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.
What do you get when you cross very urban and openly gay Greg and Fernando on 99.7 NOW, San Francisco with southern redneck Texas? A weekly feature where Greg calls his mom to talk about what she’s been up to for the last several days. The audience eats this up because there is such a disparity in the lifestyles and both sides are very comfortable with who they are.
One of our signature features on Karlson & McKenzie, WZLX, Boston is “Senseless Survey”. Kevin Karlson calls an unsuspecting citizen, claiming he’s with the US Senseless Bureau. Once they consent to a quick thirty second survey, he fires the quirkiest, oddest questions at them to see how they react.
The very best radio talent communicate a very central message: I’m just like you. Sean Henry from Lite Rock B101, Rockford, IL does this effortlessly in the break below. Sean is a dad, who has normal struggles with his kids, just like the moms who listen to the radio station. He argued with his young son to do something every parent has endured. He came up with this quick, listener engagement break called “It Took Ten Minutes” where the audience guessed what took ten minutes to do, then he ran the audio talking to his kid about the “challenge” and had major, very relatable fun in the process.
We do a fun thing at the end of every artist interview on syndicated country morning show, Tony & Kris. It’s called “60 Seconds”, where the guys throw odd, quirky questions at the artists only looking for the first response that comes to mind. It’s a fun way to end interviews and gives listeners additional insight into the artists’ lives. Here’s a recent version of “60 Seconds” with The Band Perry, who’s up for several CMAs.
This week, Boston radio was amazing. I spent much of my time listening to how they handled the Marathon bombings. And walked away very impressed. Specific kudos to the two shows I work with in Boston, Karson and Kennedy on MIX 104.1 and Karlson and McKenzie on WZLX. Both shows were spectacular the entire week. While I could have chosen literally dozens of breaks to post, I’ve decided on one done by the morning team of Toucher and Rich, 98.5 The Sports Hub, Boston. The second bomb went off outside the apartment building in which Rich lives. A place he passes through ten times a day. And a place he’d been only moments before with his young son as they went to watch the end of the Marathon. In this break, Rich tells his story. It is exceptionally moving and brilliant radio. That Rich’s wife suffers from cancer has added to a very challenging few months for his family. It all comes out in this break. We talk all the time about telling stories, about how could we ever expect the audience to get close to us if we can’t give up ourselves to them. To be vulnerable and honest. This is it, at its most masterful. In the first part of the break, listen as Rich gives first-hand details, and paints the most colorful pictures of what happened and what he saw. You literally feel as though you are there with him. In the second half of the break, his emotions come through as he expresses his grief, his fear, his anger, his frustration, and his compassion for himself, his family, his city, and all who are listening. That he spoke for them, and did so in the most real, honest, and vulnerable way, makes this an exceptionally memorable and powerful break. It lasts 13-minutes and deserved every second of it.
To introduce Candy & Potter, the new morning show on KMPS, Seattle, to the market, we’re doing “The Hole in the Wall Tour” where we take the show out each Friday to meet listeners at a small, local breakfast place. On this Friday, the mayor of the small town was asked a bunch of trivia questions, with each correct answer worth some money to his favorite charity. Listen as they ask local, quirky questions with a pop culture feel. This one’s fun and works because listeners can play along in the car.
Anyone can run down the list of things going on during the upcoming weekend in town. There was a time when that content worked. No longer, though. Now, it’s how you do it that matters. Listen here at Jimmy & Yvonne, from DAVE-FM, Atlanta talk to a regular character on the show (and listener to the show), Bob the Queen. Bob’s not only tied into Atlanta, he has terrific chemistry with the team, is quite authentic, and exceptionally quick-witted. The draw here for listeners isn’t what’s going on in Atlanta, it’s what Bob says that make people want to tune in.
Great breaks require great conflict. And conflict is what happens when you remain friends with your ex-wife on Facebook! Karson, from Karson & Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston has a good relationship with his ex. This didn’t sit too well with wife number two, so she (Lana) de-friended him on Facebook. In the first break below, the show calls Lana to get the details (this is where the initial conflict is found…in how each of them view the story differently). In the second break below, Karson calls his ex-wife to let her know he’s dumped her…again. Her reaction is classic.
Jimmy Baron (from Jimmy and Yvonne, who do mornings on DAVE-FM, Atlanta) decided to sell some tickets he’d purchased to another employee at the station. Not looking to for anything other than face value, listen as Jimmy tells the story of about how the money he was given came up short, followed by an on-air “discussion” with the person he sold the tickets to. These kinds of honest, unfolding conversations on-the-air are great character building and riveting for listeners to hear because they are relatable and unpredictable.
Lots of shows reenact a big scene from a popular movie to give out a prize. Rob and Joss, Froggy 92.9, Santa Rosa, CA go one better. They do “Upper Management Theater” where they get the cluster’s market manager and his assistant to reenact the scene. Adding this element of bad acting gives them something to react to and adds another audio component to the break to make it sparkle for those who tune in just looking to be entertained.