Tommy Kramer Tip #233 – What Did I Learn About You Today, and Why Does it Matter?

Here’s part of a post-Halloween coaching session recap with a morning team I work with in Austin, Texas…

Steve and Amy,

Well, look at what we learned about you in Tuesday’s show…

You’re aware of what’s going on, and you have hearts (coverage of the New York City tragedy).

Amy has managed to rationalize not wanting to go out in the cold to ‘Trick or Treat’ with her kids as THEIR decision. (And Steve called her on it.)

Steve’s son considers “Mr. Blue” – a character that is apparently only about wearing blue clothing – to an acceptable Trick or Treat costume. (But he ended up wearing a Coke bottle costume instead. Not really sure if that’s better.)

Yes, Houston’s being in the World Series is great for the morale of the city, etc. — but to Amy, it’s all about a stolen base meaning she gets a free taco.

This is what engaging shows are made of.

Every person on the air should ask himself/herself two questions:

What did the listener learn about me today?
And why does it matter?

If you just did a show where I didn’t learn anything about you, it was a wasted opportunity. And it matters because if I don’t learn about you, we’re not friends. It’s about the common ground between you and me. If we don’t have any, there’s no real point in listening to you.

I can put every song you play into my iPhone. I have the Weather Channel app. News is everywhere, at the push of a button. And my car has built-in navigation with turn-by-turn instructions.
Yes, the music, News, Weather, and Traffic are part of a good station. But that isn’t enough. However, YOU…ARE…enough – if you REVEAL. The broadcast world is full of nameless, personality-less voices. No one remembers who they are.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #388 – A Programming Lesson From Mike And Mike

What were you doing 18 years ago?

You weren’t on Facebook because Mark Zuckerberg was only 15 years old.  You could have been watching The Simpsons, Beverly Hills 90210, or The X-Files on your non-HD TV.

18 years ago Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic began their first morning sports show on ESPN from the backyard of one of their houses.  And Friday was their last.

“Through all of it we have sat here, we have done our best and tried to make people a little bit less miserable in their mornings,” Mike Greenberg said during the last segment.  “If we have succeeded in that, then we accomplished everything we needed to.”

Celebrity goodbyes ranged from Tiger Woods to Bill Clinton, Dick Vitale to Jack Nicklaus.  None of them spoke of Mike and Mike’s expertise of analysis, their understanding of the underpinnings of the sports they covered.  No; excellence is always assumed.  Instead they trumpeted their friendship and camaraderie, their sense of humor, and the shared experience of starting the morning with friends.

#MMSayThanks on Twitter had thousands thanking them for their 18 years, but Mike and Mike immediately turned that around to convey their thanks to their fans and co-workers.

What if this Friday was your last show?

Would your switchboard light up with people thanking you for your jingles and sweepers?   Would Twitter be full of fans talking about your 30 minute music sweeps and “This Day in History” feature?

Here’s my challenge…

What if this Friday was your last show?  

What would you cull from the archives that demonstrates the impact and purpose of your show?  If you can’t think of moments significant enough to immortalize, you may have some work to do.

But here’s the good news.

You can start creating moments on Monday that are worth remembering on Friday.

Tommy Kramer Tip #232 – The Main Ingredient

In August of 1972, a group named The Main Ingredient released a hit single called “Everybody Plays the Fool.”  (The lead singer, by the way, was Cuba Gooding, Sr. – yes, the actor’s father.)

None of that has anything to do with this week’s tip.

Last time, we talked about really starting to gain understanding and control of your inflection, so you lose the “disc jockey” sound and simply become the one voice in the room people just want to listen to.

Here’s another step.

What all great air talents and great voice actors have in common is that they’re INTERESTING.

If you’re still early in your career and aren’t being offered the opportunities you want, it’s not going to get better if you just work on your voice.  You have to make yourself the best CANDIDATE for the job.

In radio, or in the voice acting arena, the most successful and longest-running careers inevitably go to the voices that we find the most intriguing.  The ear finds them like it finds a catchy tune.  And just like in the musical world, there’s no one sound that’s the standard.

Instead of working on vocal gyrations, work on being INTERESTING.  That’s how careers are made.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #387 – The Next Voice You Hear

Long before Star Wars and Star Trek, my Wonder Years generation grew up watching black and white sci-fi shows such as The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, and movies about aliens landing in your very back yard (“The Day the Earth Stood Still“).

Klaatu barada nikto was a hashtag before there were hashtags!

One of my odd little favorites was a flick called “The Next Voice You Hear…” with James Whitmore and Nancy Davis, who later became the more famous First Lady Nancy Reagan.  The plot revolved what would happen if God’s voice spoke to us over the radio.  I reckon’ that’s the ultimate FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Are there things on your station for which listeners fear missing out?  Do they have eager anticipation that the next voice they hear may say something fascinating and worthy of talking about?

That anticipation doesn’t just begin when something comes out of the speakers.

It’s been said that the sermon begins in the parking lot.

“It doesn’t begin INSIDE the church.  It is a simple wave from the parking lot attendant.  It is a hello from the coffee servers.  A greeting from an usher… Everybody waves, but it’s what happens after you wave that matters.”

The best stations create a sense that something meaningful is about to happen.

How would your station be transformed if you really, really, really believed that God’s voice was the next voice they heard?   I reckon’ you’d at least have your station playing in the hallways.

*Thanks to my friend Tommy Dylan for the inspiration.

Tommy Kramer Tip #231 – The Three-Word Inflection Lesson

There comes a time in every career when you have to stop being a polished reader of words or some sort of veneer, and just become yourself.  That “self” may be a somewhat invented persona like Larry David’s on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” or it may as revealing of who you really are as possible, given the format.

But you need voice acting chops to accomplish this.  Here’s a three-word exercise that’ll help you both on the air and in commercial voiceover work:

Really

Really

Really

You can’t just say this word the same way every time, because it can mean interest (“really?”), surprise (“really!”) or suspicion bordering on dry near-dismissal (“really…”).

Once each of those inflections sounds totally honest, totally NOT contrived or “acted” or “projected” beyond what would be the right way to say it in THAT moment – well, you’ve learned something.

Step 2 is to get someone you trust to tell you the absolute truth, and ask that person to listen to it.  (And no, you might NOT know yet what you sound like to everyone else… until you do.  It takes time.)

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #386 – Things That Matter Most

In my travels I’ve found almost all discussions about programming revolve around things close to us; the music and deejays, the promotions and contests, the clocks and service elements.  While these elements are important to the station’s design, they are not transformative.

Why?

Because those things are all about us.  And the closer things are to us the more important they seem.  To us.

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Tommy Kramer Tip #230 – Literally Putting A Different Twist On The News

You hear this every day, if you listen long enough: The same stories, with almost, or nearly almost the exact same wording every newscast. This is a quick way to not stand out at all.

One of radio’s greatest pioneers, Gordon McLendon, even though he primarily did Top 40 (which he and Kansas City’s Todd Storz INVENTED), was known for hiring and training incredibly talented News staffs.  I had the great pleasure of working with two of them, at KNUS in Dallas (which helped change the landscape of FM radio in the early seventies) and KILT, longtime Top 40 giant in Houston.

Both news staffs were incredible – chock full of amazing writers with riveting deliveries, every bit as much “personalities” as the disc jockeys were.  And each of them learned on Day One the McLendon Rule: Rewrite every story for every newscast.

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