Great 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.

B101 Bill Tafrow’s Mom

Tiffany & MichaelOne of the easiest ways to do character development is to involve a family member in the show.  In this clip from Tiffany & Michael on B101, Philadelphia, news guy Bill Tafrow tells a story about not paying at a restaurant because the waitress wouldn’t show him any attention when he wanted to take care of his meal.  In this clip, the show calls Bill’s mom to ask her if he should go back to the restaurant to pay.

WNOU Happy Mother Fucker’s Day

Kyle & RachelUsually for Mother’s Day, shows will default (as they should) to the syrupy and sweet.  What stands out, though (if it fits the brand) is something with edge and attitude.  That’s why, for the holiday, Kyle and Rachel, Radio NOW, Indianapolis, did something this past week called “Happy Mother Fu%#er’s Day”.  They invited listeners to call and wish a Happy MF Day to the person who most recently did them wrong.  Yes, the did bleep the necessary word!  Below are the set up break and the subsequent break with listener calls.  This one cut through!

Refund Stories

J & JulianThe very best phones always come out personal stories.  Many shows lean on surveys or magazine articles to launch phones – that’s generic, boring, and impersonal.  When the show shares something that happened to them, and then open the phones to get similar stories, they’re even better because character development happens (the audience is connecting with the story).  In this audio segment from J & Julian on B96, Chicago, J tells a story about wanting a refund from a car wash that  messed up his car.  Listen after for the great stories they get from listeners as everyone kicks back to be entertained.  This is simple bread-and-butter stuff, but quite effective when launched from talent sharing a relatable experience they had.

KMVQ Greg’s Mom

Fernando & GregWhat 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.

WGFB "It Took Ten Minutes"

Sean & MichelleThe 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.

The Band Perry "60 Seconds"

Tony & KrisWe 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.

Toucher and Rich: The Boston Break

Toucher & RichThis 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.

KMPS "Charity Challenge"

Candy + PotterTo 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.

Bob The Queen

Jimmy & YvonneAnyone 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.

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