When I was at the CBS affiliate in Anniston, Alabama I had the swell opportunity to host the afternoon show “Dialing for Dollars.”
It was one of those things that make small market local tv a beautiful thing. Every afternoon in between the last CBS soap opera of the day and the afternoon syndication timeslots (Oprah) we’d call someone on the phone and give them a chance to win some cash.
It’d go something like this:
“hey good afternoon I’m Jamey Tucker and welcome to Dialing for Dollars. The time you can win big if you can tell us the count and the amount”.
the count was something we’d pick like 2 down or 1 from the top. someone in production had cut up the local phone book into small squares. If the count was 3 down we’d reach into a big barrel and pull out one of those squares. We’d then count down three phone numbers from the the top.
The amount was the dollar amount for the day. We’d start with $40 since we were channel 40. Every day we didn’t have a winner, we’d add $5.
I remember seeing weatherman Bill Hagler do this when I was just a child. After I started anchoring the news there, I’d fill in for Bill whenever he was on vacation. I pretended it was a big pain since everyone in the newsroom made fun of the stunt. But I really liked it.
It was one of those things like listening to a “trading post” show on am radio. So simple, so old it was refreshing.
And viewers loved it. It wasn’t uncommon to call someone (live on tv) and they’d have a screaming fit over being picked. We’d almost always have someone every week to know the count and the amount so we never gave out a huge sum of money. People watched it. They liked it. They identified the station by it.