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.
There seems to be a Gen-Con convention in every city every week now. My good friend, Dom Theodore, always preached to find the odd balls and get them on the show because that was great entertainment for the masses. Dom is right. Gen-Con was just in Indy. Kyle and Rachel, Radio Now, Indianapolis had two paths to potentially follow to get this odd ball fun on their show. They could chat about it based on what they read in the paper, saw on TV, and what their friends said. Or they could go there, immerse themselves in the event to feel it, while talking with attendees. The latter approach takes more time, but results in way better authentic content. Here are two breaks of Kyle talking to those who went to Gen-Con and his having fun with them. This is terrific, real life, genuinely fun radio.
Stacey K and Jonah, HOT 101.7, Santa Rosa, CA got into a bet the other day, with the loser having to potentially embarrass themselves with “Drive Through Mad Libs”. Jonah lost this bet so he had to go through the Starbuck drive-thru and weave into his order the code words (which were naughty) Stacey identified for him. Two things that were terrific about this: they recorded it the day before they actually had to pay it off so when they teased it, instead of being live (and not knowing what they would get), it was packaged and aired as live ten minutes after the tease so the audience got the payoff quickly. The other fun thing about this is that the gal at the Starbucks recognized Jonah’s voice, which was a bonus for those listening.
This break is instructive about hooks and adding elements to make them glow in 3-D. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego got into an expected conversation about taxes back in April. John admitted to the audience that his partner did his taxes and that a problem had developed – he owed back taxes. Listen for these things: John’s great hook up front to set the table so the listeners want to hear the details of the story. Then there’s an admission from Tammy about the guilt she feels that John owes the taxes, so John has on a pastor who’ll absolve Tammy of her guilt. Without the pastor, it’s just a two-dimensional story. With the hook and pastor, the break has a better chance to sparkle, and adds another element to help create an entertaining break.
In search of a summer hook for the show, Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa noted how everyone and their grandmother seem to be taking selfies today. Capitalizing on that trend, the show decided to make this “The Summer of the Singing Selfie”. When they go out (concerts, promotions, etc.) and see fans and get them to sing their favorite song while recording themselves. They grab the audio and video for the show and website and have more content to prove they are out in the market hanging out with listeners. Both are always fun and silly where we find our win.
Who’s most likely to have a visceral reaction to a sexually forwarded text you get from a stranger of the opposite sex? Your mother. Stacey K and Jonah at HOT 101.7, Santa Rosa, CA understand to play “the game of opposites” when constructing an idea. Not content to just talk about the text and open the phones (standard fare for a morning show), they brainstormed who might have a bold reaction to reading Stacey’s text. After developing a short list of people in their lives who could do that, and provide a higher level of emotion and entertainment, they settled on Stacey’s mother, who added exactly what this break needed to make it even stickier.
A couple of weeks ago when we were upon Father’s Day, Rob and Joss, Froggy 92.9, Santa Rosa, CA openly wondered why Father’s Day wasn’t as respected as Mother’s Day. Musing on-air that Father’s Day rates as low as Arbor Day or Columbus Day, they sought to elevate Father’s Day to a higher status. Below are the breaks they did across the week in a narrative story arc which started with them asking other fathers if they agree and culminating with the mayor coming into the studio to read a proclamation moving Father’s Day to a higher importance as a holiday. We’re always looking to do different things with the topics of the day. While other shows were talking about gifts and the standard things around this topic that week, we were doing something unique with it.
No doubt you must walk closer to the edges to get great stories on the phones from listeners who really wish to interact with their favorite morning show through social media. Our job always is to get great stories as terrific conflict, and details that captivate listeners as you walk towards resolution which keeps them on the edges of their seats. The Pablo Show, WPGC, Washington, DC, do an occasional feature called “Who Did You Sue?” The phone calls they get when they do this always rise to captivating radio as listeners know the premise and sit in anticipation to hear the twists and turns.
Celebrities only come on radio shows when they have something to promote. The challenge in interviews is to turn that around so it’s not perceived as nothing more than a commercial to the audience. In interviews, listeners want to be brought inside, to be told what they don’t know, and to hear the interviewee tell stories. Jody Dean, Rebekah Black, and David Ranken, KLUV, Dallas are excellent interviewers. Listen to this fun conversation they have with Neil, what they get from him in stories and behind-the-scene stuff, and the fun they create enroute to selling his TV show to their audience.
Last month when we were just about to celebrate Mother’s Day, Sean and Michelle, B103, Rockford, IL decided that Sean’s five-year old son, Declan, should be on his own to choose a gift for his mom. Declan was tasked with coming up with a unique gift every day that week and then revealing it to his dad on the show. Listen to one of the nightly conversations Sean had with his son. Women love this kind of stuff. It’s terribly cute and we position Sean as the perfect father.
What do you do when your PD boasts in a meeting that he’s the number one program director in country, according to a trade magazine? Well, when you’re Karlson and McKenzie, WZLX, Boston, you record him and mercilessly mock him on the air. What do you do when you’re the number one program director and you hear that break? You call in to defend yourself and attack the morning show back. Lots of radio people might hear this break as being “inside” but actually, it’s a break about relationships; employee and employer. And quite fun.