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.
The best content ideas tend to come up when shows and I are just bullshitting on our weekly calls. A few weeks back, Stacey K and Jonah, HOT 101.7, Santa Rosa, CA were gabbing about how long the drive thru takes when getting coffee in the morning. So, we decided to test things by going to one and timing waiting in your car to order and pick up your coffee verses going in. This is relatable content being done in a very memorable way. It also has an element to it where listeners are glued to the radio to see how it ends, as they’ve considered it before, too.
A guy friend of newsman Bill Tafrow is being “domesticated” by his fiance. His buddy’s walls have been painted peach and he’s upset about that. Which is why Michael and Tiffany, B101, Philadelphia’s morning show, decided to have a “mantervention”. They called Bill’s friend so Bill could confront him about how he’s changed. The first break below is the “mantervention”. The second is the fiance calling to defend herself.
It’s important to be where the listeners are psychologically. With recent bad weather in the nation’s capital, The Pablo Show, WPGC, Washington, DC decided to talk with listeners who didn’t want to go into work because of it. They chose one of the listeners and got their boss on the other line to request the day off for them. Be on the most important topics of the day for your market (on this day, it was the weather for DC) and do something with them that not only is fun, but cannot be replicated by anyone across the street because you thought to do it.
Two critical steps for any show to be successful is having a finite content plots and interesting, defined characters. At The J Show, B96, Chicago, one of the ways w eco this is by the parent of a cast member coming on and offering two stories about their kid. One is right, the other is fake. The audience has to figure out which one is true to win. In the process, we hear a great story and the cast member is further defined.
Listeners love to be let in on the relationships cast members have with each other and their families. In fact, making them feel like they are a part of your family is critical in developing loyalty from them. That loyalty equals huge levels of cume and TSL. Rob and Joss, Froggy 92.9, Santa Rosa, CA understand this. Which is why, back when Christmas season was in full force, Joss’s dad hung her Christmas lights. Except she had to make a confession to him. So she called him on the air to handle things. This is making listeners a part of the family.
Great radio is story-based. Listeners love to hear stories. Most TV shows are grounded in telling an ongoing narrative. Hit records are stories. They are so important and valuable as content. Michelle, from Sean and Michelle, Lite Rock B103, Rockford, IL was recently at a sandwich shop. A rather regular occurrence for many of us. Here she tells the story of the guy in front of her, who kept ordering his food while also on the phone. Stories are great because they have details and twists and turns which make listeners lean in to hear how the story ends. Michelle accomplishes all of this in the telling of the story.
Here is a terrific break showing how to do character development. Karson, from Karson & Kennedy on MIX 104.1, Boston, had to call the cops because his daughter was getting harassed on Facebook. Character stories must have three elements: the ability for listeners to see themselves in the story, a bold point of conflict, and strong emotions connected with the story. This had all three.
Benchmarks must be highly unique, very fun, accentuate a program’s brand of humor, and (if possible) reinforce a character role on the show. Enter “Breakfast with Bryan” on Ty Loves New York, 92.3, NOW, New York City. In this feature, phone screener Bryan talks with a listener about something they recently put in their mouth to eat. With innuendo and comedic pauses, it sounds naughty, but isn’t. No one else can do this because it’s unique to Bryan and the show.
A couple of weeks ago when Oprah was going off TV, Jimmy and Yvonne at DAVE-FM, Atlanta decided to find a guy listener who wanted to watch Oprah’s last show live instead of from his DVR later that evening. So they called the guy’s female boss to get him out of work early that do. Very quirky and creative.
There might be no better character development for radio talent then when they’re talking to relatives on the show. This is when they become regular people. The father of John from John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego, was celebrating a birthday. Listen to the birthday call to his dad below – how John becomes that disappointing son while retaining his self-deprecating sense of humor. In these breaks, listeners see themselves and walk away with the, “he’s just like me” image. That’s a very powerful element in developing a relationship with a listener so they return to the program.