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.
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.
Here is phone reaction from the break above with listeners identifying with Shannon’s admission on Channel 95.5, Detroit that she was lonely and wanted a dog.
On a female-targeted radio station, you can never go wrong with kids. Listen as Michael from the B101, Philadelphia morning show quizzes kids at his son’s school bus stop about the big “event” which was coming up that weekend (the Super Bowl). The kids are cute, create great laughter, and strategically position Michael as the “father” on the program!
With the Olympics all over television now, J and Julian at B96, Chicago did a simple, yet quirky phone topic asking listeners, “If you could win Olympic gold in the one thing in life you do really well, what would you medal in?” These are fun, simple stories listeners tell. So much of great radio is creating humor from real life experiences. This one nails it.
At MIX 104.1, Boston we did “Wedding in a Week” for Valentine’s Day. Considering the economy, we found couples who wanted to be married but were putting it off because they couldn’t afford it. We built this from the ground up, first finding the couple, then getting listeners to donate all the items one would need for a wedding. Once we found the minister to perform the service, we felt like we needed to check him out. So the show called a couple he’d married previously to make sure the minister had the “golden touch” for happy marriages. Here’s the very tongue-in-cheek (and fun) conversation with a guy who’s been happily married for five years by the man who performed our service.
Great breaks are always fun and strategic. They reflect a purpose of communicating the show’s characters and/or are a reflection of listener interests (usually pop culture). At Radio Now, Indianapolis, McKinzie is pregnant. Which is why Scotty (who has no kids) decided to “sample” the baby food McKinzie was buying in anticipation of the little one coming. Mix in some laughter and you have a break of pure character definition!
We love it when shows do something innovative and mischievous. Anyone could go to a local wine show and come on the air to talk about it (snooze city!). Or, gather audio of the locals commenting on the wine (boring!). But Karson and Kennedy at MIX 104.1, Boston did something different. They set up a wine booth, substituted their wine with Welch’s Grape Juice, and then recorded the locals commenting as they sampled it. With the listeners in on the joke, listen as folks try to be kind. Being innovative makes you memorable. This is a great example of that.
Nick Cannon, new morning guy at 92.3, NOW, New York was chatting with listeners about using porn in their relationships when he gets a call from “Debbie from Long Island”, who’s all for it, even claiming that she and her husband use it to make the relationship better. Great content breaks are strategic – they’re fun, relevant, and build the host’s character by communicating something. What happened strategically here really is revealed at the end of the call. The listener is actually Mariah Carey, Nick’s wife, who called to prank him!