Normally, these tips are just to help air talent get better. But it’s getting difficult for people to improve quickly when they only get to talk every third song or so. So if you’re a PD, maybe this is something to consider: Your Imaging is boring people to death.
“The Greatest Hits from the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries…on KBRP 99…”
1. No one cares.
2. You just missed an opportunity to have an actual human being who works on the air CONNECT with the listener. It’s amazing what just a simple song intro can do, if the jock is “in the pocket” matching the pace and/or emotional vibe of the song. Plus, maybe he or she could say something meaningful in that time, instead of hearing more carvings from the blarney stone every other song (or even more often, in some dayparts).
“But we want to get the brand out there…”
It is. To the point of exhaustion. Plus, unless your brand is tied to a Reality – a person who sounds like somebody I’d like to know, visiting with me in the car – it’s just another commercial for you. (This is one of the factors in why people say radio plays too many commercials.)
First, try to make your Imaging brief, and fresh-sounding. But then the next step is to let the talent talk more frequently, and push them to do something worth listening to when they do. That’s how great staffs are built.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.
If you and I made a list of things that make a radio station ordinary we’d likely come up with the same list.
That’s the thing about ordinary. There is no surprise. There is no delight.
Consistency is good.
Predict abil ity is not.
Consistency allows fulfilling expectations, delivering on promises, being dependable.
Predictability does things the same way, defaults to monotonous patterns, and ignores the transformative power of creativity.
“While a speaker… arranges his words into understandable sentences, the listener … anticipates and discounts the predictable.” Roy Williams
Predictable is why we no longer see a billboard we’ve passed for weeks. It’s the reason our mind starts to wander when Uncle Virgil tells the same story over and over. It’s the reason ordinary radio stations can’t capture our attention, much less our hearts.
Every time I hear an air talent talk to a “plurality” with words like “folks,” “ladies,” “all of you” (or “some of you”), etc. I want to call them up and do a coaching session right NOW on why this is ineffective.
Maybe you can best understand it through Bob Dylan’s acceptance speech when he received the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. In part, he said, “As a performer, I’ve played for 50,000 people and I’ve played for 50 people, and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona; not so with 50. (With fifty) they can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried.” He added, “The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.”
The smaller the target, the more clear the perception, the more you can reveal. “Hello, Cleveland” doesn’t address anyone in particular.
When I worked at a female-targeted station, I just talked to my wife. When I worked a male-targeted station, I talked to my cousin Ricky, who was like a brother to me.
Put a picture of someone who personifies your target listener in the Control Room where you can’t miss it – like taping it to a chair in front of you.
Did you see it too?
Hundreds of millionaire professionals willingly gave up a tool of their trade and replaced it will something that on any other day, in any other circumstance, would subject them to ridicule and harassment from their co-workers.
They wore pink.
Sunday was a special Mother’s Day at ballparks across the country as Major League Baseball joined forces to raise money for breast cancer research. The players demonstrated their support by wearing pink wrist bands and using pink bats. Some wore pink batting helmets and pink caps.
Think about this… if someone had tried to convince Major League ballplayers to wear pink just for the sake of wearing pink… it would have never happened.
The other day, during a session, we were talking about what to do for Mother’s Day. I mentioned having my mother do my show one Mother’s Day years ago, and the talent I was working with said, “I could bring my daughter on with me… which she would hate.”
I replied, “And that – her being resistant to it – would be something EVERY listener could identify with.”
Continuing, I suggested that she act out – complete with sound effects – her dragging her daughter into the room. Like… with a chain, scraping across the floor. Dripping with reluctance.
So here’s the lesson: Don’t be afraid to make things theatrical. The more you create that “theater of the mind” thing, where the listener can PICTURE it, the better.
Unlike real life, JUMP INTO THE POOL.
DON’T look to see if there’s any water in it first.
Because all people are going to remember is that you jumped.
Note: My friend Ron Chapman, legendary Dallas morning man, once jumped out of an airplane on the air. THAT was GREAT radio.
Do you want your radio station to grow? Do you want new listeners, new fans, new donors?
To grow means that we reach new people. Yet we play music they’ve never heard. Are we sending mixed signals?
Because of a recent conversation with my partner and friend John Frost, maybe it’s a good idea to talk about why coaching is so essential to an air talent’s growth.
When I first set out on this path more than 20 years ago, I had only heard of two people that specifically worked on coaching talent – Valerie Geller and Randy Lane. Each of them has credentials a mile long, and I’ve learned things from each of them. Valerie is the Great Guru of Talk radio, with clients all over the world, and – among others – Rush Limbaugh as one of her first projects. Randy is a master psychologist, with a gentle touch and a large dollop of personal magnetism.
The great ones make it look so easy.
While watching the recent Masters tournament my wife turned to me and said, “He looks like you.” She’s trying to give my golf game some much needed inspiration by pointing out the resemblance between Tiger Woods’ golf swing and mine. Yeah, right!
In the last tip, I referred to basketball coaching legend John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” – something you should read, if you haven’t already done so.
Here’s another prime tenet of his teaching: Team Spirit. About that, he says “The star of the team is the team. ‘We’ supercedes ‘me.'”
So ask yourself this: When’s the last time you even MENTIONED someone else on your station? And even if you did, did you offer any real insight as to why I should listen?
I arrived at Easter Sunday church during a torrential Florida downpour. Streets were flooding and the church parking lot looked like it could host a water ski tournament.
As I jumped out of my car and headed for the church building I was greeted by a friendly young man in rain gear carrying an umbrella. He greeted me with a paradoxical sunny disposition and walked me from my car to the covered walk way. He then ran off to greet the next apprehensive still-dry visitor.