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.
It’s important to be where the listeners are psychologically. With recent bad weather in the nation’s capital, The Pablo Show, WPGC, Washington, DC decided to talk with listeners who didn’t want to go into work because of it. They chose one of the listeners and got their boss on the other line to request the day off for them. Be on the most important topics of the day for your market (on this day, it was the weather for DC) and do something with them that not only is fun, but cannot be replicated by anyone across the street because you thought to do it.
Two critical steps for any show to be successful is having a finite content plots and interesting, defined characters. At The J Show, B96, Chicago, one of the ways w eco this is by the parent of a cast member coming on and offering two stories about their kid. One is right, the other is fake. The audience has to figure out which one is true to win. In the process, we hear a great story and the cast member is further defined.
Listeners love to be let in on the relationships cast members have with each other and their families. In fact, making them feel like they are a part of your family is critical in developing loyalty from them. That loyalty equals huge levels of cume and TSL. Rob and Joss, Froggy 92.9, Santa Rosa, CA understand this. Which is why, back when Christmas season was in full force, Joss’s dad hung her Christmas lights. Except she had to make a confession to him. So she called him on the air to handle things. This is making listeners a part of the family.
Great radio is story-based. Listeners love to hear stories. Most TV shows are grounded in telling an ongoing narrative. Hit records are stories. They are so important and valuable as content. Michelle, from Sean and Michelle, Lite Rock B103, Rockford, IL was recently at a sandwich shop. A rather regular occurrence for many of us. Here she tells the story of the guy in front of her, who kept ordering his food while also on the phone. Stories are great because they have details and twists and turns which make listeners lean in to hear how the story ends. Michelle accomplishes all of this in the telling of the story.
Benchmarks must be highly unique, very fun, accentuate a program’s brand of humor, and (if possible) reinforce a character role on the show. Enter “Breakfast with Bryan” on Ty Loves New York, 92.3, NOW, New York City. In this feature, phone screener Bryan talks with a listener about something they recently put in their mouth to eat. With innuendo and comedic pauses, it sounds naughty, but isn’t. No one else can do this because it’s unique to Bryan and the show.
There might be no better character development for radio talent then when they’re talking to relatives on the show. This is when they become regular people. The father of John from John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego, was celebrating a birthday. Listen to the birthday call to his dad below – how John becomes that disappointing son while retaining his self-deprecating sense of humor. In these breaks, listeners see themselves and walk away with the, “he’s just like me” image. That’s a very powerful element in developing a relationship with a listener so they return to the program.
You have two options when you have a personal experience that’s interesting enough for the listeners to hear. You can either just tell the story or you can record audio while it’s happening and bring some of that to the break to help listeners feel it. Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa totally get the latter concept. Dave recently had an experience while in a men’s bathroom stall. Something happened a few stalls down so crazy to him that he decided to grab audio of it to help the break. The way he handled this is way more entertaining for the audience then him just recounting the facts.
Sometimes the very best content comes from the lives of the people on the show. This often is the kind of content that cannot be done by any other show because they don’t have the experience. Producer Mary’s sister, Katy, has the worst luck at dating, often making some very bad stories. This is fodder for The J Show, B96, Chicago, in a new feature they put on called “Train Wreck Katy”.
Here’s an idea you can save for next Halloween. With the holiday approaching, and knowing that everyone can sing along with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Rob and Joss, Froggy 92.9, Santa Rosa, CA got a local celebrity to do their version of the famous poem at the end of the song. Very clever and lots of fun, which helps them stand out in the market.
When a local story breaks, you can recount the facts as you know them from the paper, TV, or the internet. Or you can grab someone who was in the middle of the story and get them to tell you what happened. Doing the latter is much more interesting because you can ask questions and get firsthand perspective, making the story come alive. Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa, heard that there was a streaker at the Rays baseball game the previous night. They found one of the arresting cops who knew more than they did and invited him on the show to create the fun break. The moral of the story: do the work to pull this stuff off and you’ll have something the rest of the market won’t.