Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #319 – The 80% Rule for Big Voices

This happens fairly regularly when I start working with someone who’s been blessed with a “big” voice.

Almost without fail, these guys have been told all their lives what wonderful voices they have, and it’s really hard for a lot of them, especially in smaller markets, to resist “using” that big chamber too much, or in the wrong way, or for the wrong reasons.

Some thoughts to help you:

1. You’ll never be “king of the hill”. There’s always someone with a bigger voice than you.

2. Often, big voices, when they try to sound excited, come across too “over the top” because it’s not the range they’ve worked on the most. It’s easy to slide into the “circus barker” delivery. (Ick.)

3. And almost always, the very lowest register of the Big Voice Guy isn’t very ear-friendly. Yes, a big, powerful voice on a Classic Rock station’s Imaging SEEMS like the way to go, but really…not so much. It’s become more of a cliché – even a cartoon, now. So I tell those guys to AVOID the very lowest they can go.

When you chop off the “not really authentic” top of the range, and then lop off the “fake Morgan Williamson or James Earl Jones” wannabe sound, all you’ve really done is take out the 10% from the top and the 10% from the bottom that makes you sound less real, anyway. That still leaves you with plenty of room in the remaining 80% of your range to do the real work – exploring and LEARNING about your voice…what your real strengths are, how to improve (but not overdo) your inflection, how to just “be the guy who would say that” instead of trying to “impress” someone with how beautiful your so-called “pipes” are. And as I’ve said many times over the years in various tips, you automatically take away two areas of concern that only great big voices have – sounding either tired, or angry.

You can always “go to the well” for effect when you need it, but chances are you never will. The guys with huge voices who learn NOT to “use” them, and just talk, instead, sound much more real and approachable.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #465 – When Life Happens

Delta Airlines has launched a new campaign designed to entice former Medallion members to reclaim their prior status.

“When life puts your travel on hold”

Delta knows that some travelers are more valuable than others. Business travelers account for just over 10% percent of airlines’ passengers, but they are typically twice as profitable.

“We’re always looking for new ways to take care of our customers and that includes injecting even more empathy into travel … Loyalty goes both ways.”

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #318 – Where You NEVER Want to Go

In essence, the air talent’s job is to take us somewhere… a journey, from beginning to end.  One break at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.

As you do, either you leave a mental “imprint” on the listener, or you just go by unnoticed, a mosquito making a noise in the background.

While there have been tons of books written about this, one thought, originally from the great acting coach Stella Adler, and used to perfection by my friend Valerie Geller in the Talk radio world, sums it all up: Never be boring.

Stella Adler put it this way:
“You can’t be boring.  Life is boring.  The weather is boring.  Actors must not be boring.”

There’s an easy way to avoid being boring.  Simply ask yourself this: “What do I have to offer that won’t be ‘typical’?”  Because THAT is what will set you apart from almost everyone else across the dial.

Frost Advisory #464 – The Bill Of Rights (And Responsibilities) For Your Station

The United States of America was born 243 years ago with a Declaration of Independence, and a subsequent Bill of Rights for all citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But as Americans we know that with rights comes responsibility.

The same can be said for your radio station.

Yes, you have the right to play any song you want. But you also have the responsibility of creating passionate fans which begins with a foundation of songs they know and love.

Yes, you have the right to talk about anything you want. But you have the responsibility of connecting with common interests and values, and communicating the bigger idea! That’s how groups become tribes, and tribes become movements.

Yes, you have the right to blabber on as long as you want. But you have the responsibility of communicating effectively, which means being prepared, purposeful, and precise.

Yes, you have the right to be among the lowest rated stations in your market. But you have the responsibility that goes with being the largest church in town. To fulfill that responsibility your station needs a clear purpose, a team of people that are united around it, and the passion and determination to execute the programming and marketing elements that make that purpose a reality.

On this 4th of July weekend, let’s wave our flags, shoot off our fireworks, and sing our patriotic songs…

…but let’s not forget our responsibilities!

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #317 – Storytelling: It’s all about the Ending

“Telling stories” is the mantra nowadays.  And to a degree, that’s good.  But…

The story has to actually be interesting.  And there should be some definable Emotion at its core.

It also shouldn’t be too long.  People are in the car.  They’re not going to stay in the car because your story is so wonderful.  They have things to do, meetings to attend, a job to show up on time for.  And when the drive ends, listening to you ends. Continue reading

Frost Advisory #462 – Are You A Thermometer Or A Thermostat?

The ratings arrive. Our emotions react. There is running up and down the hallways and gnashing of teeth!


I’ve heard some pretty wacky ways that people have reacted to ratings. Moving the deejays’ shifts around, playing music from another format, and implementing formatics that make the station sound less distinctive and more generic.

“I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP,” as Dave Barry would say.

Making programming decisions based solely upon ratings is like driving with a GPS that shows only where you’ve been.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tp #315 – More on the “You Second” Technique

If you want to make contact with the listener instantly, you don’t talk about yourself first.

For some reason, this concept that I’ve been teaching for over twenty years gives people problems.  Because in real life, it’s natural to talk to a friend by starting with yourself (“I saw this movie the other night…”), we assume that this is the way radio conversations should begin.

But that’s not very effective, because (1) often – most of the time, actually – the reaction is “So?  What does that have to do with Me?” And (2) real-life conversations are face-to-face.  Radio isn’t.

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Frost Advisory #461 – The Only Things We Really Know Are Short Term

It’s a thing in my family. We play cards and board games and stuff. Vacations are planned with that fierce evening competition in mind.

The problem with these games is that you only really know what is right before you.

You only know the card that has just been played, or the next move, but NOT what the eventual impact it will have on the outcome of the game.

Programming a station can sometimes feel that way.

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