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.
Unbridled, silly fun. That’s what listeners want to have when they tune in. If you add in something local and an innovative approach to a passion of a cast member, you probably have the recipe for a successful break which cannot be duplicated elsewhere on the dial. Tammy, from John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego, admitted to the audience she is a huge Barry Manilow fan. Barry was scheduled to do a concert in San Diego, so John got Tammy to do “Tammy Fanilow” where she had to sing along with sixty seconds of Barry Manilow hooks to give out a prize to a listener on the phone. When you have a prize to give it, the true win comes in how much you entertain those not wishing to win it (that’s 99% of your audience). All the way around, this is a well designed break earning necessary images that remind listeners why they like this show and its cast.
There are multiple ways to do character development on a personality show. The most commonly used method is where the talent tells a relatable story about themselves (with drama and twists and turns) so the audience can understand how real they are. This usually leads to phone calls from listeners with their own entertaining stories around the same theme. If the original story is engaging, this always works. There are, though, other ways a talent can reach the same goal of defining themselves. The Boston Marathon was last week. Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston, played “Barrett or Barfly” where they asked a question about the famous race soliciting a funny answer from either a drunk person at a bar or Karson’s very cute son, Barrett. In this game, they positioned Karson as the loving father he is, were very local, innovative, and entertaining in the process.
Have you ever been around someone who won’t stop talking about golf? Drex, Cassiday, and Tingle, Star 94, Atlanta, know someone who won’t and he’s on the show. Drex lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes golf. So imagine the morning after The Masters. Drex found a way to work golf into most on-air breaks. This became a game the day after where a listener had to guess how many times Drex mentioned The Masters during the Monday show. The audio below is the production piece their producer, JP, put together to prove it. It’s very funny, quite relatable for women, and positions Drex as just like a husband of the audience.
With Twitter forcing everyone to communicate in short soundbites, The Cruz Show, Power 106, Los Angeles, decided to do character development the same way. Relationships are the easiest and most relatable topic you can do on your program. There are many kinds of relationships (boyfriend/girlfriend, boss/employee, neighbors, you/your mom, etc.). Cruz had each member of the show choose an ex and they had to describe them in five words. This is smart because the listener gets to know the cast members in short, digestible bites. They then let listeners do the same and explored the more interesting stories as content to entertain the audience.
My friend Dom Theodore talks about finding the “freaks and weirdos” to entertain the audience. While I am not sure those who are inebriated fall under that category, his point is that the people who live on the fringe tend to be very engaging. Which is why The TJ Show, AMP 103.3, Boston, has Producer Matt talk to drunk people each week. This is a very targeted idea around those who party each weekend in town (lots of college students live in Boston) and is entertaining to all. Behold, drunk people. Thanks for making us laugh.
Learning a lesson from Letterman, Fallon, and Kimmel, we know the value of marrying a pop culture topic with humor. This is one of the recipes that accentuate two very important images needed to win: being fun and being relevant. The best topics many days are those things going on in the world around all of us. Make it fun and the listeners will flock to it. Add in a dose of innovation and it makes the break truly cut through and be memorable. Several weeks ago when “50 Shades of Grey” was topic #1, Ryno and Tracy, KYGO, Denver decided to ask co-workers who the office Christian Grey was. They aired this audio one morning and had the guy chosen in the studio to hear it for the first time. They then had even more fun with him by having him read from the book. Three images earned here: relevance, innovation, and humor.
Newscasts are really content breaks for the listeners. Unless you’re on a news-talk station, the audience can get the day’s news items from sources dedicated to delivering them as well as mobile devices and TV stations when they wake up in the morning. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do news. But understand that what makes this break stand out is the perspective and/or humor you offer the news stories the team converses about and comments on. Here’s a great example from The Big Dave Show, B105, Cincinnati where they were talking about a new Barbie that many people find creepy. The show does something with it at the end which creates a moment of emotion (laughter) which makes it sticky.
For a break to stand out, it must not only have a relatability factor, it must also, on some level, be creative and innovative. Stacey K & Jonah, Hot 101.7, Santa Rosa, CA put together a feature called “The Censored Song”. They put a beep inside a song hook and it instantly made the lyric dirty, eliciting laughter from the audience. While Santa Rosa isn’t a PPM market, one item learned is that music-based features are loved by the audience. This is totally silly, fits both the station and morning show brand images, and is very memorable for those listening. It’s the kind of idea many fans will hear and talk about with their friends later in the day serving the dual role entertaining those tuning in while causing talk for the show.
Few shows prove how easy it is to bring listeners to their weekend experiences than Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa. One of the iconic events in the market is the yearly Strawberry Festival, attended by thousands. What this team does so effortlessly is talk to people where they visit. As a show, you have a few options once you experience something in the market. Talk about it or talk to people there and use that audio to help your break. Having that audio helps improve the break’s entertainment value for listeners. In this break, they have fun asking attendees what they’re eating. So easy to do. It makes for a better listener experience.
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.