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Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

Arresting radio

Police Tape

Many years ago the Australian radio consultant Phil Dowse talked me through some competition mechanics we were considering for BBC Local Radio.

You can tell this was a long time ago – most competitions were suspended from BBC radio in 2007. Ken Bruce’s Popmaster survived the cull but remember Car Park Catchphrase on Moyles? That one didn’t.

One of the competitions Phil introduced to the UK was The Fugitive. Like all good competition mechanics it’s based on a simple narrative: a mystery fugitive is loose in the area. You have to track him down, listening for clues on air and asking people “are you the [radio station] fugitive?”

It was ahead of its time, blurring theatre with reality and turning listeners into ambassadors of the station. And it’s still working a treat in the form of The Real Radio renegade.

As the local newspaper in Lancashire reports this week, the renegade-related activity of Real Radio listeners in Darwen alerted the suspicions of the Police.

Officers evacuated the town’s Post Office when they thought a hold-up was underway after an on-air clue prompted hundreds of listeners to go there.

Brilliant. You can’t buy publicity like that. Congratulations to John Simons and his team.

Given the massive Police presence, you’d think one of their highly-trained officers cornered the Renegade. Nope. He got away, last seen by a member of the public called Jaime.

I’d love to see the Police reports filed afterwards. Perhaps a freedom of information request is in order.

Photo: Police by freefotouk, on Flickr. Used under licence.