably do as Les Nessman did and misreport a monster blizzard as a “Monster Lizard ravishing the East Coast.” Or maybe I would slaughter the pronunciations of the names of politicians, celebrities, or athletes as Nessman did with Chi Chi Rodriquez, calling him “Chy Chy Rod-ra-geez.”
Eventually, I chose to change those limiting beliefs and create a better story. I really love to share my voice and have worked really hard to develop a strong confidence in my skills in writing, storytelling, and speaking. While I continually seek to improve, I have been blessed that so many of you enjoy what I share and encourage me to continue.
And that’s a great thing to be grateful for!
Have a beautiful Monday! Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to share your own Thanksgiving story or moment of gratitude.