Magic's accounting department just prepared a $1000.00 check for a contest winner, and as I signed a staff greeting card it occurred to me that Magic 98's large promotional budget has always been the exception in broadcasting.
We've actually lost track of how much "Magic Money" has been awarded since the contest began in 1984, but it's north of $300,000.00. We've had many "Birthday Game" winners of $10,000.00. We once hired a Brinks guard to help deliver $9800.00 to a listener on "Take Your Radio to Work Day." I recall a "Millionaire for a Day" that won an overnight stay at New York's Waldorf Astoria before attending a Barbra Streisand concert." When the P.T. Cruiser was the hottest new car and couldn't be kept in stock, Magic spent over $20,000.00 to get one for a contest.
Still, I have not forgotten my early days in radio. My starting wage was $2.10 per hour. The General Manager gave me a raise to $2.30 and said "Good job, there'll be more where that came from." Later I realized minimum wage had risen by 20 cents. The station owner once decided the studio needed a new clock, but rather than buy one he walked into the drug store next door and offered them 10 commercials for one. That's where the old broadcasting phrase "A dollar a holler" comes from.