Trivia On-Air Guide

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Guide to Writing On-Airs and Matching Songs to Them

On-Air Questions and Answers

It's a good idea to phrase an on-air question to encourage short answers.

Song Length

Team Deine Mutter ist eine Geekenwehrmachtstaffel strove to keep all songs between 2 and 4.5 minutes long. The idea is not to have a song go on for too long but also make sure the teams have enough time to call in and make their guesses.

Song Matching

In general, a good song match gives oblique hints to the answer and may also relate, by song title or artist, to the topic or to the answer.

Also, given that Trivia goes on overnight, keep as many of the songs as you can perky and peppy. Save extra-peppy songs you don't have a good match for to have played during the 4:00 a.m. break.

Opinions Vary

Steve Homer, May 18, 2005:

"Including a "hint" to the answer in the song choice is a far, far cry from giving away the answer. The best hints are oblique, and preferably funny.

Here's some examples of what I would consider "good" song matches, all from the Click Here contest:

Question: Oh, baby! What's going to get 9 inches longer in 2004? Answer: The NCAA basketball 3-point shot. Song: "Beat Surrender" by the Jam

Question: The town nearest the center of Utah is Levan. How did Levan, Utah get its name? Answer: "Navel" spelled backwards. Song: "The Hardest Button to Button" by the White Stripes

Question: As many websites will tell you, we're down to 155 days. For what? Answer: For the Olsen Twins to become legal. Song: "Let Me In" by the Sensations

Question: Uncombined alkali, carbonates and various mineral matter make up 0.56% of what product? Answer: Ivory Soap. Song: "No Scrubs" by TLC

Question: According to a recent study, how do herring communicate with each other underwater? Answer: Flatulence. Scientists call the fishies' system "FRTS"-- Fast Repetitive Tick Sounds.) Song: "Tiny Bubbles" by Don Ho

Question: According to Mensa, who is the smartest movie character ever? Who's second? Answer: Will Hunting; John Nash. Song: "I Dig Your Mind" by the Nervous Breakdowns

Question: Hall of Fame NFL coach George Allen is known for developing the "nickel defense," as well as creating offseason training camps. However, another popular football tradition didn't work out as well for him. What happened in Allen's final game, when he was coaching Long Beach State? Answer: His players dumped a keg of Gatorade over his head. He contracted pneumonia, and died weeks later. Song: "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard

Question: What is the unique literary accomplishment of the Star Trek novelization "The Brave and the Bold"? Answer: It includes characters from all 5 "Star Trek" TV series. Song: "Stay Together" by N.E.R.D.

Question: Harmon Killebrew is the Jerry West of baseball.... or conversely, Jerry West is the Harmon Killebrew of the NBA. How so? Answer: They're the models for the silhouettes in their sports' respective logos. Song: "Shapes of Things" by the Yardbirds

Question: What was atypical about the opening credits for last year's "Daredevil"? Answer: They were in both English and Braille.

Song: "Fingertips" by Stevie Wonder"

Rachel, May 18, 2005:

"I've always thought that a perfect song match is one which

relates to the question but doesn't make the answer obvious. I'm willing to use a song that gives away the answer if it's a really funny pairing, or if the song is just too fantastic to resist (often, for me, that means it's a wacky cover, or something truly geektastic) but my preference is to go for songs that relate to the question but keep the answer obscured.

Then again, I don't think it's a hard-and-fast rule."

Laura, May 18, 2005:

"It can be rather annoying to start

googling for an answer and realize just as you're about to figure it

out that the song gives it away anyway..."

Sandy, May 18, 2005:

"The music wins you a separate point for a reason. It shouldn't be an automatic two points when you call in.

The way I learned it (and I've now run my fifth contest and selected music for four of them), a song should be related to the question but never hand you the answer -- except maybe if the question is really obscure without a strong hint, or it's just too funny a match to resist.

I expect this is one of those aesthetics-of-Trivia things that give each team its own style."