Steal These Bits from Morning Show Boot Camp

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Their latest email includes a list of “Take-Aways from Morning Show Boot Camp.” I bet you’ll find at least a couple of ideas that fit your show.


Take-Aways from Morning Show Boot Camp
By Jeff McHugh

This article and the others in this newsletter were actually “written” by the participants at Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago.

Randy and I heard so many great content ideas that we struggled to write every one down, so if we mention your idea and did not credit you, please forgive us!

At Battle of the Bits, everyone in the hall was encouraged to share their best on-air topics and segment ideas for a chance to win prizes. Here were some of the winners and some of the most compelling ideas.

DID I TAP THAT? – KDWB Minneapolis host Dave Ryan once did a regular segment where he and his co-hosts described situations from their single life and contestants had to guess if it resulted in intimacy. Example: Years ago, Dave gave away concert tickets on-air to a woman with an alluring voice and he offered to deliver them to her in person. He arrived at her home and let’s just say the voice and in-person did not match. Did he tap that? (Answer: yes, he did.)

HOAX CALL ALERT – An on-air host from London works with local fire departments to acquire recordings of the many hoax calls that they receive. They play the calls on the air and listeners help identify the prank callers so they can be brought to justice.

MAKE UP MESSENGER – Let’s say that that a guy leaves the toilet seat up and his girlfriend sits down in the middle of the night and falls in. The on-air host will call the woman on the air and sing a made-up make-up song to the girlfriend on-air as an apology.

NICOLE’S TERRIBLE IMPRESSIONS – The stereotype is that women can’t do impressions. So Nicole of the Andy and Nicole Show of WMEE Ft. Wayne prove the stereotype by having Nicole do impressions of people like Bill Clinton and Jerry Seinfeld and listeners win prizes by guessing who she is doing. The secret is that Nicole is truly, hilariously terrible at impressions and we can verify this because she did some at MSBC.

CELLPHONE BLOCK – Spencer Graves at WSTW Spencer hosts a contest where caller number fifteen qualifies for a prize. But to win, they must hang up and get back through on the phone within the next 15 callers again. Other listeners flood the phones in attempt to foil their win.

ADMIT IT YOU ARE CRAZY – Regular benchmark where the on-air hosts and listeners confess to small obsessions and irrational behavior, including the need to stop the gas pump on the exact dollar amount every time, fear of germs so great that they use BBQ tongs to put dirty clothes in the laundry, and obsessions that two-way light switches must both be in the “off” position before they can rest.

TAKE US WITH YOU ON VACATION – A social media idea; JD Tiny and Chelsea at WIRK West Palm Beach had life-sized cut outs done of themselves and listeners could check them out from the station like library cards. They would take the cut-outs on vacation trips with them and post pictures on social media. The best photo would win a great grand prize. When Tiny’s cut-out was in San Francisco, the listeners’ hotel room was broken into and the police were called. SWAT responders with guns drawn nearly shot Tiny’s cut-out when they entered the room.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO BEFORE SUMMER ENDS – The Jim and Jeane Morning Show at WIL St Louis records school children giving their bucket lists for what they need to accomplish before going back to school. Hearing top priorities from little ones is thoroughly entertaining.

GROSS PREGNANCY CRAVINGS – Gene and Julie at WRAL Raleigh hear from pregnant women reporting on their strongest, most disgusting food cravings. They list all the items on slips of paper, draw food item one from a hat each morning, and eat it.

CAST FOR CONCERT – Also from Gene and Julie, a contest to win concert tickets where the grand prize winner has to get a cast on their arm and collect signatures from local celebrities, including television anchors, politicians and even competing radio personalities. They cut the cast off on-the air at the end of the week.

HEAVY ACCENT CHRISTMAS CHOIR – One more from Gene and Julie: tell the audience that you are looking for people with foreign accents so heavy that English-speakers have trouble understanding them. Gene and Julie will collect a sizable group of those people into a choir and sing “Jingle Bells.” They say that heavily accented people come out of the woodwork to participate.

PERISCOPE DVR MAP – Larry Wachs reports that entertaining random interviews are easy to find by using the map feature on Periscope to find weird guests for the show. According to Larry, the app is full of “a lot of people smoking pot and playing with guns”

BARTENDER MONDAY – Geena The Latina on Channel 93.3 found herself in conversation with a San Diego bartender one weekend and before she knew it, she was sharing her life’s story and crying. That experience led her to invite a bartender on the air every Monday to review “what happened at the bar this weekend.” The stories and confessions are consistently good content.

96 DAYS OF RANDOM KINDNESS – Scotty K and Riley at Power 96 Atlanta perform a single random act of kindness each day for 96 days. Things like paying power bills for indigent listeners, painting churches, allowing a four-year-old to take over the on-air show.

DAUGHTER GIVE AWAY – BJ Shea is fortunate to have both his son and daughter working with him on the KISW morning show in Seattle. The show gave away a date with BJ’s daughter Sara, and it came down to a date with a man, a woman or a “furry” (a person into dressing as a stuffed animal.) Sara chose the man.

ANYONE FOUND A BODY PART? – Michelle McCormick at WLAV Grand Rapids told a story about someone she knew who found a human head behind a service station. When she asked the audience if anyone else had ever found a random body part, the phones went crazy.

WHY ARE THEY CRYING? – Woody from Alt 98.7 Los Angeles records the sound of children crying, whether they are from his own family or out at restaurants. He inquires about the reason behind the crying, and the reasons given by kids are usually ridiculous. Woody then plays the crying on the air and gives contestants A-B-C choices to guess at – and he reports that mothers are especially adept at hearing the reason in the sound of the cry.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – Before joining WPLJ New York, Jayde Donovan would send promotions people from a previous station down to the jail on Mondays with cigarettes and bus fare and they would give it to people willing to explain anonymously on tape what they did that got them in jail.

STABBED AND SURVIVED – Also from Jayde Donovan; a news story about a stabbing led Jayde to ask what it feels like to get stabbed, and she was surprised when the phones lit like Christmas trees. Another day, she discussed a news story about a person who was hit by a train and survived, asked if anyone else had a story – same result.

UNSCRAMBING STELLA – Jayde has her young daughter sing her favorite songs and listeners have to guess what the song is. The audio is entertaining, but the game is more difficult than it sounds.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB AND WHAT DO YOU MAKE? – Ask listeners to come on air anonymously, describe their job and list their actual salary. Listeners will be enthralled to hear that sanitation engineers sometimes make more than PhDs.

CALL IN SICK TO A PLACE YOU DON’T WORK – Call in to a large retailer or workplace with a generic, fake name like Tim or John, tell them you won’t be in to work that day and make up outlandish reasons for the absence.