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.
Before he “suspended” his campaign, Marco Rubio flirted with being a comedian by insulting the master of insults, Donald Trump. A critical part of any personality-driven show is placing Easter eggs in the program. These are little, unexpected (but planned) moments that keep those listening intrigued and paying attention. Two Guys Named Chris, Rock 92, Greensboro, NC get this concept and excel at it. Chatting about Rubio and wondering out loud if he had hired a joke writer, they magically moments later heard from the Florida senator, who regaled them with some of the one-liners recently written for his stump speech. This was just before Rubio bailed from the race so it was in the moment. Everyone knows this is a farce, which makes it even better. Shows must have these little unpredictable moments built in to keep fans laughing and create an impression of unpredictability. Enjoy the break with how they introduced the topic and walked to the moment when “Rubio” called in.
So Hillary Clinton agrees to come on your show to look for votes, considering your state’s primary is that day. Great score, right? If you’re Mojo in the Morning, Channel 95.5, Detroit, you know that just getting her isn’t enough. First the question of what you’ll talk with her about (don’t do policy…it’s not your brand and something everyone else would do). Then ask: what can we do with our one shot at a potential presidential candidate no one else will do. What can we weave into this interview that’ll entertain our audience (and drive the PD of our competitor crazy because we thought of it)? Enter Eric Harthen, who surprises Hillary with his imitations of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Everyone is in on the joke dso it doesn’t come off as fake. Listen as the show changes Hillary the Politician to Hillary the Human Being. If you were a listener and heard this break, would you leave talking about it? You bet you would. Audio of the full break is below, as well as video of Eric doing his voices during the interview.
Why gab on-the-air about The Kardashians for the zillionth time when you can birth a baby? Brando and his wife, from Spencer’s Neighborhood, 106.5 The Arch, St. Louis, were about to have another child. The absolute best radio you can do is something no one else would think about. Brando and his wife consented to the baby being born live on the show. Imagine as you listen to this audio what every listener is doing. Especially women. They’re leaning in, listening, like they’re there. This one break, as expected, was clicked and shared way more than the others on the station website, even getting exposure from other websites because of how emotional and unique it was. This is excellent radio because it’s emotive, one-of-a-kind, highly sticky, and defines both the cast member central to it and the humanity of the program.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to own an Academy Award? Is it heavy? Does everyone want to hold and touch it? Are there rules and regulations from the Academy to ownership? The answer to all three is yes. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego were curious about all these questions (curiosity is so critical to be a successful radio personality) and then they found out that Chris Turner, the longtime (and excellent) promotions director at the radio station, has an Oscar, and not for the reason you’d think. So they put him on to tell his story and get answers to all the questions they wondered about. Bringing people inside a topic, from any angle, is always good radio if it leads to a fascinating story with humor.
Let’s create some discomfort! Kyle and Rachel, Radio NOW, Indianapolis, invited B-Lord’s father in last Father’s Day. Bryan’s dad is a principal at a local elementary school. Under the thesis that principals know all, his father was tasked with giving listeners life advice. On paper, this is kind of monochromatic. But not in execution as you’ll hear, considering how the team created that discomfort. The team starts the break with a slew of profanity (knowing you don’t curse in front of a principal) followed by a listener call asking a risque question about a first date, knowing a fun and uncomfortable reaction would follow suit. The show took what could have been boring and put 220-volts of electricity in it in how they designed the break.
Politics is a dicey topic for any morning. Generally because the tendency is to take a stand, alienating a portion of your audience. If we remember that the goal is to always create fun from the chosen topic, it gets easier. Dawn McClain’s mom loves Donald Trump (a Hot List topic for weeks). The co-host of McClain and Chris, 92.9 The Beat, Springfield, MO is a self-described charter member of the liberal media. So there’s our conflict. Dawn’s mom wants her to vote for Trump. So…without doing politics, they get her on to let her make her pitch. Because the goal is to have fun (and Dawn’s mother is a character), we define her and fuel how fun the show is). Political humor is threading a needle on a morning show. The show does is effortlessly here, without putting off any segment of their fan base.
There have been some stellar things done by Reynolds Group morning shows in the past several months. Here’s another. With core hip artist WIz Khalifa set to debut a new masterpiece, The Cruz Show, Power 106, Los Angeles, seizes the moment. Not only in allowing Wiz to take over the show (where anyone tuning in at any point during the program gets some of Wiz), but in what they did to promote the day. The video piece at the link below lasts just two-minutes, yet has been seen and shared online 10-million times because it’s so funny. The team successfully brought two topics together: Wiz’s new effort and Adele’s hit song “Hello”. They get Wiz, known for his pot smoking, to do his version of her song, thus garnering lots of eyeballs and laughter. Creating talk around the topics of the day requires an interesting, humorous, and unique twist. This one by this great morning show is an A+ all the way around.
The biggest, boldest content you can do is something fun around something local. Live, local, and funny is the ultimate content, in fact. With the Broncos in the Super Bowl, Ryno and Tracy, KYGO, Denver have done a few things which are bulls eyes when it comes to sticky breaks around the highest relevant content of the moment. You’ll hear two examples below. One is the “Peyton Prayer” which has been done all season. In this weekly feature, a member of the clergy issues a prayer for the team. As you’ll hear, the goal is NOT to do religion, but use the vehicle to create humor. It’ll be quite obvious how this is done once you listen to it. The other is the “Broncos Roll”, a short, custom made song to support the team. In the latter example, music-based ideas really resonate with the audience. This fun song is their rallying cry of support for the team.
We always preach that the prize doesn’t get you the true win in a game or station contest, but the way you give it out. Amanda and Jesse, B105, Cincinnati, had Rascal Flatts tickets to give out. With the group coming to town for a concert, just taking caller ten on their fun afternoon show would have been blah, blah, blah to the audience. So they came up with a game called “Rascal Cats” where they replaced a word in a Rascal Flatts song with a cat screeching. This works for a few reasons: it’s vicarious (it gets passive listeners to play along) and those who have no interest in winning are laughing because of the twist.
Seizing the moment in pop culture extends past your content breaks so being about the topics of the day permeates everything you do. Detroit has a huge Muslim population. Mojo in the Morning, Channel 95.5, Detroit, excels at taking whatever is in the pop culture or news churn on any given day and owning it with their brand of innovation. The team had several liners cut by Eric Harthen, a great voice actor. Their audience knows it really isn’t Donald Trump voicing the lines – this is part of Mojo’s appeal – but they use Trump’s pronouncement to ban Muslims from entering the country to connect with and (important) entertain the audience with sweepers used to position the show as very contemporary and fun.