Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #288 – What a fan fight at a football game has to do with you

On Sunday, December 2nd, 2018, two fans got into a fight in the stands of a Pittsburgh Steelers game.  One guy said something.  The guy he said it to tellingly removed his cap, then head-butted the first guy.  Guy #1’s girlfriend and several other fans got involved.

Not exactly untypical, but as I read about it (and watched the video), something the writer of the article, Jay Busbee said, really caught my attention:

“This is why nobody brings kids to football games anymore, and why nobody under the age of 40 spends any time on Facebook.  They know enough not to get caught up in whatever messes the ‘olds’ are creating.”

The “olds?”  Wow.

Now whether you agree with the Facebook statement or not, it’s still something to consider.  I’ve been coaching people on how TO use – and now NOT to use – Facebook postings for years.  The gist of it is that if a comment is relevant to something top of mind TODAY, you might want to use it, but random postings are virtually useless, because Relevance is King when it comes to Content.

I’m not saying your listeners don’t still use Facebook, but we should always be looking at the next big thing.  Because habitually when radio does that, they find out that it’s already here.

Frost Advisory #435 – My GPS Is Broken!

“My GPS is broken,” my friend Mike said to me.  “It only tells me where I’ve been, not where I’m going.”

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

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 no talk segues to sound 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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Frost Advisory #434 – We Become What We Focus On

“It is what you make it,” was my dad’s advice at various milestones in my life.

There was a time in my career when I considered a radio station no more than the sum total of the things that it did; the deejays, the music, the jingles, the contests.  Like a sport being nothing more than the players, the uniforms, the goal posts or bases.

If that were true, then places like Cooperstown, New York, or Canton, Ohio, wouldn’t be shrines since they are not even home to the big league players and teams they eulogize.

It’s hard to remember how we thought about coffee before Starbucks, or personal computers and digital devices before Apple.  What they focused on changed the way we think of them.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #286 – Leave Half of it Out

Okay, you’ve got a story you want to tell.  Great.  Tell me the story… but leave half of it out.

Yes, I’m serious.  Too much detail, unneeded side roads, too many words to express a thought, too much setup, more than one “punch line,” or “backing and filling” because you’re not very well-organized… those things make even the best story incredibly tedious, and not worth the Listener’s time.

To be a great talent, you have to develop discipline and get concise.  Great storytellers hold people every step of the way, from beginning to end.  And remember, you’re not paid by the word; you’re paid by the Connection.

(Yes, I’m sure there’s an exception you can think of, some show in your city that gets away with doling out overly long drivel and has high ratings in spite of it.  But that’s not the norm, and their time is coming to an end.  The world is getting used to 140 characters being all they have time to read.  Listening habits will eventually reflect that, too.)

Frost Advisory #433 – Encourage Me And I Will Not Forget You

This week’s Frost Advisory is a departure from my regular thoughts on how to make your radio station really swell.  Instead I’d like to take this moment during Thanksgiving week to encourage you in the important work you’re doing at your station.

I’m told that the word “encouragement” means literally to pour courage into.  This word appears over 100 times in the New Testament.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #285 – The Brain, The Heart, or Both

Let’s make this one really simple:

With your Content, you can engage the brain, or you can engage the heart… or you can engage both.  What you SHOULDN’T do is only engage the brain.  That’s boring.

If you need help with this, get some coaching, do an aircheck session with your PD, or maybe swap ideas with some of the other people on the station.  Because if you don’t understand how to do it… and do it well… you’re going to save a lot of time by NOT thinking that it’ll somehow just magically “come to you.”

It’s like that scene in “The Odd Couple” when the slob, Oscar Madison, tells his finicky roommate Felix Unger that he thought gravy just “came with the meat.”  As Felix said, “No, it doesn’t.  You have to MAKE it.”  Sometimes we need help to make it.

Frost Advisory #432 – I Demand A Recount

As I write this week’s Frost Advisory the recount is still going on in Florida where I live.  Well, we have to be famous for something other than alligators, octogenerians, and college football.

We’re less bad than the other guys.

In the last presidential election I heard “Haven’t we taken this ‘anyone can grow up and be president thing too far?'”  Both major candidates had the lowest favorability ratings in history.

“I don’t like either one,” was a common refrain, “so I’m not going to vote.”

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #284 – The Barbecue Test

One of the biggest challenges these days (as always) is Content.

There are lots of questions that help you put it together – Is this top of mind?  Does the listener actually care about it?  Do you have anything to offer on this subject that’s unique, and not just what everyone else will do?  Where are you going with it?  Is there a chance that it could lead to listener feedback, or is just a one-off thing? … etc.

But these leave out what I consider to be the most logical question to ask yourself:  Is this something you’d say at a barbecue to a person you just met?

If not, why are you saying it?

This will not only quickly cut to the chase as to whether it’s valid Content or not, it will also (hopefully) shape the LANGUAGE that you use, how you get to it, how you edit it, and most importantly, keep you from sounding like a disc jockey and more like a real person.

No one is enjoying hearing people read crap off a computer screen or someone’s stupid Facebook post on the air.  Dig deeper if you want to be great.