Tommy Kramer Tip #76 – It’s My First Time

I once put up a sign on the Control Room door that said:

“I just got into town. I got into the car, turned the radio on, and hit the ‘scan’ button. It landed on your station. I don’t know what station it is, what the format is, what the dial position is, or who you are. You have thirty seconds.” (Now, PPM is showing that it’s more like TEN seconds.)

I base everything I coach on “first time” listening. If I just tuned in for the first time, can I get what’s going on here? Are you making references to things that I don’t understand, since I’m not a regular listener to the show?

All too often, the Air Talent assumes that the Listener has been there for a few minutes, or that “everyone knows” what he or she is talking about. I call this “The Eminent Danger of the Assumption.”

Reset the stage for the Listener. Don’t assume anything. Remember, I just tuned in.

Think of what was originally called the “Fox Block” – the little box in the corner of the screen when you watch a football game that tells you the teams, the score, the time left on the clock. (It’s now standard on every network.) Radio doesn’t have the visual tool that television does, so we have to do it verbally.

As you listen to an aircheck with your Talent, if you hear the “assumption” mentality, simply stop the audio and ask, “Who is this? What station am I listening to? What’s going on here?” The Talent will get it immediately, and start to police himself. Plus, he’ll start to ask those questions when he hears a competitor, and think that they’re lame for not knowing what he knows. That builds confidence.

Frost Advisory #230 – Your Flight Is Delayed

travelerMy 5:25 flight out of Nashville was delayed until 6:30, according to the e-mail. Okay, I have more time for my meetings and can head out later than expected.

When I arrived at the airport the enormous departure sign in the concourse indicated that my flight was still scheduled for 5:25.

Ouch! I hadn’t planned for that! I had only twenty minutes to make it through security and get to gate C19, the farthest away!

I ran up to the gate only to see the sign “DELAYED”. Bemused by the contradiction and frustrated by the awkward cowboy boot run through the airport, the smiling lady at the Southwest counter responded, “Those signs are run by the airport. They are not coordinated with the gate.”

“But that is the purpose of the signs,” I responded, “to let people know the latest on when their flight departs.”

Ridiculous, I know! The sign didn’t do the very thing it was designed to do, and no one seemed to even mind. But how often does this happen at our radio stations?

I know of a station that wanted to do a daily fishing report, despite the fact that no one tuned to their station for that. The programming element was disconnected from the very purpose of the radio station.

Likely you’ve run across that with the Saturday night teen show, obituaries, radio dramas for children, or just songs that your listeners don’t like all that much.

What is your station designed to do? How is each feature on your station designed to enhance that experience and add value to your brand?

Successful radio stations are built through listener loyalty as demonstrated by more frequent listening occasions*. That happens only when a station consistently fulfills the listeners’ expectations.

Written from seat 26C. With my boots off!

Tommy Kramer Tip #75 – Your 5th Best Thing

Lately, I hear a lot of people doing things on the air that frankly, they’re not very good at. Traffic reporters trying to be personalities”. People trying to tell stories, even though they never seem to have an ending – or sometimes even a decent beginning. Jocks putting their hard-to-understand, marble-mouthed children on the air thinking that it’s “cute”.

It’s easy to think that being good at one thing means that you’re automatically going to be good at other things. But of course that’s not always the case. (Michael Jordan trying to play baseball comes to mind. Not pretty. His Airness became His Waving A Bat At The Air-ness.)

Here’s the way it works in radio, my friend: No one tunes in to hear you do your 5th best thing. Or even your 3rd.

Often, my early work with a talent is simply about shoring up fundamental stuff that may need work, that you may have never learned, or that you were taught wrong. But after that initial stage, I think the next job as a talent coach is to identify your biggest strengths – just one or two things – and then whittle it down to where that’s all you do.

So if you genuinely want to be a great air talent, start by asking yourself these two questions, in this order:

  1. What am I good at?
  2. Really?

Be honest. If you don’t know the answer to those questions – and most people don’t – you need a coach.

Frost Advisory #229 – Why People Love Your Station

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself.” Donald Miller, “Blue Like Jazz”

Think about the things you love.

I first loved the guitar because my high school buddies Kenny and Wally loved the guitar.

I first loved baseball because my dad loved baseball. In fact, when you ask someone how they became a baseball fan they usually respond by talking about someone else.

I love Mexican food because I’m a Texan. It’s the law.

I first came to faith because it was lived out for me by two people I admired most – my mom and dad. I wanted to be like them. In fact, I still do.

Everyone that listens to your station does so because they love something else. So every effort we make to make them love our radio “stuff” misses the point. It’s like trying to convince a baseball fan to love a team because the bases are 90 feet apart.

It’s not about Hercules and the Chicken Fat People’s new CD or concert tour. It’s not about which artist won what award. It’s not about 52 minutes of continuous music, 5 in a row, fewer interruptions, or more this or less that.

mypostseasonTake a walk through ‪#‎Mypostseason‬ on Instagram. You’ll see very few pictures of baseball players, and even fewer of runs, hits, and errors. What you will see are lots of happy people with their friends celebrating and having a splendid ole time at the ballpark, proudly wearing their team’s gear.

People love your radio station because they love something else. When you figure that out, just stand back and watch people begin to love your station.

“We buy what we buy to remind ourselves – and tell the world around us – who we are. We even choose our service providers based on how closely they mirror the way we would run their company. We’re attracted to reflections of ourselves. A salesperson points out this reflection, “That’s you, isn’t it?” and then gives the intellect the facts it needs to justify the purchase. Win the heart and the mind will follow.” Roy Williams