Feature: The Phone Jibba

Feature: The Phone Jibba

by Tracy Johnson

If a radio show can be known for just one thing, what would you choose? It’s a pretty easy answer. Research proves making listeners laugh is the most valuable attribute of all characteristics on the air. But being truly funny is easier said than done. Fortunately, here’s a solution that works for just about all radio shows: The Phone Jibba.

Brooke and Jubal build a franchise on prank calls. Jubal’s Phone Taps are hilarious, and drove the show from #10 to #1 as a local show in Seattle, then in syndication.

The phone jibba is a prank call feature. Prank calls and features about relationships are the most popular on the radio. But weak or inconsistent prank calls are dangerous.

And that’s usually the problem. Most prank calls are either not funny or mildly humorous. Or, they may be funny but not have a compelling story to lead listeners through the feature. And they’re hard to do well. That’s why even personalities who are good at prank calls often just do them once a week. But that doesn’t work.

Daily Prank Calls

To be successful, a prank call feature needs to be on every single day, and that’s a grind. Doing it once (or even twice) a week won’t get it done. Coming up with ideas each day, creating a truly funny prank call and delivering a consistent feature day after day is hard.

Most stations slam into a creative wall. One of my client stations was competing with a new upstart morning show. They sounded good, but were far behind our station. Research showed that their show was growing, but all of the progress was because of their prank call feature. It wasn’t just their most popular segment. It was the single most popular feature in the entire market.

Suddenly, to our surprise, they stopped doing it. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. Why would they take off the one thing that was keeping us up at night? We later learned it was because they simply ran out of ideas after a couple of months. They couldn’t keep it going.

What’s a Phone Jibba?

The Phone Jibba is a feature created by Rick Morton, host of the top-rated morning show Morton In the Morning on Z90/San Diego.

The feature has been the primary driving force behind the show’s success. You’re probably wondering about the name: What’s a Jibba?

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It’s simply a made-up name that catches on very quickly. Morton explains: 

The Phone Jibba is a wildly successful feature. Here’s an example of what a few episodes sound like on the air:

The Jibba works for Morton because of several key factors:

  • It’s truly funny. Every day. Each episode is creative and laugh-out-loud funny.
  • Each storyline has several layers. The story builds through several phases, and always ends on a high point.
  • It’s good natured. Many phone prank features come off as confrontational, mean-spirited or leaving the person being pranked feeling like a victim. These calls never do.

It’s not easy creating a daily, high profile and truly funny feature. It takes a lot of time to create the finished product. But it’s worth it.

Phone Jibba On WDVD

Here’s a terrific example of how it can sound on the air with the Blaine Fowler Morning Show on WDVD/Detroit.

Notice how the show creatively uses the promo (provided for each episode) as a horizontal tease for the next day. Brilliant execution.

Get The Feature

Here’s the great news for you. The Phone Jibba can be on your show. It’s now available in syndication on a market exclusive basis. Each weekday, you get several options to fit the show:

  1. A fully produced, ready-to-air version. Just intro it and push play! It includes personalities laughing in the background to add some ambiance.
  2. A “no laugh” version of the above, in which your show can be the “studio audience”.
  3. The Brown Bag version. You get the “victim” responses and a script so your own personalities can be “making the call”.
  4. A short, 30-40 second version to be used as a tease or promo.

The Phone Jibba is a feature that could become the One Thing you become known for. This is a great way to add a daily funny element to your show. It works for multiple personality shows, and can be a terrific addition if you’re a solo show.

The Phone Jibba is market exclusive and available for a low cash agreement or by barter. You can get details, hear samples and download sample episodes to use on the air  here.

Which Version is Best?

There are pros and cons of using the fully produced and recorded version. First, it’s easy. Second, it’s self contained. And third, adding Rick as a cast member creates another personality with a specific role on the show. But if you want to use your own personalities, the Brown Bag version works well.

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The Brown Bag version is a non-hosted recording. Just insert personalities and they become the prank callers.

Affiliates get a full script and the audio track of the “victim” response.

This provides a new option for shows that love the feature but want their own voices on it. It’s also a terrific resource if airing a local prank call feature but could use help with ideas and respondents.

Here’s the hosted version of one of the episodes, with Rick pranking the victim: 


And here’s the no-host version of same episode.

To hear more examples and download a full week of episodes, click here.


Syndicated features are a great way to add personality to a radio show, and this is one of the best I’ve ever heard. If your station wants to grow an image for being funny, this is a great way to get a head start. If it’s available in your market, try to get on it as soon as you can.

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