Radio Contest

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The usual reaction.

This is how in TV shows, a main character will try to win a sum of cash, a car, some type of ticket, or a toy through a radio contest. Common gags include getting a group of friends together and all calling at once to increase odds, getting a whole bunch of phones together and dialing them all, then panicking when trying to find which phone is the winning call. Or just simple trivia, like naming all eight of Santa's reindeer for a Turbo Man toy.

If it's a TV show, attempts to win or unforeseen consequences of winning can be the basis of a whole episode. May lead to a Lottery Ticket episode.

Examples of Radio Contest include:


  • One "Got Milk?" commercial had a historian obsessed with the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr try to answer a trivia question about it to win a contest, but he had peanut butter sticking in his mouth and an empty milk glass, so he couldn't be understood.
    • That may be a Tear Jerker, at least to this troper. Especially the heartbroken way he mumbles "Awuhn Buh...". He even looks like he's about to burst into tears!


  • In Jingle All the Way, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character has to recite the names of all eight reindeer to win the toy for which he's searching the city.
  • In Slumdog Millionaire, the protagonist was able to get on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?? by calling when the host says, "If", instead of at the end of, "If you want to be on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire', call this number".
  • The "simple trivia" version was subverted in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, in that the "contest" was a ruse to get the heroine to the killer's island.
  • An incredibly minor subplot of the film One Crazy Summer involves the nervous, sleep-deprived uncle of one of the main characters, who spends the entire film hovering over a phone and a radio waiting for the right moment to call the local station and win a million dollars. As the film ends, that moment comes, and his is the lucky call—until he is abruptly disconnected and the next caller becomes the winner. As the credits roll, he takes another character's missile launcher (don't ask) and blows up the station.
  • In Down Periscope, electrician Nitro accidentally connects Commander Dodge to a radio station instead of Admiral Graham, leading to Dodge winning some concert tickets and T-shirts.
  • In Taking Care of Business, the premise of the movie involves a convict winning tickets to the World Series, but still having several days to serve in prison. The contest was simple: Name the first four albums of Led Zeppelin. (Which were, 1,2,3 and lacking a pronounceable name - 4)

Live Action TV

  • Drake and Josh.
  • In an episode of Hannah Montana, Jackson wins basketball tickets and must decide who to take, his dad or his best friend.
  • One episode of The Amanda Show features a scene where Amanda's self-proclaimed biggest fan, Penelope, has a room full of phones to win a contest to meet Amanda. It actually works against her, as when they call her back to give her the prize she has so many phones that she can't figure out which one is ringing.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has an episode where Cookie uses a jacket full of cell phones while trying to win a car. It all comes to nothing in the end, as the contest is for people 18 and up, making him ineligible. If only he'd listened to Moze...
  • One episode of Full House featured DJ and Kimmy calling in one radio contest for Beach Boys tickets. Not being very good at naming Beach Boys songs, the girls are on the verge of blowing their chance when Danny, Joey, and Jesse (whose own attempt to call in was pre-empted by the girls, and who have been listening downstairs) burst in and shout the answer.
  • On Boy Meets World, Shawn tries to win Super Bowl tickets (as part of a special assignment from Mr. Fenney) by sitting on a billboard in the cold. He drops out when an Eskimo enters the contest.
  • This happens in an episode of Charles in Charge, where Charles is not only a great babysitter, but he also knows exactly when to call the radio station to be the tenth caller.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had an episode where Charlie and Mac won a radio contest for a hockey vacation, with Charlie screaming in delight as the screen went to black for the title card.


  • In the "Weird Al" Yankovic epic song "Albuquerque", Al wins a plane ticket to the city by winning a contest to guess the number of molecules in Leonard Nimoy's butt (he was off by three).

Video Games

  • In Twisted Metal: Head-On, Spectre driver Chuckie Floop is in the Twisted Metal contest because he won one of these.

Western Animation

  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer and Filburt try to use a room full of telephones to win two tickets to a wrestling match. They fail when Rocko dials a wrong number and ends up winning the tickets. Hilarious asshattery ensues.
  • There's a Taz-Mania episode where Taz is critically injured and confined to bed when he gets a call from the radio contest that he can't answer. They try calling him multiple times before giving up.
  • This happens in an episode of The Simpsons, when Homer calls to give the correct answer to a trivia question. Even though Homer's low reading ability causes him to give a slightly wrong answer, he still wins the prize.

Real Life

  • In Sacramento, 107.9 had people competing for a Nintendo Wii (the contest was quite inanely named "Hold Your Wee For a Wii") by drinking small bottles of water every fifteen minutes, the contestants would lose the contest if they went to the bathroom. One contestant, Jennifer Strange, famously died of water intoxication; her family later sued the station and Nintendo for wrongful death.