“Trivia 44: ‘That’s Not All Folks!’” will begin Friday, April 19, and run for 54 hours, ending at midnight Sunday, April 21, on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s WWSP 90FM campus radio station.
The annual trivia contest, now in its 44th year, uses a slogan that refers to the Mayan calendar that had predicted the world would end Dec. 22, 2012, said Jim “The Oz” Oliva, who is writing the contest for the 35th year.
Oliva said he was thinking of using the slogan “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Contest” when the idea of using the Mayan calendar prediction struck him. “It’s just so perfect,” he said, voicing a play on the “Looney Toons” cartoons that usually ended with the Porky Pig character saying, “That’s All Folks.”
Registration is $30 per team and must be completed in advance at the 90FM studios, between 3 and 7 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, April 15 to 18; and between noon and 6 p.m. Friday, April 19.
Teams can also register online at www.90fmtrivia.org, where complete rules, team listings and registration information are available. All Trivia profits are used for scholarships and general operations of the radio station.
Teams will receive a copy of “New Trivia Times” containing rules and information about the contest, as well as photos to identify. Questions about the photos will be asked during the contest.
New to the festivities this year is “The Trivia Kick-off Gig: A Beatles Tribute,” a concert featuring local bands The Hi-Matics, Haunter, and Farmer Dave and The Crops. It was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in the Basement Brewhaus of the Dreyfus University Center on campus. It is free and open to the public.
Oliva said the idea for the concert came from the WWSP executive staff, who have planned and promoted it, especially among UWSP students to get them more involved in the event.
“We’ll be giving things away throughout the concert,” he said, “but no Spam,” referring to a contest theme several years ago and included giving away the Spam product.
The Trivia Kick-off Movie will be shown Friday, April 12, at midnight and on Saturday, April 13, at 10:30 a.m. and midnight at Rogers Cinema, 2725 Church St., Stevens Point. Admission is $3 to the movie, the title of which will be announced when the movie begins.
“It’s going to be another one of those (movies) people haven’t seen on the big screen,” Oliva said. “It’s one of those if I’m flipping through the channels I’m going to watch it again.” In recent years those movies have included classic movies such as “Casablanca” and “3 Godfathers.”
The annual Trivia Kick-off Parade begins at 4 p.m. Friday, April 19, in Lot Q at Fourth and Illinois avenues. It continues on Maria Drive, Isadore and Portage streets to College Avenue, Reserve, High and Fremont streets to Sims Avenue, ending in the parking lot at P.J. Jacobs Junior High School.
Oliva said he suspects there’ll be people in togas in the parade, even if it snows, as well as some Looney Tunes characters, maybe even a Mayan.
During the contest, 90FM listeners will hear an average of eight questions broadcast each hour, and teams will generally have the length of two songs to call in their answers. Each teams is given an identification number and limited to one call per question. Teams with correct answers are given an equal share of the 2,000 points each question is worth, with a minimum of five points and a maximum of 500 points. Trophies will be given to the top 10 teams with the highest points.
The contest also includes a number of special features, including a special hour that gives teams one song to answer each question, the Trivia Stone that leads participants around the area following clues, music snippets where teams have to identify short segments of musical pieces and running questions on Saturday and Sunday mornings where teams have to find answers at businesses.
While once just a contest for those in Stevens Point, Trivia has expanded across the globe, with thousands participating via computer in Europe and around the United States. The contest is simulcast on the WWSP website.
John Eckendorf, who has co-written the contest with Oliva for 25 years, said he’s excited about the contest. “I’m looking forward to the questions, music and laughs,” he said. “It’s all intended to be fun. We write the contest with the intent for it to be fun.”
Writing the contest has been a fun experience for Oliva and Eckendorf. “We’ve had tears from laughing so hard from time to time,” Eckendorf said.
He said there may be a couple of surprises during the weekend, and he hopes the weather will cooperate. He especially hopes the weather cooperates this weekend when he and Oliva write the Trivia Stone clues, which depends on favorable weather so the teams can pick out the clues.
A few years ago, an unexpected snowstorm caused the Trivia Stone portion of the contest to be canceled because the snow buried a number of the clues and made the roads slippery for travel.
Eckendorf said teams may be surprised this year when they look at the New Trivia Times because there’s about 70 pages in the book. “The (90FM) staff did such a great job selling ads so there will be more pictures in it,” he said.
“There are people looking forward to getting the book, scanning the copy and sending them to team members. There are people who take off all week to prepare for the contest and try to figure out who is in the pictures. We hope they enjoy this.”
April in central Wisconsin is always a new adventure for Trivia, whether it’s the weather or something else, Oliva said. “We try to mix things up.”
Fun is always the desired product he said. “We’ve got to have some fun with it. It’s the whole concept of this contest. If you really look at it, it’s ridiculous, but you have to do it because it’s so ridiculous. You get people together and have fun.”
Oliva had praise this year for the 90FM executive board, which consists of students, as well as the student staff.
“Student management goes in waves,” he said. “There are good years and bad. We really have a talented and dedicated executive staff this year. They’ve brought in a business atmosphere and they are on top of things.
He said the station is respected throughout the nation for its programs, such as the trivia contest and weekends for the Dylan Days, Jazzfest, Beatlesfest, Radiothon, and the Rolling Stones Fest.
Other student stations can’t get that stuff going, he said. “When they see and hear about Trivia, it just blows their mind. The number of people involved to pull it off is remarkable, as well as the amount of planning.
Some student stations were taken over by Wisconsin Public Radio and may only get three hours a day for broadcasting, while others are off the air.
WWSP 90FM is able to generate revenue from the $30 Trivia registration, Trivia merchandise and the other events so it is able to get anything to stay on the air, he said. “Other college stations in the U.S. envy Stevens Point, and there’s not another station in the country with as much programming.”