WADSWORTH — A local cable television show has the promotional tag line “You could win millions … thousands … hundreds … or less.”
Since February, viewers of Wadsworth Cable Television (WCTV) have been watching a game show with the hope of winning “free money” by calling into Channel 17 at 6 p.m. Tuesdays to play “Wadsworthopoly.”
The host, who displays a high level of enthusiasm, is Roger Polk, a Wadsworth Township resident who is no stranger to loyal viewers. “I love to have fun,” Polk said. “I love for people to have fun.”
Polk is also the host of a show called “The Ultimate Game … Paintball” that has been aired for 20 years.
“Wadsworthopoly” is a one-hour show, and the game picks up where it ended the previous week.
The spontaneity of the show — which depends on what callers might say and what they can win — is what Polk said he enjoys.
“I’ve done a lot of live shows. You never know what to expect,” he said.
In his real job, Polk works for the U.S. Postal Service in Akron.
Last Tuesday, sitting next to Polk, keeping track of callers and rolls of the dice, was Tom Stugmyer, at-large councilman and temporary director of the business promotion group Main Street Wadsworth.
Stugmyer also is the host of a morning radio show on community station WWWR 97.1-FM.
The energetic duo explain “Wadsworthopoly” simply — they try to give money away to viewers who play along at home.
“It’s an excuse to try to give money away to people,” Polk said.
Another perk that attempts to make viewers happy is the chance to get rid of hundreds of copies of the board game that remain after 1,000 were purchased by Main Street Wadsworth in 2014.
Polk said he purchased $2,000 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets for the television show. He splits the winnings with callers on the condition that they agree to pick up their cash and prizes, which vary.
Polk and Stugmyer said if viewers call in and they already own a Wadsworthopoly game, they get four dice rolls. Viewers who roll a five or 10 receive a $5 or $10 lottery scratch-off.
Stugmyer does the scratching and verifying on the air. Last Tuesday, viewers went “bankrupt” in terms of winnings.
Callers who do not have a board game at home are given two rolls.
Each week “celebrity” guest bankers have been included. They play the dual role by being the banker and keeping track of properties the viewers own.
Because it is a local cable community channel, Polk said it is difficult to gauge how many are watching the show each week. All he knows is that there are multiple phone calls from people who want to win something.
On May 9, Stugmyer and Polk will try something new — simultaneously broadcasting the show in a 90-minute format through WCTV, 97.1-FM and Facebook Live.
Looking ahead to the summer, they said, they want to plan scavenger hunts. People interested in that activity would benefit from having their own Wadsworthopoly board game, they added.
Plenty of games
In 2014, Main Street Wadsworth received an advertisement from a Cincinnati-based company, Late for the Sky, to make a local version of the Monopoly board game. The offer was just in time for the city’s bicentennial.
So Main Street Wadsworth purchased 1,000 games at a cost of about $17,000.
Sponsorships of Wadsworth businesses were sold at a beginning price of $135 apiece, Stugmyer said. Between $3,000 and $5,000 was saved on production because Main Street Wadsworth designed the graphics, he added.
Games originally sold for $25. Stugmyer said that because of the bicentennial, all but about 500 were purchased. The game is now available for $10 and about 200 games remain. It is available at Main Street Wadsworth and 97.1 offices at 102 Main St. as well as Thurber’s Jewelers, 115 High St.; the Wadsworth American Legion, 129 Main St.; and WCTV studios, 617 School Drive.
The game also can be purchased online (plus shipping costs) at http://mainstreet wadsworth.org/store/.
Every property on the board or on the game cover was sold, Stugmyer said, including each denomination of money.
Polk said he was happy with how the idea turned out. “When I first saw them (the game), I thought they were beautiful,” he added.
Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.