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.
No doubt Boston has been hit hard with winter weather. If you lived there, you’d know most people are over it. Frustrated with non-stop snow, cold temperatures, and rides to work that last twice as long because of the roads is a common vibe. Tapping into the emotional vein of a market is critical to being local. The TJ Show, AMP 103.3, Boston, does a weekly feature called “Therapy with Judah”. Judah is TJ’s nephew and comes on weekly to share his wisdom. In last week’s edition of the feature, Judah was charged with giving the market a pep talk about the snow and winter conditions.
Combine a provocative conversation around sex with terrific team chemistry and add in a pinch of vulnerability for character development and you have a very memorable, very real break. Peter Rosenberg, part of Ebro in the Morning, HOT 97, New York, believes that every single person has a certain percentage of gay in them. He throws out this theory and then kicks back as the chemistry of the team takes over. Listen as Laura Styles comments on herself, as well as listeners sharing their perspective of Peter’s thesis. This is silly and fun and a couple of great radio breaks.
When faced with telling a news story, all shows have options. The first (and easiest) is to just recount the story as you’ve read it, sprinkle in some commentary, and then move along. This is one-dimensional, somewhat boring to listen to, and (if I might be so bold) lazy. Another option is to tell the story and then open the phones for some reason. The third, and probably most powerful thing to do, is find someone in the story and get them to tell it, with you being inquisitive, asking all the right questions, and reacting naturally to what you hear from their first-person account. Isis has been threatening airplanes. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego found someone on one of them and the gal’s recounting of her experience is absolutely emotional and riveting. Grab your audience and don’t let go and they’ll come back. Here are the interview segments proving that.
One of the easier breaks to do on a Friday show is to simply ask listeners that they’re doing that weekend. It’s completely lifestyle and will be a potpourri of things you can explore, even going back to a few on Monday if something truly interesting comes up. Which brings us to Kyle and Rachel, Radio NOW, Indianapolis, from this past Friday. When listeners were sharing what they were up to, the team was completely taken aback when one caller said she was going to a Super Bowl Sex Party and that it was thrown by someone everyone knew, who was on TV in town. Intrigue is critical to making a break work. Kyle convinced the caller to give him the name of the person off-air, introducing this x-factor into the break. Only he and co-host B-Lorde know who this person is (Rachel left the studio not wanting to hear the name). Now listeners wonder, too. Resulting in a question they’ll be asked for months: who is it? Here is the initial break they did with subsequent calls from listeners.
Let me into your life, let me learn about your relationship. One of the great attributes of the TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond” was how Ray could never do anything right. This is a thread through Sean and Michelle, B103, Rockford, IL (not because we’re copying the TV show, but because it’s true in Sean’s relationship with Amy, his wife). Sean has no issue being real and vulnerable. That’s one thing to learn from this audio. The other is how smart the show is in getting his wife on to participate in the story-telling, allowing Sean to be himself and for Michelle to have the most natural of reactions. Without Amy involved in telling this story, it sits flat. Having her on with the team makes it come alive.
Tell stories. That’s central to great radio. Not lists or surveys or generic content listeners can’t emotionally engage with. What listeners of all ages respond to is hearing compelling stories with drama, conflict, and twists and turns. Dave McKay from Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa has experiences in life and effortlessly shares them with the audience that define him, communicate his humanity, and engage people so they care about him. The audience cares about the show as a result of this team’s ability to tell stories. Here’s one, as an example, of terrific story-telling to accomplish all those goals.
One very critical element to crafting a successful break is to engage elements in story-telling where the listener feels like they were there when it’s told. Stacey K & Jonah, Hot 101.7, Santa Rosa, CA recently heard that a salesperson at the radio station was on the phone with a worker at a local jewelry store as it was being robbed. They had two options: tell the sales person’s story based on what they heard. Or get the sales person to come on and gather the details by asking the right questions. Having the person on repositions the story in the first person and is much more emotional where all the talent had to do is ask the right questions to probe the story and react naturally.
We’ve all seen Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” bit. This is where celebrities read mean tweets about themselves on camera. Enter Ryan and Shannon, KS95, Minneapolis who do an occasional take-off on this with an added twist. Shannon’s father reads them to Ryan! You can certainly “borrow” a bit from a late night show. As long as you note it to the audience, it won’t matter. All the audience cares about when they’re listening is if it’s fun. They have no intellectual ability in the morning (or at any other time really) to process that it’s been done by a late night comedian and thus, isn’t as entertaining.
One of the primary objectives in the stories a morning show shares with its listeners is to communicate that those in the cast are just like the audience. Listeners must see themselves in the things that are shared by the on-air team. Doing so, especially in a fun way, communicates honesty, authenticity, and relatability. These are three very important images in developing a bond with those tuning in. When you meet people who say they feel like they know you, you’ve connected very powerfully with them. Here’s a story told by Ryno and Tracy, KYGO, Denver, about the office holiday party and the way in which Tracy left the party, all designed to force those images while entertaining the audience in the process.
Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa were born and raised in the community and, as a morning show, are uber local. This image has contributed to their incredible success in the county war in the market. Part of that win has been doing ideas which only people who live in town understand. Hence, Pen of the Day. An irregular feature where they ask businesses to mail them a company pen and, with a quirky production value which signals tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek, they highlight a local business. You stand out by the inventive ideas you do to drive an image. These two examples do that.