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.
One of the “it” girls right now is singer Katy Perry. Appearing on MIX 104.1, Boston’s “Karson & Kennedy” to promote her new CD, the show does anything but focus on the selling of her music. Instead, they know listeners are most interested in her marriage to comedian Russell Brand, which is what they have fun with for almost the entire interview. That’s a very smart strategy – play in areas listeners love instead of spend time selling them something.
With “Iron Man 2” opening, syndicated country show Tony & Kris out of Nashville came up with a very simple game asking a listener to identify the super hero certain actors played in the movies. This is a simple, vicarious game that works. Sometimes, though, you have to make lemonade when things go south. Listen here as they guys make what could’ve been a tough game (the listener barely knew any answers) into something fun to listen to.
Where does every show want to me? Right smack dab in the middle of pop culture and news. Nick Cannon at 92.3 NOW, New York talked to the street vendor who found the SUV in Time Square that almost became a bomb. Duane Jackson is being hailed as a hero for having seen something odd and then alerted authorities. Nick could have talked about Dwayne, but the show went the extra mile to get him on for this first person account of that city’s biggest news story!
It’s not just the topic you choose, but what you do with the topic that makes it entertaining, sticky, and unique. Nick Cannon at NOW, New York City is all over American Idol. Here’s a guy he met in the lobby of the building who comes on each week to offer his perspective on the show. This is something that can’t be done across the street, which is why it works.
Great breaks are fun and relatable. They make you laugh. And when they really work, they communicate that the talent is just like you. Cliff and Brooks at KSON, San Diego were talking about how tough it is to get someone on the phone when you need customer service. So they’re taking calls and then Cliff decides to call his bank to see how hard it’d be to find an actual person. Listen to this short break – hasn’t it happened to you, too? That’s great radio!
Great interviews make people laugh. This one does. Karson & Kennedy at MIX 104.1, Boston do three terrific things in this interview with Gilbert Gottfried: they get him to bring listeners inside on what it’s like to be the Aflac duck, they ask his opinion on the Tiger Woods situation, and they get him to be funny around his marriage. Three simple, relevant things to create something that make people laugh.
Why does MOJO in the Morning own Detroit? Why do they perform even better in PPM than in diary? Because they know how to create a human connection for listeners in ways which are fun. They’re honest and vulnerable and listeners are entertained by people they feel they know. Listen as this number one rated show on Channel 95.5, Detroit shares with listeners that one of its cast members’s husbands wants to be graded after they have sex.
Karson & Kennedy on MIX 104.1, Boston, developed their fun version of Seinfeld’s “The Marriage Ref”. Their’s is called “The Dating Ump” and it’s very simple. They get on a female listener who’s just had a first date with a guy. They listen to her story about how the guy conducted himself, giving out “strikes” if he missteps during the date. Once he gets three strikes, they suggest he’s lost his chance for a second date with her. They then open the phones asking listeners for their advice.
Each morning at 7:30, we play “Big Fat Liar” with the cast of Gene and Julie on KVIL, Dallas. This is a character building break, where we get to know the talent. Each tells a one sentence story about themselves, only one person is lying. The listener who correctly guesses who’s lying wins. Here’s one which shows the chemistry of the team. You always walk having had fun and having learned something about each member of the cast. It’s edited down from what aired, but you’ll get the sense of how it’s played and how these guys create laughter with it.
Truly great radio, the kind that connects with the audience, is vulnerable. Listeners want to get to know the talent (the parts which position them as real). At Mojo in the Morning at Channel 95.5, Detroit, Shannon (the single 27-year old of the show) is considering getting a dog. Listen as the conversation evolves with Shannon admitting to the room how lonely she is being single, especially learning that her ex-fiance had a new girlfriend. Then, Shannon breaks down crying. This is brilliant radio because the wall between the talent and the listener is invisible. Think of how many other women identify and have empathy for this show character. The next break (right below on this page) was spent talking with listeners reacting to this.