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.
Story-telling is the most powerful thing a show can do with its content. Charlie Sheen announces that he is HIV positive. What resulted is Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston hearing from a listener who is also HIV positive from her former boyfriend. Personalizing your content, telling immensely powerful, first-person stories, is great radio. We talk all the time with shows about not handling stories like this on the surface (sharing facts as you know them – which anyone can do), but digging very deep, sharing with listeners how this affects you and being honest enough with your fans on your take on the story is a terrific way to define your character. The listener in this audio clip emailed the show to share her story (resulting in her coming on the program) because she feels like she knows the cast and trusts them. When big stories happen, you want the audience to wonder your take, to tune in because you go miles deep to explore things, and because you’ll be vulnerable enough with them to connect in very personal ways.
Spinning around the dial the Monday after the Paris terrorist attacks, anxious to hear how talent connected with the audience, one of the gold awards goes to Rob and Joss, Froggy 92.9, Santa Rosa, CA, who worked their ass off the day after to find someone in the middle of it all. They found a local couple in Paris that evening on their honeymoon, who called a friend for dinner, who blew off a heavy metal concert he had a ticket to (yes, it’s that concert). They ended up having dinner close to the attacks. You can give facts or tell stories. You can regurgitate what you’ve read or do the work to bring me inside the story. They hit every button on this, even recording and editing the interview on Sunday and airing it in each hour on their Monday show. It was that powerful. This proves that work and prep does lead to unique, story-based radio the audience leaves talking about.
It’s the marriage of the high equity topic along with something creative that makes for a fun, memorable experience for those tuning in. That experience sets you up for another occasion of listening because you’ve earned the images of being innovative and fun (laughter), two things that make a positive impression on your fans. The Big Dave Show, B105, Cincinnati, seizes on the Starbucks controversy by doing their parody of Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” with “Red Starbucks Cup”. This is completely silly and the audience is giggling while listening, setting up for them to return the next day for more.
In a brainstorm a few weeks ago with The Cruz Show, Power 106, Los Angeles, we decided we wanted to do our version of Jimmy Kimmel’s excellent bit where parents tell their kids they ate their Halloween candy. So, we devised a scenario where Jeff Garcia, the show’s executive producer and father of two young boys, would tell them that Donald Trump had cancelled Halloween. The team added another layer or two into the idea and then Jeff executed our plan, recording his kids in the process. Everyone was talking about Halloween. But only one show in the market thought of this idea to entertain the audience and make them laugh. Which makes this highly relatable and memorable.
With the NFL and college football in full swing and the World Series about to wrap up, we married all the top shelf sports stories with one talent’s lack of knowledge of everything sports-oriented. Stacey K and Jonah, HOT 101.7, Santa Rosa, CA did “Stacey K Sorts Kinda Tries to Do a Sports Report”. Listeners do not tune in for sports scores any longer – this is all available on their smart phones. If they care about the score, they know it by the time they turn you on. Our goal is to create fun. So Stacey watched a game and then Jonah tried to get her to “report” what she saw. They used the topicality of the sports event with Stacey’s lack of sports knowledge to create some fun for everyone tuning in.
Normally you don’t talk about your birthday on the air, right? No one really cares when you’re in the office and someone else goes on and on about their birthday. But, if you add audio of those at the birthday party insulting your partner for not attending, you create humor and character development for them, which elevates the conversation strategically because you’re defining someone on the program and making the audience laugh. Such was the case when Ray and Karen, The Morning Misfits on MIX 94.9, Cincinnati, talked about Karen not attending Ray’s weekend birthday party recently.
One of our absolute favorite Halloween bits was done by Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa, who decided to ask the mayor of St. Petersburg to read the Vincent Price poem at the end of the Michael Jackson song “Thriller”. Doing a homegrown version of this part of the song is unique, very topical, and fun. This break takes on the added dimension of unpredictability because of how they got the mayor to do it (unnecessary in the execution, but it certainly added to the drama of its presentation). Dave (who’s completely fearless) went to a town hall meeting and, asking to go last, requested that the mayor do this in front of an unsuspecting crowd. Everything about this break is perfect: how they presented the scenario, the airing of the audio with commentary, with the mayor’s final product at the end.
There are few honors higher in a market than being asked to throw out the first pitch or sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at your local major league baseball park. Lisa and Ray, US 99.5, Chicago were invited to Wrigley Field to help with the seventh inning stretch for a recent Cubs game. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was something the iconic Harry Caray made fun when he did play-by-play for the Cubs. Nervous to do a great job in front of thousands of fans and a TV audience, Lisa and Ray decided to get tips from Harry’s widow, Dutchie. There are options for a show when something like this happens: just talk about it or find something to do with it that is unique and has a “first person” quality. Talking with Dutchie accomplishes the latter and makes the break and its content more memorable.
One struggle for many parents is amount of candy and sugar their kids eat. Sean Henry, from Sean and Michelle, B103, Rockford, IL has a young son. In efforts for Sean to connect with the female base of the program, he regularly talks to his kid, Declan. After a party for his sister, with tons of sugar, Declan had too much candy and went off on violent TV shows. The world from the perspective of a kid hopped up on sugar! What parent wouldn’t listen to this, hear real life, and bond with the cast? This connection point is the start of building a relationship with the audience where the personalities are the draw into the program.
Some songs require you to dance when you hear them. Silento’s “Watch Me” is one of them. How to de-dance a song? Change the tone and vibe of one of America’s favorite songs. Stacy K and Jonah, Hot 101.17, Santa Rosa know how to create some conflict. Get your boss to rap the best parts. Then mix them together for their silliness. This is a well-constructed break where the team plays the hook of the song for buy in, then adds in the work part from their boss to create the humor. Anytime you marry opposites (the boss/a rap song) you create a tension that results in fun.