All posts by Tommy Kramer

Tommy has spent over 35 years as an air talent, programmer, operations manager and talent coach - working with over 300 stations in all formats. He publishes the Coaching Tip

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #402: Team Shows are like a Marriage

Anyone who’s done a team show knows that it’s very similar to a marriage. As a matter of fact, I know many air talents who refer to their partner as “my work wife” (or husband).

You spend a lot of time together. (If you don’t, you won’t be very good.)
You’re working toward shared goals.
You want it to last. (Especially now, “movement” isn’t nearly the same as it was 20 years ago. A new job is pretty hard to find when one company owns multiple stations. If you divorce one station, you probably divorce all the stations in that cluster, or maybe even all the stations in that company.)

So, remember this: If you “cheat” on a team show, it may bring on a divorce. Here’s how I define “cheating” in the radio context:
Hold your ego in check. If you don’t, resentment sets in.
If you habitually talk over a partner, resentment sets in.
If you don’t share the credit, resentment sets in.

And remember that nobody goes to a party to hear someone fight with his wife.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #401: TEAM Ego, not Individual Ego

One of the main things I watch out for as a coach is when someone’s ego gets overblown.  Here’s why…

The Beatles squabbled often, and George Harrison and Ringo Starr grew to resent how John Lennon and Paul McCartney were making a LOT more money than they were – when often, George, in particular, contributed lyrics or musical ideas that played a big part in fleshing out a song that John or Paul “wrote.”

Many groups, like U2 for example, learned from this, and simply listed “U2” as the writers of their songs.  Problem solved.

As a team show, or as a radio station. a COLLECTIVE ego, where you have pride as a whole, as a TEAM – but not one person’s ego dominating everything – always works best.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #400: One Story at a Time

You hear a great story.  Then you hear another one.  But the odds are overwhelming that you’ll only remember one of them.

A story can’t set up a story.  That should be TWO breaks.

In Music Radio, the reason for this is usually just a lack of discipline.  Or ego.

The cure: ONE story per break.

In Talk Radio, we often hear the host tell a story, then bring on a guest, who then tells another story.  Or even worse, we often hear the host tell most of the story while introducing the guest, then that person comes on and tells the longer, more detailed, and often more boring version.

The cure: Make it simpler; more compact.  Do a SHORT intro, then just let the guest tell his (or her) story.  Then, INSTEAD of launching into a story of your own (which can come across like you’re trying to “top” the other person), simply REACT to the other person’s story.

This discipline is what I often refer to as “The Barney Fife Method” – meaning, like the deputy on the old Andy Griffith Show, Barney only HAD one bullet.  I constantly tell people “Fire your one bullet.  Then you have to ‘go back to the courthouse’ to get another one.”

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #399: MEAN it

It’s essential that you have some sort of emotional investment in what you’re saying, whether it’s just reading copy, giving an opinion, etc.  In short, you need to sound like you MEAN it.

Yes, it’s a challenge, especially with something you’ve talked about a zillion times on the air, like a station promotion, feature, or contest.

But if you don’t sound like you mean it, no one is going to pay much attention to it.

Here’s a tip: when I go through “copy,” I mentally highlight (or even physically underline) the ONE word in each sentence that I want to stress.  It only takes a few seconds of this prep work to make sure that it “imprints” on the mind of the listener.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #398: Never Underestimate Companionship

There’s so much emphasis put on specific areas of Content. Stories.  Stuff from social media posts, blogs, Pinterest… whatever.  You can become inundated with well-intended thoughts that lead to aimless, largely punch-less stuff on the air.

Don’t forget about why radio succeeded in the first place: Companionship.
It’s still a huge factor.  The morning team that entertains you.  The midday jock that’s always in a good mood and makes you laugh now and then.  The afternoon jock who makes slogging home after work easier.

I coach hundreds of things to make that factor ever-present in not just what you do, but in how you do it – carving out an identity along the way.

Remember: “If I want to spend time with you”… is the listener’s bottom line.