Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #305 – The Modified Q Format

This is what I hear a lot of the time nowadays: A jock stops down in the middle of two songs for no apparent reason.  Then he or she reads some idiotic story from the internet that most people saw five days ago, adding a C-minus punch line.  (Or the jock does some piece of trivia, or some “cheerful thought for the day”.)  Then they lurch forward into another song.

But back in the day, when radio had tons of forward momentum and much bigger ratings, there was this thing called the “Q” format.  It was somewhat the same as the Drake format, in that jocks talked over song intros (and at the end of a music sweep, the jock talked at the end of the last song, of course, and did some Content into a commercial break).  But the Q format was often thought of as screaming, hundred-mile-an-hour jocks cramming as much as they could into an intro before the vocal hit.

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Frost Advisory #452 – I Don’t Care About Your Mom

“I don’t care about your mom” may initially sound rather harsh, but… it’s true. Here is the redeeming part. I may not care about your mom, but I care about OUR moms. We care about the common experience.

“People will be more interested in your home movies if they are in them.”

Roy Williams

Just last week I was involved in a project where we asked loyal listeners about a certain radio station. Funny though, they didn’t talk about the features and attributes of the station they way we radio types do… they talked about themselves; their struggles, their kids, their responsibilities, their stress, their environment, their values. The radio station was only referenced in the way it intersected with their lives, if it added value to their lives.

In other words…

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #304 – How Stories Work

Telling a story is like being on a see-saw.  On one end is that you want to share something.  On the other end is not wasting the listener’s time.

Here are some rules to help you NOT be the person who takes a long time to tell a story that doesn’t matter:

The first line or two will be what “tethers” your subject matter to the listener – or not.  Start abruptly into something that isn’t timely or relevant to the listener, and you’re dead in the water already.  Spend too long getting into it, again… dead.

Add only the essential details, and let vocabulary and attitude, fueled by Emotions, fill it out.  More facts than we need, names we don’t know, too much setting up who someone is, etc. will kill the story.

End with something we DIDN’T hear earlier in the story.  The ending should surprise, delight, or inform.  Try not to use cornball punch lines.  The “that’s what SHE said” type of line is beaten to death.

Here’s an example, from a team show I worked with:

T: Oh, check your mail today.  You may get the coupon that I got yesterday.  It was for a new product, called “Spam lite.”

B: What do they leave out… to make Spam lite?

T: I don’t know… the snout?

That’s how easy it is, and how little time it takes, to serve up something that the listener will REMEMBER.  (On the air, even with the station’s name, artist, song title, and the team’s name leading off the break, this took only about 20 seconds.  But it’s never really about length.  It’s about IMPACT.)