by Tracy Johnson
The KIIS FM/Sydney Australia morning show of Kyle & Jackie O is one of a kind. Frankly, they have it all, from amazing, emotional moments on the air to outrageous provocative stunts. They’re not just the best show in Australia. They may be the best radio show in the world.
Best radio show in the world? That’s a strong statement, and it deserves to be supported.
Here are 10 reasons to love and admire this duo. Unfortunately, some of the video clips are only available to be viewed in Australia. Hey, Kyle & Jackie O: Get this fixed to share your brilliance with the rest of the world!
For the rest of us, you can get around the restrictions if you have a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Just adjust your settings to Australia. It’s worth it to see these videos.
As you’ll see, Kyle and Jackie O are outrageous, provocative and bold. Some call them over-the-top. And they generate complaints regularly. That’s okay. They’re definitely not stuck in the dreaded zone of mediocrity.
How do they get away with being so provocative? It’s because their personality isn’t one-dimensional.
There are many layers, and much of the reason they are loved by so many fans is how they show their heart. One of their benchmark features is called Kyle & Jackie O Give Back. In this example, the team is reduced to tears after gifting Rhys, a terminally ill 21-year-old, with a dream holiday to New Zealand.
Outrageous stunting is one thing. Building a story into a stunt is the next level of performance, and this show knows how to tell a story.
One of their recurring features is Naked Dating. The concept is simple: two single people come into the radio studio, get naked in front of one another and the show sits back and see if the two like what they see.
The show does a terrific job turning this mostly visual stunt into an audio event with masterful storytelling skills.
A keys to making stunts work, particularly in this generation, is the ability to tell the story effectively.
Watch this Naked Dating segment and you can see and hear how the contestants got on well … very well.
Interviews and guests on the air can be exciting, or deadly. The difference is whether the talent is able to insert themselves into the story.
This demand thought, preparation and creativity. For this show, it happens with an intense focus on making people talk about them.
When Kyle and Jackie were able to get an exclusive radio interview with Usain Bolt, they found a way to excite the audience.The best way to welcome their overseas guest? By giving out his personal mobile phone number.
Fans were blown away to chat with Usain, and Bolt invited many of them to party with him that night.
Kyle & Jackie take chances. Bold risks that don’t always work out. But when they do, it pays off in a big way.
You can view the clip in full here.
Kyle & Jackie O get a lot of attention, but them most effective method of doing so is by shining the spotlight on the audience,
The show knows how to tell stories that make the audience the main characters. By sharing the spotlight, they connect with the audience in a personal, emotional way.
And the light reflects brightly on Kyle & Jackie O.
One of their most-loved segments is a prank call feature called Only Lying. Listeners prank their friends and family on the phone. If they pull it off, the show gives them $1,000.
This is exactly what happened with this call where one sister called the other, pretending that an expensive Gucci handbag had been ruined.
The video of this episode got over one million views on Facebook
In another example of how to use guests to entertain the audience, the show gets Charlie Sheen to go off!
It started as a fun and pleasant interview, then turned into an entertaining no-holds-barred roast of Hollywood executives Sheen believes did him wrong. When the opportunity presented itself, they took advantage of it.
Some of the best moments on the air are unexpected. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to wing it and hope. You should still plan in detail. But performance should be loose and “in the moment”.
When the opportunity presents itself, be able to pivot and take advantage of it
This show isn’t just a team of popular radio personalities. They’re multi-media celebrities with a radio show.
Check out all of the social media and video they produce daily. Notice the production value of the videos. It’s studio quality, with multiple camera angles, fast-paced edits and great lighting.
Creating video like this takes time, but it’s not that expensive. And with the right support team, you can turn much of your content into multi-media engagement that leads to more tune in.
Stations Down Under have always promoted well. Their companies invest in their brands. But Kyle & Jackie O take that promotion to another level. It’s not just a matter of having the most cash to give away.
On the air, Kyle and Jackie related that they’ve had always dreamed of dropping tens of thousands of dollars from the sky to listeners below.
So they did.
The show organized a helicopter, a ton of cash and die-hard listeners who ended up walking away a lot richer than when they arrived!
The stunt generated more free media than the cash could have bought. This investment in the personality brand was a worthwhile blend of marketing, promotion and cash give aways that truly paid off.
It’s not just giving away the money. It’s investing in the brand.
You probably notice a consistent thread through these examples. The show knows how to tell a story. In doing so, they apply three of the keys of storytelling:
Drama: They build anticipation and suspense by leading listeners toward the conclusion. In the way they tell stories, you can’t help but wonder what will happen next and how it will end
Details: The show mixes in just enough colorful background and detail to make you care about one or both of the characters in the story. Details in storytelling (the right details) are critical. The wrong details can bog down the break. They know how to turn up the volume in the right way.
Delayed Resolution: This is a show that makes people late to work because they’re sitting in the car to hear the end of the story. They never rush to the end. In fact, sometimes they drag the pay off a little too long. But once the listener is invested in the outcome, they’ll reward you with more quarter-hours to hear how it comes out.
Listen to Give Or Take examples to hear how they increase tension as the ultimate moment approaches. They cause the audience to have a stake in the outcome, and stretch the story across multiple breaks (and days) to increase time spent listening.
Great personalities reveal character with perspective, point of view and being true to who they are. Kyle and Jackie O take a stand, and do so on things that matter to their audience. They pick their moments and make it count by getting in front of the parade.
When Australia voted on legalizing Same Sex Marriage, the show planted their flag by staying on the air for the live announcement. When the “yes” announcement came, they led an on-air celebration, spoke to celebrities and took calls from overjoyed listeners who were celebrating the results.
Watch the highlights here.
Perhaps most important to their long-term, ongoing success, Kyle & Jackie O never settle for “good enough”. They constantly innovate to keep their brand fresh and exciting to their audience.
Stealing a page from Oprah’s playbook, the show surprised their audience by giving a way a car (Hyundai i30) to every caller that made it on the air. In one morning, they gave away 12 cars.
Most broadcasters would consider this a waste of resources. Shouldn’t you spread this over 12 weeks? Or more? Not if you want to get attention. This surprising twist turned a good promotion into an event.
Many personalities reach a certain point in their success path and coast. Not this show. They’re constantly finding new ways to surprise and delight their audience, from the sensitive to the outrageous.
Kyle & Jackie O are an inspiration to us all. Their excellence over a long period of time is remarkable, but their creative application to constantly reinventing themselves is truly remarkable.
If you’re not familiar, check them out and you’ll realize why I consider them the world’s best radio show.’
Thanks to Radio World and Brad March for alerting me to some of Kyle & Jackie O’s best moments.
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