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.
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.
Despite our being just past the holidays, here’s a break from Lisa and Ray, US99.5, Chicago, that really excelled. Like many popular morning shows, the team was offered an interview with country legend Trace Adkins. Not content to just do a Q&A centered around his agenda, the team made the off-air ask and then wrote a Chicago version of the classic “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”. Trace consented and with his large, booming voice, read the poem in one of the breaks. We were uber local and affirmed our fun images. We always ask: what are we doing with this topic no one else thought to do? In doing so, we create an innovative moment which helps us bring the audience back again.
The parodies of Adele’s hit “Hello” seemed to be endless. Turn left, right, move forward or backward, and people were having fun with this song. Even Adele did, too. When silliness abounds, Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa are in as well. Here’s a break done using other songs with the word “hello” on their show. A break like this can be perceived as very cheesy if not presented properly. That’s not the case here as everyone in the room is in on the joke. Sometimes shows will miss having more fun with the shorter list of Hot Topics each day and grab a topic with less equity. Listeners gravitate to what’s familiar when they wake up. This is why it’s so critical to know the topics of the day (those with a very high level of familiarity) and come up with more things to do around them than wade into less-than topics which require the audience to use their brain to comprehend.
There is, somewhere in your market, a radio station that is an expert at giving their listeners the news. While most listeners wake up and want to know what’s going on in the world, the purpose of the newscast is less to inform people than it is to define who you are. The listeners want your take on the day’s topics (that honesty is character definition). You want them waking up wondering what you think about whatever is big that morning. This is why perspective is so critical when talking about a story. What’s yours? What work do you do to figure that out before the news story is done on your show? What also helps a newscast is, when applicable, a sense of humor is shown. If the audience cares about a story, they already know most, if not all, of what you’re about to tell them. Ryno and Tracy, KYGO, Denver newscaster Chuck Clark is here telling the audience what they already know the morning after – that the Broncos beat the Patriots. But listen to this very short clip how he created humor to make it sticky.
No matter where you go, there’s Adele. She seems to be on every single TV channel, on every website you click to, and screaming out of every speaker on every radio station. Everyone loves Adele. Or do they? Conflict creates entertainment. The TJ Show, AMP 103.3, Boston, ran into show friend, Jeffrey, who hates Adele. Jeffrey thinks everyone is being duped into buying Adele’s schtick of sadness and melancholy, all to the make the singer more rich and famous. Here’s a perspective on Adele yet to be expressed…and it’s very funny to hear as TJ and his team challenge Jeffrey’s cynicism. This is a Hot Topic mixed with a contrasting perspective to develop humor and completely works to create a few minutes of radio the audience leans into and will leave talking about. They didn’t solicit for this – Jeffrey expressed the view to a cast member and TJ saw the opportunity and invited him on the show.