AudioGreat breaks achieve a positive strategic goal back to the show. They communicate, both in content and presentation, something about the show plot. Breaks which score are real, relevant, and fun. They earn you valuable images. Here are some breaks by Reynolds Group shows which achieve this.
One more Mother’s Day post? Pointing very successfully to it’s what you do with the topic that matters, The Josie Dye Show, Indie 88, Toronto, did something special for Mother’s Day. They actually did two things, as demonstrated in these breaks. Josie’s mom (completely unversed in radio) hosted the show in place of her daughter. Josie was still there, guiding mom through anchoring the show (this was on purpose so we still had her). It was unrehearsed and more fun because of that. Then, in two other breaks on the show, co-hosts Matt and Carlin were required to call their moms on-the-air and apologize for something that happened when they were a kid. These stories, and this dynamic, created memorable and fun radio – proving again that if you do something unique with the topic, it gets remembered.
There are so many angles for a holiday like Mother’s Day for the average show. At Spencer’s Neighborhood, 106.5, The Arch, St. Louis, the team found out that Brando bought his mother concert tickets for the evening and his sister was upset because she wanted to take mom to dinner with the family. Spencer sees fun conflict here. The show did two breaks where they got the sister on to help Brando tell the story (another chance to stir the pot), followed by another break with Brando, his sister, and their mother, to ask her which of the two she wanted to do. The team made her choose between Brando and his sister’s gifts! There are a few things to learn in the execution of these breaks. First, listen to how quickly at the beginning of the break they set (and reset) the storyline. They waste no time in enrolling the audience in what’s going on, especially those who didn’t know about it. Then, they quickly got to the relatives to help tell the story, thus putting another element in each break to get emotion, perspective, and entertainment. Finally, the team gives you a reason to stay tuned or come back to the show at the end of each break, teasing the audience forward for another occasion.
Should you do news on your show? It depends on how you do it. There probably is a news “expert” in your market who provides the information some listeners are looking for. Your listener, regardless of the topics for the break, come for a different reason. They want to be entertained. The Big Dave Show, B105, Cincinnati excels at how to deliver the news. Doing this feeds both the need to be topical (the news is always about whatever is going on in the world so, by default, it makes you topical), but you must do it in a certain way to elevate it to the level of engagement to cut through. Here are some of the things that make this feature terrific for this show: each story is only a few sentences of new information before the show pivots to conversation, perspective, and organic humor; the show starts the story with some associated audio clip to grab the attention of those listening (I love this); they are very honest with the audience in their commentary so you get character development; it’s often local; how they do this fits how their show sounds. Just delivering the info won’t cut it any longer. Handle “news” this way and there is a strategic win for your show.
Yup, me too. Those three simple words, when thought by listeners, are immensely powerful. In a show’s quest to be honest in its story telling, if the audience hears an experience and reacts by seeing themselves in it, they identify with the material and connect with the person telling it. We’re often asked when is talking about yourself too much. Fair question. The answer is: when the audience doesn’t see themselves in the story and when it no longer is entertaining. Stylz and Roman, US 99, Chicago, reminisced about buying their mother’s cigarettes when they were young. Highly relatable content. To entertain the audience and elevate the story, they got both their moms on at the same time to add another comedic element, then they opened the phones for listener stories. For this Stage One show, with its undefined cast, this is a perfect break.
We are always in search of ideas and bits we’ve never heard before. Personalities must cultivate things to do that listeners can’t find anywhere else on the dial. These points-of-differentiation can become iconic moments in a show and help craft both humor images and additional occasions of listening because the program becomes known for them. Enter Mark and NeanderPaul, KSLX, Phoenix, who do a feature called “ZNN: The Zeppelin News Network”. What would the day’s news sound like if it were set to music from one of classic rock’s all time great bands, Led Zeppelin? This feature is funny, topical, and very unique. That it measures to all these thresholds gives this show a great feature to develop positive images that will leverage into quarter hour listening.
We’ve long said that it’s not the topic you choose, but what you do with the topic that makes it stand out. With this being Easter weekend, and a candy weekend for kids, here’s a candy break from John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego. Last October, around Halloween, they had a cute sounding kid read the ingredients of a popular Halloween candy and the listener had to guess which candy it was to win the prize. Remember that 99.999% of your audience has no chance at that prize. They tune in to have a good time. Hearing the kid stumble through the big words in the ingredients is so cute that you cannot help but be engaged. That this idea has a vicarious element to it (you’re guessing the candy in the car, too) is an added bonus to the bit. The topic of Halloween candy at the end of October is a no-brainer. Adding the element of a kid reading these ingredients in a game totally elevates it to a fun experience those tuning in will remember.
Every content choice on your show must be done for a strategic reason. Two Men and a Mom, on MIX 101.5, Raleigh, is a new show for the audience so we focus a lot on character content to define the talent and humanize them. Bryan just got engaged to his longtime girlfriend. He decided to tell his mother last of everyone, opting to tell her on-the-air. His mom, Bekkie, is always great on the show so they knew her reaction would be very revealing, highly emotional, funny, and make Bryan her son perceptually in the process. The show calls Bekkie in this segment and we all get to hear Bryan tell the story to his mom and hear her natural reaction as she shares with the audience how she feels about the news and what it’s like to be in their family. This is very personal and vulnerable and is an excellent example of how to do story-based character content in a way that perfectly defines a member of a show. It’s sticky because it’s real, a story, and has emotion attached to all of it.
There’s this general sense, especially in PPM, that interviews don’t work. This isn’t true. Bad interviews don’t work. Good ones do. When interviewing a celebrity, remember that there are two agendas at play – theirs (to sell something) and yours (to entertain the audience). Great interviews get their subject to tell a compelling story and/or reveal themselves in human ways. That’s what draws listeners in and honors your agenda first (always sell the website/tickets/CD/book on the back end of the interview). Here’s Rob and Joss, Froggy 92.9, Santa Rosa, CA who talk with country star Chris Young who’s coming on to sell concert tickets. What they cover around that: what it’s like for him to be at a Garth Brooks concert as a fan (reveal), how he helped a disadvantaged kid in their audience (story), and they played a fun game with him. Don’t interview someone solely around their agenda (silly vicarious game). The audience will bore and sniff out if you’re trying to sell them something and push back because of it. Figure out how to accomplish your agenda, as these guys did, before doing any of that.
Most morning shows, when given lottery tickets as giveaways, would groan. The TJ Show, AMP 103.3, Boston, sees opportunity to have fun. TJ transforms himself into Lotto Man. He went out on the street as this character to give tickets to passers-by, really as a mechanism to converse about winning the lottery and create other TJ mayhem. The beauty of The TJ Show is that they always figure out, regardless of circumstance, how to use what they have to create fun. The standout elements of this break include: street audio so there is another dimension to engage the audience, TJ plays a short Lotto Man jingle in between approaching people which catches your attention, it’s quirky fun, the lottery was one of the Hot Topics that week, and talking to people on the street makes the show feel like it’s Boston.
Empathy is such a critical element to connect with the audience. It’s “I feel your pain” because you have. J. Cruz’s girlfriend just gave birth to their first child. So the host of The Cruz Show, Power 106, Los Angeles, had to wear the pregnant belly one day so he knew what it felt like. Part of that was, when he had to go to the bathroom, we sent him into the ladies room to do so, taping the experience. Video for social media, audio for the program. And yes, he was interrupted by other women who also work on the floor while he was peeing. This is real life, with a unique twist. Which made it relatable and fun.