The radio station giveth and the radio station taketh away.
And then, in this case, the radio station giveth back.
It has been a long and winding road to a Bon Jovi concert for Sarah Harkness of Ellet, but if all went well, she was rockin’ and rollin’ Friday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.
As we told you last month, Harkness was ecstatic after her name was drawn as the grand-prize winner in a contest run by Canton radio station WHBC (94.1-FM).
She was awarded a slew of prizes that featured VIP passes to the Bon Jovi show at the Cleveland Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium, limo service, dinner and hotel accommodations.
But after the concert was canceled because of lousy advance ticket sales, her excitement turned to resentment.
Harkness expected some kind of consolation prize, particularly after reading the contest rules on the station’s website, which say WHBC “reserves the right to substitute any prize of equal or greater value.” But she got zip.
“They wouldn’t even give me a bumper sticker,” she told me.
When asked why his station wasn’t offering an alterative prize, WHBC Operations Manager John Stewart said the matter was out of his control.
“How am I going to create a show?” he responded. “I can’t create something. It wasn’t any fault of my own.”
After the column was published, though, he found a way to create something.
A week later, he told Harkness she and her husband would be treated to the Bon Jovi show at 61,500-seat Soldier Field on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Their treatment wasn’t quite as royal as it would have been in Cleveland — they had to provide their own ground transportation — but they were going to be admitted to a preshow VIP party with an open bar and buffet and receive a bunch of Bon Jovi merchandise and memorabilia.
And the station paid their round-trip airfare from Akron-Canton Airport.
As a result, WHBC’s disgruntled listener has become gruntled.
“I’m so excited,” she said in a voice mail last week. “I wouldn’t be going if it weren’t for you.”
Had WHBC not come through, Harkness would have found lots of love elsewhere on the radio dial. Four stations, from Alliance to Canton to Akron, contacted me and offered to make her happy.
WHBC also came up with a replacement prize for three dozen other listeners who had been scheduled to receive Bon Jovi tickets in Cleveland. Those folks will get two tickets to a Browns game.
Losers of the contest will be given tickets to two Browns games.
There’s still an outside chance the team’s owner won’t be behind bars by the home opener and the entire starting lineup won’t be off in rehab with Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora.
A good time seemed to be had by all during Wednesday morning’s Barbie bash in downtown Barberton. About 75 people, toting more than 150 Barbies, turned out to try to persuade Mattel to establish Barbie’s new home in the Magic City.
But you can’t please everyone — ever.
An anonymous caller to my voice mail, referring to the massive rainstorm that crippled parts of the city later that same day, said: “It would be nice if the mayor would quit worrying about Barbie coming and worry about the flooding. Maybe the new Barbie doll could come with a canoe.”
Another crepe hanger surfaced in the vicinity of a Barbie-to-Barberton YouTube video the Barberton Public Library posted a week earlier.
During its first week online, the video received 204 views but only one comment, from a person identified as Cakee Kyer:
“personally I think Libraries are a thing of the past. Everyone has the Internet now a days, and having the Library just raises my property taxes which I am fed up with. and I haven’t been to the Library in years! I hope it closes.”
And a pleasant good day to you, too.
Meanwhile, savvy reader David Keller suggests another way to interest Mattel in relocating Barbie to Barberton: “I’m surprised nobody has thought of petitioning to have the city renamed Barbieton.”
Returning from a 17-day vacation last week, I encountered enough email to fry a server.
Several of the missives informed me that I had printed the wrong phone number for FirstEnergy customers who want to obtain the free (sort of) Ohio Energy Conservation Kit.
The number I printed — 1-877-639-0218 — is correct. I just dialed it. The problem may have been that people using land lines didn’t include a “1” before the toll-free number.
One frustrated reader called the company to ask for the right number and was given a different one — 1-888-225-8996. That works, too. FirstEnergy uses different numbers in different places so it can track which marketing activities have the most impact.
But in both cases, you’ll need to dial a 1 if you’re not using a cellphone.
Don’t call today. The center is open Monday through Saturday (which we weren’t told originally).
The kit contains nine compact fluorescent light bulbs and some other stuff that you’re already paying for. The cost doesn’t show up on your bill because it is built into the overall rate structure the Public Utilities Commission approved, and the exact figure is a bit of a mystery.
“Breaking out the costs of the kits is difficult because the total cost of the program will be determined by customer response,” says spokesman Chris Eck, “but we estimate that a customer using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month pays about 13 cents per month.”
If you bought the same items at a retail store, you’d pay about 80 bucks.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com.