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.
This could be my favorite bit of the week. Producer Mike at Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston was feeling the new iPhone buzz this week so he married the Hot Topic with a fun, innovative idea. He showed various groups of people (young, old, kids) his iPad and claimed it was the iPhone 6 Plus. Their reactions were priceless. Our goal in developing entertaining content is to do things like this which are real, fun, and result in the audience pausing their life for a few moments to have a good time. This did that.
Tell me a story. And one with conflict. And throw in that it has to be relatable. In other words, there must be a fair chance listeners could see themselves in it. Sean and Michelle, B103, Rockford, IL lead the most normal of lives. Sean’s wife, Amy, said they would not buy a new lawnmower after theirs broke. Instead, Amy found an old push mower on the side of the road and did the lawn with it. Here’s a fun story, with Amy telling most of it (with commentary by Sean) which is really reflective of real life and laughter.
When you’re conceiving an idea, think opposites. In brainstorming sessions, ask “what is the opposite of this?” Going 180-degrees lends conflict to ideas, and instantly puts an emotional reaction into the presentation. Your topic choice is critical to the success of a break. The application you bring to the topic makes it cut through and be entertaining. Cindy and Jimmy, Star 94, Atlanta, recently wondered out loud if Peyton Manning was good looking. Playing opposites, instead of asking women this question, they sprung it on guys, knowing the reactions and answers would be even better.
We have a uber local show with Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa. Being local is not the only reason they win, though. They beat the competition because they leverage that localness and are exceptionally entertaining around it. We got Dave and Veronica to throw out a first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game. Knowing that most of the audience won’t go to see them, it’s their job to bring enough audio back to air the next day so this group of people will feel like they’re there. Here are two breaks that do this perfectly. In one, they had a fan in the stands do play-by-play of their first pitches. In the second audio segment, you hear natural audio as they’re introduced, along with the chemistry of this team, as Dave ribs Veronica about what she did and how her family reacted. This chemistry, natural laughter, bold content choice, unique execution, and our being local all adds up to the show’s consistent wins in Nielsen.
Last Valentine’s Day, Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston, decided to find a listener-bride for their new co-host, Salt. Part of the drama was the fact that Salt has a girlfriend. And in the process of involving Salt’s girlfriend, the show met Toni. Great radio is finding the really funny people in life and figuring out how to get them on your show. That Toni is a firecracker is an understatement. Here’s a break where the show not only understands this, they step out of Toni’s way to let her radiate out of the speakers. Real life is funny. This shows that.
One of the most important things you should be with your listeners is honest. We can spot fakes and phonies a mile away; the audience always knows if you’re shooting them straight. That’s why this break, about Johnny Manziel flipping off the Washington Redskins bench, is so valuable and powerful in creating a bond with the audience. Jody Dean and his Team, KLUV, Dallas, were talking the morning after Manziel showed that immaturity in a pre-season game. Jody has been in the market forever and knows football, having played it in college. His comments are raw, real, and very honest. The audience is nodding up and down, having their own connection moment with the show because of how well this topic was handled.
There seems to be a Gen-Con convention in every city every week now. My good friend, Dom Theodore, always preached to find the odd balls and get them on the show because that was great entertainment for the masses. Dom is right. Gen-Con was just in Indy. Kyle and Rachel, Radio Now, Indianapolis had two paths to potentially follow to get this odd ball fun on their show. They could chat about it based on what they read in the paper, saw on TV, and what their friends said. Or they could go there, immerse themselves in the event to feel it, while talking with attendees. The latter approach takes more time, but results in way better authentic content. Here are two breaks of Kyle talking to those who went to Gen-Con and his having fun with them. This is terrific, real life, genuinely fun radio.
Stacey K and Jonah, HOT 101.7, Santa Rosa, CA got into a bet the other day, with the loser having to potentially embarrass themselves with “Drive Through Mad Libs”. Jonah lost this bet so he had to go through the Starbuck drive-thru and weave into his order the code words (which were naughty) Stacey identified for him. Two things that were terrific about this: they recorded it the day before they actually had to pay it off so when they teased it, instead of being live (and not knowing what they would get), it was packaged and aired as live ten minutes after the tease so the audience got the payoff quickly. The other fun thing about this is that the gal at the Starbucks recognized Jonah’s voice, which was a bonus for those listening.
This break is instructive about hooks and adding elements to make them glow in 3-D. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego got into an expected conversation about taxes back in April. John admitted to the audience that his partner did his taxes and that a problem had developed – he owed back taxes. Listen for these things: John’s great hook up front to set the table so the listeners want to hear the details of the story. Then there’s an admission from Tammy about the guilt she feels that John owes the taxes, so John has on a pastor who’ll absolve Tammy of her guilt. Without the pastor, it’s just a two-dimensional story. With the hook and pastor, the break has a better chance to sparkle, and adds another element to help create an entertaining break.
In search of a summer hook for the show, Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa noted how everyone and their grandmother seem to be taking selfies today. Capitalizing on that trend, the show decided to make this “The Summer of the Singing Selfie”. When they go out (concerts, promotions, etc.) and see fans and get them to sing their favorite song while recording themselves. They grab the audio and video for the show and website and have more content to prove they are out in the market hanging out with listeners. Both are always fun and silly where we find our win.