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.
Normally you don’t talk about your birthday on the air, right? No one really cares when you’re in the office and someone else goes on and on about their birthday. But, if you add audio of those at the birthday party insulting your partner for not attending, you create humor and character development for them, which elevates the conversation strategically because you’re defining someone on the program and making the audience laugh. Such was the case when Ray and Karen, The Morning Misfits on MIX 94.9, Cincinnati, talked about Karen not attending Ray’s weekend birthday party recently.
One of our absolute favorite Halloween bits was done by Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa, who decided to ask the mayor of St. Petersburg to read the Vincent Price poem at the end of the Michael Jackson song “Thriller”. Doing a homegrown version of this part of the song is unique, very topical, and fun. This break takes on the added dimension of unpredictability because of how they got the mayor to do it (unnecessary in the execution, but it certainly added to the drama of its presentation). Dave (who’s completely fearless) went to a town hall meeting and, asking to go last, requested that the mayor do this in front of an unsuspecting crowd. Everything about this break is perfect: how they presented the scenario, the airing of the audio with commentary, with the mayor’s final product at the end.
There are few honors higher in a market than being asked to throw out the first pitch or sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at your local major league baseball park. Lisa and Ray, US 99.5, Chicago were invited to Wrigley Field to help with the seventh inning stretch for a recent Cubs game. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was something the iconic Harry Caray made fun when he did play-by-play for the Cubs. Nervous to do a great job in front of thousands of fans and a TV audience, Lisa and Ray decided to get tips from Harry’s widow, Dutchie. There are options for a show when something like this happens: just talk about it or find something to do with it that is unique and has a “first person” quality. Talking with Dutchie accomplishes the latter and makes the break and its content more memorable.
One struggle for many parents is amount of candy and sugar their kids eat. Sean Henry, from Sean and Michelle, B103, Rockford, IL has a young son. In efforts for Sean to connect with the female base of the program, he regularly talks to his kid, Declan. After a party for his sister, with tons of sugar, Declan had too much candy and went off on violent TV shows. The world from the perspective of a kid hopped up on sugar! What parent wouldn’t listen to this, hear real life, and bond with the cast? This connection point is the start of building a relationship with the audience where the personalities are the draw into the program.
Some songs require you to dance when you hear them. Silento’s “Watch Me” is one of them. How to de-dance a song? Change the tone and vibe of one of America’s favorite songs. Stacy K and Jonah, Hot 101.17, Santa Rosa know how to create some conflict. Get your boss to rap the best parts. Then mix them together for their silliness. This is a well-constructed break where the team plays the hook of the song for buy in, then adds in the work part from their boss to create the humor. Anytime you marry opposites (the boss/a rap song) you create a tension that results in fun.
If you listened to the break from last week (just below this), Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston put together a flawless break with a funny “Cats in the Cradle” parody for TV anchor Kate Merrill, who was filling in for Kennedy and missing her kid’s first day at school. On the break after the one below, they did the next obvious thing and called Kate’s husband, who was instrumental in gathering crucial items to make the bit work. Kate humorously confronted her husband, giving the show a shot to re-air the great audio from the first break and drove the show’s relatability as we get to see their real husband/wife life.
Every once in a while there’s a break of perfection. This is one. In our efforts to accrue images of humor, authenticity, innovation, and relevance, prep becomes more critical. Kate Merrill was filling in for Kennedy on Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston. Kate is a TV news anchor in the market, but is atypical in the sense that she never tries to protect her TV persona. She’s just a real life mom on-the-air and has no issues revealing herself. Last week, while on the show, she was missing her kid’s first day of school. Understanding the relevance of this topic, the team surprised Kate with a song to note it, along with one other unexpected element. Listen to this break, all the natural reactions (namely, silly laughter), how human, real, fun, and unpredictable this is. Also take note of the work that went into conceiving this idea, writing it, gathering the elements, and then flawlessly executing it. PPM is a measure of experiences. Imagine the experience listeners had hearing this and their desire to want to return to the show again to get more of it.
Running narratives across a few quarters hours might work to extend listenership if the story arc is compelling and fast-moving. Loren from The TJ Show, AMP 103.3, Boston was out having a bite to eat and saw a proposal on a marquee across the street from Thomas asking if his girlfriend, Melanie, would marry him. She was so intrigued that the show set out to find them to get the backstory and, more importantly, to see if Melanie said yes. This is the power of radio – Melanie called into the show to tell them what happened. Hear the enthusiasm, fun, and evolving storyline based on a real life event. This is very memorable radio.
One of the great connection attributes a show can communicate is that they’re regular, flawed people. Our audio producer, Edgar Preciado at The Cruz Show, Power 106, Los Angeles, gathered all the verbal miscues from our anchor Cruz. He edited them together to create this really fun series of clips poking fun at the mistakes made. Cruz, as well as the rest of the show, had no idea what to expect to preserve the most honest of reactions. The more you can make fun of yourself, celebrate your flaws, and be self-depracating, the more the audience will laugh and root for you. Here’s the audio to enjoy.
Great breaks are centered around the most relevant topic choices of the day and done in a way to create and showcase the sense of humor of the hosts. California is suffering through water restrictions with its droughts and fires. Enter then, John Flint: Water Cop! John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego, seizing on the topic and John’s desire to become law enforcement, became a water cop in his neighborhood, noting those who are violating the restrictions. What makes this break terrific include these items: the topic is local, John and the team are storytelling, they have a production value (including a quirky jingle) to signal silliness to the audience, and they have on someone from law enforcement to help them have their fun.