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.
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.
How do you celebrate when a co-worker receives an accolade? Normally highlighting the successes of the program director of your radio station could be a very inside conversation. Not for Karlson and McKenzie, WZLX, Boston. When the PD (who they have a good relationship with) is named the number one program director in America, the show whips out their cell to record the conversation to bring us to the moment to have their fun. Then allow things to escalate when the PD calls the studio to defend himself with the grief they’re giving him on the show. All around, this was a relatable conversation and, because he gave the show the business back, the audience is laughing along.
The more unique your features, the greater chance you have of standing out in the cluttered marketplace that is morning radio. With a nod for our desire for a higher level of Latino listeners, we developed a benchmark at The J Show, B96, Chicago called Sexy Spanish Talk. We invited female listeners who hadn’t had a date in a while to call the show. Our executive producer, Gabriel Ramirez, seduced them in Spanish. Only, it wasn’t always a seduction as we changed up what he said to the caller to create humor. Hispanic listeners were laughing during the “seduction” while all others waited for the translation to get the joke. This show’s plot is “multiculturalism”. Strategic features like this score even bigger points with the audience.
Games are fun to play, especially if they have a vicarious component and listeners in cars (those who really matter) can play along. Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa, play a game many shows have used called Back and Forth. A few things to note in their execution of this game: the topic is stuff you can eat at the fair, which was happening in their market at the time so it’s especially relevant. The other important item to note is the jingle to start the game. It’s very silly, setting the stage to have fun. Production values in on-air games heighten their entertainment quotient. Short, quirky stagers, a music bed, and a right/wrong sound effect (if applicable) also help engage those in cars participating.
What could be more fun than poking fun at your co-host? Ryan and Shannon, KS95, Minneapolis, have this very playful brother/sister relationship on-the-air and the audience eats up that vibe. Ryan has caught Shannon cleaning the screen of her phone in a very odd way. Instead of just confronting her about it on the show, listen to the very creative thing he did and the way he involved listeners in the rollout of the break. This was very silly and intriguing to those just listening and maximized Shannon’s reaction and the audience’s interest in seeing what she was doing.
Conflict creates compelling conversation and entertainment. Not necessarily conflict in the form of arguing. But conflict in a disparity of points-of-view. Add in sex as a central topic and an innovative way to do it and you have the makings of a unique, highly memorable and fun feature. Mojo in the Morning, Channel 955, Detroit, do this so well they own the market. “Six on Sex” takes a father and daughter (conflict) with dad asking his kid increasingly uncomfortable questions about her sex life on-the-air. This feature is one of the many reasons so many morning shows in radio admire them.
With the concert season in full swing, tying into the music scene in your market, especially stuff in format, is always a smart move. Luke Bryant is a fun show – this, in fact, is Luke’s persona (or “character” if we put it in radio terms). Ryno and Tracy, KYGO, Denver, had tickets to the local Luke concert. One thing we’ve learned in PPM is that taking caller 10 for anything is almost worthless. To the non-contest players (99% of your listeners), that’s a lot of blah, blah, blah. Knowing the big win is in earning images with how you give something out, Ryno and Tracy did “Lick It For Luke” where if a cast member licked the randomly chosen item on-the-air, the caller won the tickets. This is innovative and very fun for those who really don’t care to win the tickets who just turn the show on to have a good time.
How honest can you be with the audience? Can you bare your soul and let them in your life? Can you share true emotion and the most intimate details of your life with them? There are two examples of talent who did this flawlessly in the last week. Ebro Darden of Ebro in the Morning, HOT 97, New York completely changed his show the morning after the horrific shootings in Charleston. He so connected with his audience and reflected back to the community their emotions that the New York Times took note. Read the article here. With Father’s Day upon them, Kyle, from Kyle and Rachel, Radio NOW, Indianapolis admitted to the audience for the first time that he’d never met his father and was going on a search this summer to meet him for the first time. He had never shared this, further developing his character with fans and new listeners of the show. Both are major connections points for the audience. These are two terrific examples of great talent being brutally authentic, deeply emotional, and letting the audience inside to a special place which moves listeners to care about them.
While we always endeavor to have fun and create humor in almost everything we do (humor is the biggest reason listeners turn on a show), it’s those very human moments that create sticky characters on a radio program. These are the times you become most memorable because you’re showing an immense humanity and giving listeners a peek inside your soul. Drex, from Drex, Cassiday, and Tingle, Star 94, Atlanta, decided to write a letter from his heart and read it to his father on-the-air in anticipation of Father’s Day. What we eavesdrop on is true emotion and authenticity which gives listeners a sense of who he is as a person. Note when his partner, Tingle, steps in with some humor to lighten things up, creating two great moments inside this very valuable break.
Our agenda is to always satisfy the reason listeners turn the morning show on each day – to entertain them. The audience comes to us as an escape from the realities of the world (there are rare exceptions to this rule) and want to have a good time. This is especially dicey when you interview a celebrity as they’re coming on to sell something. Jerry from Ben and Jerry’s wanted some airtime from The TJ Show, AMP 103.3, Boston, to promote an upcoming event in town. The cast instinctively knows they can’t sell Jerry’s event if they can’t first entertain the audience. Which is why the interview posted here was choreographed the way it was.