One April weekend every year in Stevens Point, the University radio station (90FM-WWSP) hosts the world's largest trivia contest! Thousands of players from all over the world migrate back to Stevens Point to participate. These players form hundreds of teams that all compete to win this contest.
This section contains a description of what Trivia is, the official rules of Trivia, and some history about the contest. There is also information on a couple of smaller competitions that we participate in throughout the year
Trivia is a lifestyle... Trivia is a way of living... Trivia is the culmination of a years worth of hard work and dedication. But for any of you who don't know what trivia is like, it may be hard to picture. Imagine hanging out with 15 of your friends at a party.. now imagine that the party was a 54 hour long game show.... Yeah! That's Trivia! Every year 12,000 people on 460 teams get together in our little po-dunk town of Stevens Point, to make it the Trivia Capital of the WORLD!
Trivia starts off in mid-March when the trivia "OZ" (director of Trivia and King of all matters trivial, Jim Oliva) announces a special showing of a movie that is either not out on video and not in theaters, or a special pre-release viewing of a movie. The movie is on a Friday and Saturday night at midnight sometime in early April. After taking a notebook's worth of Trivia notes on the movie, teams prepare their Headquarters all around the area, preparing for the weekend in mid-April that we are all waiting for.
The real Trivia experience starts off with the playing of "Free Bird" by Lynard Skynard in it's entirety, which is meant to pump teams up, and then the pre-first-question warning song "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolfe. At this time it is 6pm and Trivia has officially begun! The OZ reads off the rules, and a HUGE list of sponsors followed by the first question of trivia, with the traditional answer of.. well.. I cant give it away... but it rhymes with Dobert Deadferd! After this the trivia experience goes into full swing with 8 question an hour for 54 hours straight. There are 2 songs worth of time between question and answer, and teams have to call in and give their ID code to give the answer, one guess per question per team!
It's not just all questions and answers though.. oh no no! The Trivia Stone is also a long standing aspect of Trivia, in which members of teams drive around the town, following a bunch of clever directions based on landmarks (which could be anything from a big ol' sign on the side of the road, to sunflower decorations on someone's garage door) and based on street names that can be put into clever clues. There are several Trivia Stone excursions during different times in the contest, and you start off where you stopped the one before it. Three of the Stone clues end with getting a stamp in the New Trivia Times, which are later turned in for either 50, 150, or 300 points depending on how many you get during the contest.
Also, at the beginning of the contest, each team is given a little book full of pictures of people, products, cartoons, or practically anything else. During the contest, the trivia questioners ask who or what is in the picture, and you have to call in with the info given. These are treated just like normal questions. There are also 3 music snippet questions that are played at random times through the contest, each with 8 small music snippets. You have to guess what they are and write 'em down in order before taking them in to Trivia HQ to get the points for all of the snippets. All this with a morning running question where members meet downtown on Saturday and Sunday morning to run around for 20 to find answers to questions in windows on Main Street and other parts of the city, makes the contest not worth missing, hell I gave up $400 dollars to miss it one year!
Thats about it in a nutshell! Writing about it will never do Trivia justice, it's just one of those things that you have to do to experience fully. Well, enough with the talking! Let's Play Trivia Fast Eddie...
Trivia teams of any size may bring the entire team or representatives to the 90FM studios on Reserve Street from 3 until 7 Monday through Thursday, and Friday from Noon until 6, the week of the contest to register. At that time, teams will be given two copies of the New Trivia Times. The New Trivia Times contains information about the contest, the pictures, and other pertinent information, like weekend specials on food from area businesses who support Trivia, and other businesses who support 90FM and the contest.
Registration is $30.00 per team, and teams can be of any size. If a team purchases $125.00 worth of merchandise at the time of registration, registration is $15.00. If a team purchases $250.00 worth of merchandise at the time of registration, registration is free.
An important part of the pre-trivia fun, for some teams, is the Annual Trivia Parade. The parade begins at 4pm on the Friday of the contest and winds through the campus of UWSP. Prizes are awarded to the teams with the best floats.
How does the contest work?
The contest starts at 6pm on a Friday and last for 54 straight hours. Eight questions are asked over the 90FM airwaves each hour. Team contestants are given the length of two songs in which to call in and give their team ID number and answer. Each team is given one attempt to answer. All teams that respond correctly are given an equal share of the 2000 points that a question is worth, with a minimum of 5 points and a maximum of 500 points. Specifically the equation is: 2000/(3 + number of teams answering correctly) rounded to the nearest 5. So, if 100 teams got the answer right, the question would be worth 20 points. There are however, two hours during the contest when only four questions are asked. This allows the radio station time to read all of the team standings over the air.
What kind of questions are asked?
Jim (The Oz) Oliva and John Eckendorf, write of the contest, write a unique set of questions for each contest. Questions usually fall into one of several categories: movies, television, sports, music, radio, literature, current events, product packaging/ingredients, and advertising. In addition to the standard questions there are "Running questions," "Trivia Stone Clues," "Music Questions" and "New Trivia Times Photo Questions."
The Running Questions are given at specific locations in Stevens Point at 7:00 A.M. both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Teams are asked to gather information within "running" distance of the meeting sight. Locations for the Running Questions are given in the Trivia Times.
The Trivia Stone is a rally, of sorts. During the contest, teams are instructed to follow a certain group of clues. These clues lead teams throughout the city and countryside, and at three times are instructed to get their Trivia Times booklet stamped. The stamps are then turned in at 6:30 Sunday evening for points. One stamp earns 50 points, two stamps 150 points, and three stamps 300 points. The first clue is given in the Trivia Times.
The music questions are snippets of 8 songs. There are three music questions, and each of the snippets is equivalent to one question. Question turn-in times are in your copy of The New Trivia Times. This is the booklet that you receive at the time of registration.
New Trivia Times Photo Questions:
Contained within the "New Trivia Times" are 24 images with numbers. During the contest, teams are asked questions about the pictures. These questions could relate to anything having to do with the picture. Most teams use the week before trivia to try and figure out as much as they can about these images.
For the final question of Trivia you only have the length of one song to answer. This is usually a very random difficult question. It will be nearly impossible to find on the internet. Pretty much your only hope is to know it off the top of your head!
The Internet is not a source of valid information, so if you have a question about an answer being correct, you need two sources, neither of which can be the internet.
What You Win:
Trophies for first through tenth place are donated by Point Trophy. Each of the teams will be sent a certificate acknowledging their team name, place in the contest, and point total after the contest. Beginning with the 2000 contest, the winning team receives "The Point Cup" with their team name engraved on the side. The Point Cup is a traveling trophy. The first place team returns the trophy prior to the next contest.
Trivia Cool Down:
After the final question is read, it is time for the Trivia Cool Down. 90FM plays a bunch of Beatles music while the final team standings are being calculated. After the standings are ready The Oz contacts the top 10 teams to come down to the radio station. The Oz and Eck then read all the team standings and then a trophy ceremony is held for the top 10 teams.
*All Rules are subject to change, depending on the OZ!!!
In February 1969 UW-SP's student-run station WWSP (then known as WSUS) had a scaled-down 16-hour version of the Lawrence University contest, in an attempt to gain listeners. The first Trivia contest was held in November 1969. The questions were written by players and read over the air for the other teams to answer. The contest was 16 hours long and 16 teams with about 70 members participated. The contest was changed in 1970 when 90FM WWSP staff took over the task of writing questions. Trivia continued to grow in popularity and in 1974 it became a 56-hour contest. The next year it was shortened to 54 hours with each hour containing eight questions.
Tim Donovan arrived in the fall of 1969 and took over WWSP's fledgling event and presented the first all-weekend, 51-hour, (now 54 hours) contest the next February. An aspect known as the running question was introduced in 1973. Teams would be given about 20 minutes to race to some local landmark and obtain several pieces of information.
Tim Donovan's definition of acceptable trivia: "I think trivia's got to come from popular culture to be meaningful to people who are playing. If you ask what state consumes the most Jello, some would call that trivia. I call that minutia. And it should be entertainment. Not like 'Jeopardy.' Not history and geography. That's fun too. But it's not trivia."
In 1974 the WWSP contest had grown enough to surpass the Lawrence event and billed itself as "The World's Largest." The contest style had evolved into a standard format of 10 (now 8) questions per hour, with news, a short team interview segment called "Trivia Focus", and top team scores given at the end of each hour.
By the mid-1970's, Tim Donovan had graduated and left the contest to Tim Bedore and Steve Hamilton. Steve left after 1978, leaving the job of writing questions to Jim Oliva. Oliva also inherited the title of "Trivia Oz". The new Oz (Jim Oliva) introduced the Trivia Kickoff (Trivia Movie) and the "Trivia Stone" scavenger search. Jim Oliva also initiated team pre-registration, eventually assigning I.D. numbers to each team to improve score keeping. A small fee was also charged (now at $30 per team) to cover the contest's rising costs. In 1982 the phone rules were changed to allow just one call per team, per question, instead of unlimited guessing. 1985 saw the first Trivia Parade. A major score keeping change was instituted in 1989. Instead of assigning questions' point values in advance, values were calculated by dividing 1000 points by the number of teams answering correctly and rounding up to the nearest multiple of five. The system now in place is: "all teams that respond correctly are given an equal share of the 2000 points that a question is worth, with a minimum of 5 points and a maximum of 500 points."
For the last few years the Oz has been assisted in the question writing duties by John Eckendorf. 1995 saw the introduction of the "Audio/Music Question" to replace the "Trivia Stone" (Though the Trivia Stone exists to this day). Several times during the contest small portions of eight songs are played back-to-back, the teams must identify the songs and artists to get points. The song medley identification has been expanded for the 1996 contest to three questions. (*Some background information is from an article by Barry Heck, in issue #14 (April 1993) of Trivia Quotient newsletter produced and edited by Raymond Hamel)
Stuff about Mivia.
- Team Registration opens at 5:00 PM on Friday the week before the competition.
- Registration closes at 5:00 PM on the Friday of the competition.
- The Trivia Snapshot images will be distributed starting on the Monday before the competition.
- Trivia Snapshot images will be distributed via email after registration.
- A separate email will contain the Phone Number(s) for phoning in responses.
- Registration Fee: $10 per team. No limit to number of teams.
- The complaint line number will become available at points during the contest.
- The contest will be web-cast. Information regarding logistics will be provided in an email sent out after registration.
Mivia (Festivus' Trivia Contest) was written intentionally to mirror many aspects of the 90FM WWSP Trivia Competition. Because of this most of the rules are the same or similar to the Worlds Largest Trivia Contest.
How does the contest work?
The contest starts at 6pm on a Friday and last for 27 straight hours. Eight questions are asked each hour. Team contestants are given the length of two songs in which to call in and give their team ID number and answer. Each team is given one attempt to answer. All teams that respond correctly are given an equal share of the maximum amount of points that each question is worth, with a minimum of 5 points and a maximum of 500 points. The equation for point calculation changes based on the number of teams participating.
What kind of questions are asked?
Members of the "Festivus for the Rest of Us" trivia team write a unique set of questions for each contest. Questions usually fall into one of several categories: movies, television, sports, music, radio, literature, current events, product packaging/ingredients, and advertising. In addition to the standard questions there are 12 "Trivia Snapshot" image Questions.
Trivia Snapshot Image Questions:
Emailed to each team the week of the contest are a set of 12 "Trivia Snapshot" images with numbers. During the contest, teams are asked questions about the pictures. These questions could relate to anything having to do with the picture. Most teams use the week before trivia to try and figure out as much as they can about these images.
For the final question of Mivia teams only have the length of one song to answer. This is usually a very random difficult question.
What You Win:
A trophy is awarded to the first place team.
After the final Question:
After the final question is read, it is time for the Trivia Cool Down. Festivus plays a some music while the final team standings are being calculated. After the standings are ready they read all the team standings. After the standings are read teams head to Joes Bar in downtown Stevens Point for the trophy ceremony, some after trivia conversation, and adult beverages.
This section will be written soon. (Hopefully following the 2012 90FM WWSP competition)
Stuff about Divia.
Divia (Dad's Computers' Trivia Contest) is written to mirror many aspects of the 90FM WWSP Trivia Competition. In length and most rules it exactly mirrors Mivia (Festivus' Competition). To get more of a feel for this competition check out the Mivia tab. The rules written by Dad's Computers' are below.
- Teams that feel they have the correct answer may call the phone number provided to them during registration. Please give the operator your ID number followed by your answer. Teams may give one and only one answer per question per call unless using a Second Chance or Double Shot. Please see below for more information.
- Each hour will consist of at least eight questions and will run for two songs unless otherwise stated prior to the start of the hour.
- Eight Puzzling Polaroids will be given out to all registered teams on Monday, November 7th Each of these photos will have a question asked about them during the contest.
- One Music Snippet question will be provided to all registered teams on Monday, November 7th. The snippet will consist of eight song snippets to be identified by teams. Snippet answers will be due following the end of the third hour of the contest. Only the names of the songs need to be identified, not the artists. Snippets will be scored in the same manner as the regular questions. Snippet answers will be emailed to a designated address. A reminder will be given during the contest.
Each team will start the contest with three Second Chances. A second chance allows teams to have a second shot at getting a question correct. Three times during the contest teams may call in a second time to answer a question. For example a team calls in an answer and quickly discovers that what they called in is incorrect. Teams may call in a second time and inform the operator that they would like to use one of their team's second chances and give a different answer. If the second answer is correct the team will be awarded the points for that question. Please note that the second answer is the only one that will count. If the original answer ends up being the correct answer to the question teams will not be awarded points for that question.
Each team will start the contest with three Double Shots. A double shot allows teams to call in two answers at the same time. Three times during the contest teams may give two answers to the same question. For example a team is stuck between two answers and does not know which one to call in. Teams may call in and inform the operator that they would like to use one of their Double Shots and give two answers. If either of the two answers given by the team are correct they will be awarded the points.
Rules For Second Chances and Double Shots
- Teams may use one and only one Second Chance or Double Shot per question. Teams cannot use two Second Chances on the same question. Teams cannot use two Double Shots on the same question. Teams cannot use a Double Shot and a Second Chance on the same question.
- If a question is thrown out of the contest and a team has used a Double Shot or Second Chance during that question teams will be not lose their Double Shot or Second Chance.
- We will track how many how many times you have used a Second Chance or Double shot but also please keep track of them yourselves as well.
- Second Chances and Double Shots may not be used on the Music Snippet.
*We ask that teams do not share answers and remember that this is a game. We reserve the right to disqualify a team for any reason we feel is hurting the contest.
This section will be written soon. (Hopefully following the 2012 90FM WWSP competition)