Tommy Kramer Tip #254 – Think With Your Heart

A lot of shows struggle with getting any really viable phone call feedback from listeners. They tap into a subject, maybe offer an opinion, do a solicitation for feedback, give the phone number, then…nothing. Waves of silence. No phone lines lighting up. Or if there is a call, it’s pretty much the same type of call they got last time (often from the same tiny pool of callers) with pretty much the same type of comment they always get. The safe, predictable, no-new-ground-broken feedback loop.

Here’s one way you might be able to change that: think with your heart. Analytical subjects with “left brain” solicitations tend to lie there, flat as a pancake.

But when an EMOTION is at the center of the subject – and especially when you express an emotion instead of just an analytical opinion – people react differently. (Both callers and people who don’t call, but actually start listening more closely.)

This is based on an acting tip. When you focus on the Emotion that the scene is trying to convey, a blown line doesn’t hurt the flow. When you’re married to the words, a blown line causes an awkward pause that the audience can feel.

This is why I often ask “What emotion is this break about?” Because without emotion, there’s very little chance of connection. And CONNECTING with the listener IS the job.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2018 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #409 – Your Listeners Are Not Puppets

Her name was Jane.  She was the first girl I ever asked out on a date.  She said no.

I convinced myself that it was because of the big zit on my forehead.  Or that I wasn’t on the football team.  I found out later it was because she and her family went out of town.

We think we’re pretty important, don’t we?

We think our station fans’ (P1s) behavior is a direct result of our programming tactics.  I’ve heard otherwise reasonable people exclaim that ratings went up because of the new jingles, ratings went down because we didn’t hit the spot breaks within the bow tie, or question our ratings because we didn’t have a specific number of songs on our playlist.

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Tommy Kramer Tip #253 – Your Show as a Demo Tape

Whatever you do well, congratulations on that. I mean that sincerely. The good things that you do each day make a great impression.

Similarly, when you say things more than once (as radio continues to do, trying to beat a thought into the listener’s head), or you do “the moral of the story” obligatory recap at the end of something, or say radio clichés (like “on your Monday morning,” “Hump day”), or do something silly and outdated (like “The Mindbender Question of the Day” or “This Day in History”), those make an impression, too. As my friend and partner Alan Mason says, “Everything counts.”

So, weed the garden regularly. Listen to your own show at least once a week. Add new ideas all the time. Consistency = Good. Predictability = Bad.

Think of your show as a demo tape. Because to the listener, it actually IS.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2018 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #408 – What’s The Bigger Idea?

“What product category are you in?  It’s bigger than you think.”

Seth Godin

We would all be flying Wells Fargo Airlines if they had thought they were in transportation instead of the stage coach business.  Same could be said of many once great companies like Polaroid and Blockbuster.

All too often I find radio stations that see themselves as being in the Christian radio business.  Even the good stations often default to being about Christian music for Christian music fans.
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Tommy Kramer Tip #252 – Hire STARS

Way too often, radio stations settle for hiring B or even C-level air talent, because they think they can’t afford better, or that an A-level talent will be “difficult” or just too expensive.

The reality, of course, is that when you hire a STAR, it changes the whole culture of a station.

Whenever you hire a racehorse, the other horses think “Why am I hitched to this plow?”  Hiring a major league talent serves as a beacon for the other members of the staff, and makes them start trying things that lead to more and more “memorable moments” – and that’s what stations need to reach a new level of performance and establish a “learning and performance” vibe that runs through the hallways, spreads to every other department (particularly Imaging and Production), and infuses the Sales staff and management with a brighter outlook every single day.

Hire stars, or people who can BECOME stars with coaching and direction.  When you settle for less, you’re putting a cap on what you can become.  Plus, when you already have stars on-board, other stars want to come work for you.

Frost Advisory #407 – If People Don’t Want To Listen, No One Is Going To Stop Them

“Off air,” the TV schedule indicated.  “No programming scheduled at this time” the box on the lower left read.  It was 7:30pm.  Prime time I think they call it.

I recently attended a major league baseball game where the concession stands on the third base side were all closed.  If you wanted to give them your money there was no one there to take it, presumably the very reason they were there in the first place.

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Tommy Kramer Tip #251 – Talking To Your Best Friend

Something happens when the mic goes on.  Most people assume a delivery that’s either “giving information” or “making an announcement” or “presenting” something to the listener.

…as if the listener is some distant stranger who has this break arrive like an unwanted, slick, glossy ad for life insurance – for your pet goldfish.

But the great talents all know that no matter how important or significant a thought is, you still want to say it like you’d say it to your best friend, over a cup of coffee, like he or she is just 2 or 3 feet away (not 15).

By trying to sound more “important,” you become less important.  By simply sharing a thought in a normal tone of voice (and normal volume level), you imply that “Hey, we’re buddies. Let me tell you something.”

Frost Advisory #406 – People Listen For A Reason

It’s a question we don’t ask enough.  Why do people tune in?  What expectations do they have?  What need are we meeting?

Or as my friend Mark Ramsey likes to ask, “What are people hiring you for?”

If you don’t know, ask them.  If you think it’s not important enough to research at least put your ear to the ground and listen for the rumblings.  It’s likely that you’ll hear some reoccurring themes.
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Tommy Kramer Tip #250 – One Bad Apple

Chemistry is everything.

In a team show, one person not dedicated to making his or her partner better will ruin the show.  In a solo show, a weak news person, traffic person, or weather person will be a giant flat tire in the mix.  Don’t settle for that.  One bad apple spoils the whole barrel.

Pursue EXCELLENCE.  I’d rather train someone how to do it well than settle for an experienced, but mediocre person who isn’t giving it his or her best effort.

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Frost Advisory #405 – You Can’t Fix Your Own Golf Swing

“I can’t break 100 anymore,” I confessed to a golf professional that sees dozens of my like very day.  “That means,” he responded immediately, “that you’re not striking the ball solidly.”  This guy hadn’t even seen me swing the club and he already diagnosed my problem.

That’s called experience.  He’s seen it before.  He knows what causes it.  He knows how to fix it.

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