No doubt everyone is looking for bright white lights in all the morass of the world. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego excel at not only pointing out the positive, but being supportive of their listeners. What do fans want more than people who will root for them, care about them, and make them the star of their show? With all the wildfires in southern California, they heard about a listener (an ex-Marine) who’s dedicated to one mission: saving the animals. Here’s a break of total humanity, and a reminder that good does exist in the world. This is exceptionally relevant given how big the fires are. The guy comes on, tells stories (in fact, he tells his stories), and moves John and Tammy as well as other listeners. Go earn images, prop up your audience, and remind your fans that when they turn to you, the world isn’t such a bad place after all.
There are very simple things you can do to make a good, very relatable break, even better. David, Sue, and Kendra, Magic 106.7, Boston were talking about the toys that are due to be inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. This is very logical content, especially for their audience. The team gets to reminisce about toys from their childhood, bringing back terrific memories for listeners. Psychologically, retro content like this makes people feel warm and safe and reminds them of a happier time in their lives, especially now with all the craziness. What accelerates this break below and makes it even better for the audience is the simple use of audio. They talk about a toy, and here’s audio associated with it (i.e. the TV commercial for it). It’s in that audio that the content comes more alive and they are in a better spot to keep listeners engaged in their topic. In every break you do, ask when mapping it out, what audio exists (or what audio can you create) that will help that break perceptually for listeners who bore easily with just conversation.
We are always going for images. Being real, having fun, and doing something different with a big topic. Here’s MIX Mornings with Kyle, Bryan, and Sarah on WRAL, Raleigh. First, hear how they accrue all those images above. Then, listen to this break and ponder how much work it took to put less than three-minutes of a very strategic break together. The main topics they fuse are back-to-school and the Calm App everyone seems to have. They had to conceive the idea, then write and record the payoff, then find a listener to tell a relatable story (breaks are always better when a listener is involved), then construct the entire break. There’s much pressure on shows to get it done faster because listeners’ attention is scant. That, in most instances, requires more prep, not less. Unless you are a completely defined show, which takes many years, the days of turning on everyone’s microphones and talking around a topic until you think you’re done are not as effective to hold on to listeners, who have a ton of choices for content, connection, and entertainment when you’re on.
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! The cast at The Josie Dye Show with Matt and Carlin, Indie 88, Toronto are very inquisitive people. This is a key attribute in talent listeners gravitate to. With Covid-19 still a Hot Topic, the team continues to wonder about the disease and its impact on the community. They found a doctor to answer their questions, who comes on when they do. They key here is that this isn’t any doctor, it’s one who has something to say and they have chemistry with. That’s what makes this great, because the conversation took an odd turn after the topic of hooking up came up with the doctor. Someone brought up that glory holes were okay (look it up if you don’t know). The chemistry with the doctor drove the rest of the conversation, with it ending where a board-certified doctor endorsed having sex using them. Find experts for the show, but make sure they have something to say, can add to your conversation, answer the questions you have on whatever topic you’re discussing, and you vibe with, because that will drive how engaging it is.
We all agree that real life is very important as content for your show. Sometimes, it’s the very little things that become the biggest, and most memorable. How many Tide Pods should be used when doing your laundry? This was the real life content tackled by Mark and NeanderPaul, KSLX, Phoenix last week. Mark saw that his wife put two Tide Pods into the laundry. Once she stepped away from the washing machine, he fished one out, believing it should only be one. And he never told her. This resulted in calls about the correct number of Tide Pods that should be used with a full load. You might be interested to learn that, according to the company, it’s….two! This is great content – Mark and Paul created this break beautifully around the topic by adding in a couple of phone calls (one at the very beginning to grab you) as well as a quick quiz with a co-worker to find out how many she uses in the laundry. Overall, this is a small thing which will become a big thing.
We must stay true to ourselves if authenticity will ever rule. Authenticity is an overused word for being real. At its foundation, you must know yourself and find in that a comfort that when being honest with the audience, while you might find detractors, you stand a greater chance to move listeners from the like-to-love category. Brian and Chrissy, WGNA, Albany excel at real. There is a comfort with them which makes them friends. They had opportunity last year at this time to talk with country artist, Jimmie Allen. What are Jimmie’s passions? What could they talk with him about to showcase his authenticity? How about football? They didn’t do the standard Q and A some shows do (lazy). They researched Jimmie to find an angle for the content break that would compliment the “real” of their show. Here comes Jimmie Allen, a singer few in their audience really know because Jimmie is new and on the ascent, with his predictions for that week’s NFL match-ups. That Brian and Chrissy also like the sport and chose their favorite teams, the break radiated fun because everyone was emotionally involved.
How do you take a relatable as simple as wondering if people with low cell phone batteries are bothered with not having a full charge and turn it into bolder content? Mark and NeanderPaul, KSLX Phoenix show you with this week’s audio. On a show call recently, Mark bemoaned that every time he looked at his wife’s cell phone, her battery was dangerously low. That’s a simple enough character story to tell on the air and leave as-is or use as a phone topic. But the show decided to add other elements to the content to elevate it. Mark talked with three listeners at a station promotion and asked their names, what they did, and the current status of their cell phone charge (element #1). Then he used that audio and asked NeanderPaul to guess what their battery level was, knowing that he would be funny with it (element #2). They turned what could have been a standard break or phone topic into a game listeners vicariously played along with in the car. Add elements like these on occasion to your breaks to present them differently to your audience so your content stays fresh and different for fans.
We have seen an increased emphasis on local content with Covid affecting every community. Here’s where live and local shines. Be the most engaging and entertaining local show and that’s the ultimate combination in any marketplace. Will the October State Fair take place in North Carolina? That’s been one of the big questions the locals have wondered for the last month in Raleigh. It’s an iconic event that all look forward to. On the run-up to the decision, Kyle, Bryan, and Sarah, WRAL-FM, Raleigh have kept a watch and groomed a relationship with the larger-than-life state Ag Commissioner, Steve Troxler, the guy making the decision. He’s a Dr. Phil-soundalike and colorful character. Once canceled, they had Troxler on their show to explore the decision and have some fun. Find colorful local characters that live all around you and figure out how to get them on your program. Live and local means much less when it isn’t fun. This scores on both accounts and separates this show from all the generic shows around it, doing content given to them by a prep service.
The most entertaining guests on the show sometimes live on the fringe. When they are family of cast members, they also provide character development. Letterman taught us the importance of finding the colorful people around the show and figure out how to get them on so their oddities can capture the audience’s attention. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego have some very fun family members. John’s daughter, Abby, just became a a vegan. This lifestyle is distant from the typical country partisan. So, John decided to interview his daughter to find out what that was like, and, loaded up with things to say, Abby judged the audience and created both fun and character development for her father in the process. Bottom line: look for the fun, odd people around you and introduce them to the audience to create some electric content. Here’s the break to hear how it’s done.
Often in personality radio, we don’t believe we can get the guest at the center of the story. So, we end up not trying as a default from this belief and put full weight on the cast to deliver the goods. Compare doing the break this way, and then imagine a deeper, fuller conversation with the person who can more authentically talk to your topic because they are its focus. Southwest Airlines is based on Dallas, as you probably know. What changes is that airline making with Covid-19? A fair question considering they are one of the country’s major airlines, they have a hub in the market, and many listeners will be using them for summer vacations. Instead of a break of speculation or reading about it online, Hawkeye in the Morning with Katelyn, KSCS, Dallas, put in for an interview with Southwest CEO, Gary Kelly. The effort was low for a big payoff, because Gary said yes. Hear this break, then imagine its opposite – the team just talking about it – and ask yourself: which is a better break to engage listeners, create talk, and is more memorable?