Friday Night Trivia at the Diner Benefits Bedford TV 

August 29, 2023
Bedford TV’s Trivia Night at the Minuteman Diner on Friday was a big success – and a lot of fun. Even the staff and volunteers of Bedford TV, shown here, took part. Photo by Mike Rosenberg

Bedford Community Access Television – Bedford TV – is a nonprofit that derives most of its support from surcharges on monthly payments to cable TV providers.

But Bedford TV also has its own fundraising responsibilities, and many of them dovetail with community building.

That was on full display on Friday night when Bedford TV sponsored its annual Trivia Night, which unfolded amidst the friendly bustle of the Minuteman Diner.

Brian Hebert, Bedford TV’s executive director, said he was pleased with the event. Pre-registration and walk-ins resulted in eight competing teams – nine if you count the Bedford TV staff and volunteers, clustered by the entrance. Raffle ticket sales were brisk as well, he added.

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“This is a very important fundraising night for Bedford TV,” Hebert told the attendees to open the contest. The booths were full, although some were occupied by casual diners who walked into the trivia contest. The diner donated part of the evening’s proceeds to Bedford TV. 

The emcee was Amanda Smith, who has several years of experience, including some past trivia nights at the diner. Smith works for DJ Trivia, a national outfit that assigns facilitators.

“It’s a game, not rocket science,” she told the room in her pre-event presentation. She reviewed a few rules: no consulting cell phones, no outside help from servers, and “be kind and have fun.” There weren’t enforcers; the honor system prevailed.

There were four rounds with four trivia questions each and a bonus question after each round. The first three rounds were multiple-choice. The format was designed to prioritize socialization with about three minutes elapsing between questions.  

Each team had a messenger who delivered the answer to Smith, who also filled the space with an eclectic array of recorded songs she chose herself – recent rock and country music, and for the older crowd, selections such as Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and Santana’s “Smooth.”

Smith said the questions were provided by DJ Trivia. She previewed them before the event and then read them through an audio system. Categories on Friday were wide-ranging – not only the popular culture areas such as movies, music, and TV, but also the periodic table, American history, sports, mythology. “What is the capital of South Korea – spelled correctly?” posed Smith, adding that the question was not multiple-choice.

When every team scored correctly on a question, Smith announced, “That’s a social – everybody have a drink or eat a bite of food.”

Periodically, Smith announced a “double-down dare – a chance to double your entire game score.” The Bedford TV crew nailed an answer and all of a sudden, its score went into the stratosphere. When the numbers were posted on the screen, Smith told the other competitors, “Relax, that team is not eligible to win.”

Minuteman Diner provided a happy undertone of diner soundtrack – just enough clattering, sizzling, and conversation to define the venue. Owner Diane Cohen and her staff, from chefs to servers to bussers, were the engine that kept the project on course. 

And in case the drop-ins weren’t invested in the trivia questions on the big screens in the corner, secondary monitors featured Bloomberg, WCVB, and HGTV. 

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