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.
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.
If you want to grab the attention of the listeners, tell them a great story. Listeners love stories. Sean and Michelle, Lite Rock B103, Rockford, IL know this. Sean had an almost-odd encounter with a gas pump. He told listeners the story, with its twists and turns, then opened the phones. The very best listener stories come when you tell yours, then ask them to tell you theirs.
If you’re telling a story on the show that has other people involved, instead of just giving the details of the story yourself, get them to participate so there is more to play with. Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston, ventured into Karson’s relationship with his wife, Lana. She’d purchased a massage for him that he never used and this caused friction in their relationship. Their great producer, Mike Morgan, told Lana to listen to the break they were about to do on-the-air. He then had her leave a voicemail with her reaction (a novel approach). This break is Lana going off, uninterrupted, on Karson. It’s a terrific character building break because Lana is very real, very passionate, very opinionated, and very funny.
I am not a fan of lists – they’re easy content but not very personal. Unless you do something with them that is uniquely yours. Ryno and Tracy, KYGO, Denver, found the list of least sexiest American accents. They could have just read it to the audience and commented, but they personalized it when Tracy, noting how hated a Midwestern accent is, called her husband and tried to seduce him with a Minnesota accent. Lots of silly fun.
Sometimes a break happens on a Reynolds Group show that is perfection. This is one of them. The Red Sox are on the cusp of another World Series title and Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston know this is top shelf, very relatable content to the market. Listeners remember you not for the topics you choose, but for what you do with the topic. They had Karson’s three-year old son, Barrett, say the names of the Red Sox players and an intern, who happens to hate baseball, had to decipher them. Here are the strategic things accomplished in this break: character definition, deep authenticity, high relevance of topic, innovation because of what they did with the topic, and the chemistry of the room drove the humor.
Radio is one of the best mediums to tell a story because we can paint pictures with words, tone, and emotion. Want to truly understand the value of telling a story? Tell one well to listeners and stop halfway. They’ll ask that you finish it. They won’t if you cough out facts, figures, metrics, and lists. That’s the power of stories. In this segment on MOJO in the Morning, Channel 95.5, Detroit, Rachel tells a story about waiting on line at a retail establishment. Her story has wonderful twists and turns, totally defines her, and is exceptionally captivating. Mojo also finds way to involve listeners in the process, making this short break have multiple dimensions to keep those just tuning in completely engaged.
One thing to learn when interviewing a top celebrity is to prep, but also be prepared to organically go where the interview leads you. A few weeks ago, Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa talked to Luke Bryan, who was coming on to sell concert tickets. Early in the interview, they played for him Veronica doing a hip hop version of a Luke song used in another feature. Luke was so mesmerized by the creative that he took the interview to other places. Instead of being married to their list of questions, they willingly followed Luke. What ensued was a silly, fun interview which highlighted not only our team, but Luke’s sense of humor. A win all the way around – very entertaining for the audience and, as a result, Luke probably sold more concert tickets!