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.
Ever meet a porn star? Kyle, from Kyle & Rachel on Radio Now, Indianapolis, went out for drinks with friends one evening and ran into one. Instead of just talking about it on the show or doing a simple phone topic, they took it a step further. They put the guy on and let listeners ask yes/no questions before taking a guess at the unique thing the guy did for a living. This made the break vicarious, interactive, gave them more to create fun with, and built to an “oh wow” at the end when it was finally correctly guessed.
The listeners love it when Karlson and McKenzie, WZLX, Boston have Kevin Karlson’s mother-in-law on. Kevin just lost 40 pounds. His in-laws call the show to ask questions about it and make comments. This is truly original programming. It humanizes Kevin, we get the essence of his relationship with his in-laws, and it’s very funny!
Trivia always works on morning shows because is makes listeners play along. How you do the trivia, though, determines if it’s entertaining. Jimmy and Yvonne, on DAVE-FM, Atlanta, do “The Waffle House Aptitude Test”. They line up five callers and then ask the person who answers the phone at a local Waffle House five questions based on current events. However many of the five questions the person get right determines which phone line/listener wins the prize (i.e. if they get three right, the listener on line three wins).
Paul McCartney recently played in Chicago. Here’s a call Eddie and Jobo, on KHITS, Chicago, got from a male listener who’d gone to the concert the previous night with his son. Seems like the son didn’t come home, and the father speculated that he’d been picked up by a cougar at the concert. The team did the most logical thing. They teased the listeners into the next quarter hour that they’d call the kid’s cell to see if he or the courgar would pick up. This is a great way to extend listenership through two quarter hours of a program. You might be surprised what happens. Here are both segments.
Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa do something fun when they have concert tickets to give out. Knowing country listeners distaste for rap music, they marry the two genres to give them out. They take the lyrics of a popular country song and Veronica does them rap style. The listener has to guess the song to win. I especially like the jingle they use to stage the game, which has “we’re about to be silly” written all over it.
Games are best when they can also be played by listeners in their cars. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego, do their version of The Pyramid called “The Friday Face Off”. Here’s one they take an extra step by using a category that completely fits the weekend The Grammys are on TV. This is topical, fun, shows the chemistry of the team, with listeners playing along. They want to have a good time when they wake up – this is a great example of that.
Kyle and Rachel at Radio Now, Indianapolis, do this fun, interactive thing with listeners on occasion called “I Don’t Believe You”. Listeners call, give a one sentence story about something they may have experienced in life, and the morning show has to determine if it’s believable. Most stories told are true, so they get the details and entertain the audience in the process. It’s just another fun way to get listeners participating in the show around a vicarious feature.
Great games have a vicarious aspect to them which allow people listening to play along. Here’s J & Julian, on B96, Chicago, doing “Pregnant, Pissed, or Happy”. This is where they put a female listener on the air, ask her questions unrelated to any of the three conditions, then, based on her voice, try to determine if she’s pregnant, upset with something, or happy today. If she stumps them, she gets a prize – and all listening are playing along trying to figure it out, too.
Great phone topics come from real life experiences. Tiffany, from the Tiffany and Michael Show, B101, Philadelphia, was convinced by her husband to have a yard sale. This prompted the topic to listeners wondering the oddest item people have ever had purchased from them during a yard sale. PPM always reacts positively to entertaining stories from listeners. You might be stunned at what was said.
Normally I am not a fan of any morning show cooking on the air. There is zero listener benefit to this. But here’s an exception. Eddie and JoBob, on K-HITS, Chicago grill in the studio right before the July Fourth holiday. What makes it work are the sounds they create and the fact that JoBo uses it to get to audio of him asking kids questions about grilling during the holiday weekend, which is really fun.