90FM to work an ‘Experiment in Trivia’ Oct. 23-25

By Patrick Lynn

The world’s largest trivia contest will be an “Experiment In Trivia” this year.

Hosted by WWSP-90FM, the student-run UW-Stevens Point radio station will offer a new online format Oct. 23-25.

The “World’s Largest Trivia Contest” is traditionally held mid-April but was postponed this year due to COVID-19. It was the first major local event to be canceled during the pandemic—also the first time since the event’s inception in 1968 that it had been called off.

This year’s parade has also been canceled.

After 51 years of trivia teams gathering and calling in answers during the 54-hour annual trivia contest, participants this year will submit their answers remotely through a web application.

“We’re experimenting with a safe, free trivia,” said Jim “The Oz” Oliva, contest coordinator and Trivia Hall of Fame inductee. “You can join your teammates across the country via chat room, Zoom call, or team up with your household,” 

“Experiment In Trivia” starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23. Questions will be read over the 90FM airwaves, and participants may submit answers while two songs play. Teams answer eight questions an hour using any resources they have.

Part of the “experiment” this year is that teams no longer call in their answers. Answers will be submitted through a web application developed and moderated by 90FM staff. Point values range from 5 to 500 points per question and are awarded based on the number of teams that get the answer correct.

Another difference is an experiment in fundraising. In the past, team registration fees for the trivia contest helped support station operations, transmitter, engineering fees, and student scholarships. This fall, the contest is free. Teams and individuals will be encouraged to call in pledges to 90FM. Depending on the amount, donors may receive gifts such as “Experiment In Trivia” merchandise and a chance to add participants’ names to a 90FM plaque.

Register online starting Wednesday, Oct. 15, until noon on Friday, Oct. 23. There is no in-person registration. For more information, visit https://www.90fmtrivia.org/.

WWSP-90FM is the largest college-run radio station in the Midwest. It is UW-Stevens Point’s largest organization with more than 100 volunteers and seven student staff positions.