Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #314 – How to Make Interviews and Phone Calls Not Suck

It’s not exactly a news flash that most recorded interviews and phone calls are pretty much a big yawn.  Here’s why:

Pressed for time, it’s easy to let things slide.  With an artist interview, a lot of people think they’re sacrosanct – you shouldn’t edit them too severely, because the artist is deigning to speak to you from the mountain top.

But of course, the truth is that most musical artists are mediocre to terrible interviews, going through the motions because the label told them they need to do them, and they don’t know anything about radio.

So they speak to “the fans” or “the people out there” or “you guys” – plural terms that, by definition, can’t come across as one-on-one – or they treat the listeners like they’re just faceless members of a teeming throng that’s only there to fawn over them and buy tickets to the show.

Continue reading

Frost Advisory #460 – A Programming Lesson From D-Day!

Something remarkable happened 75 years ago that few find relevant today. Unless you are a history buff. Unless you had a parent or grandparent in the military. Unless your parents got married 9 days after D-Day (which mine did). Unless you were able to see the stories of D-Day through the lens of today.

That is exactly what The Atlantic offered its readers. They took images gathered 70+ years ago at Normandy and photographed the very same locations as they appear today. It’s stunning when you look through the lens of how things look today.

Continue reading

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #313 – Two Ways to be a Talent “Investigator”

In the last tip, I wrote about baseball pitcher David Cone, who said, “I always believed pitchers need to be searchers, mound ‘investigators’ who determine the best pitch to throw, and the best way to throw it.  Then (be able to) do that again and again.”

The first way to become an “investigator” is to get coaching.  But if your Program Director isn’t very good at coaching (and sadly, some aren’t), or the station can’t or won’t spend money to get a qualified Talent Coach, there are still two things you can do on your own:
Continue reading

Frost Advisory #459 – Are You Worth Talking About?

What if one simple change changed everything?

Weight loss. Self confidence.

Attitude. Growing relationships. Dwelling less on negative.


How can we get people to talk about us?

My friend Jim is a Cubs fan. He talks about the Cubs every time we’re together. The Cubs aren’t paying him to do this. In fact, the Cubs probably don’t know he is doing it.

He talks about the Cubs because they are inherently interesting.

Continue reading

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #312 – A Lesson From David Cone

If you don’t know who David Cone is, listen to this…

In 1956, Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. That’s 27 batters up, 27 batters down. 9 innings of no hits, no walks, no one getting on by virtue of an error. In the 140 years of Major League Baseball, there have only been 23 perfect games. And only Larsen did it in the World Series.

On July 18th, 1999, it was “Yogi Berra Day” at Yankee Stadium in New York. Their legendary catcher, Berra, showed up for the game and caught the ceremonial first pitch before the game FROM Don Larsen. (Berra was his catcher in the World Series perfect game.) Then the game started, and David Cone, with Larsen and Berra watching, threw a perfect game!

In his new book, “Full Count”, Cone talks about what it takes to become a topnotch major league pitcher:

“I always believed pitchers need to be searchers, mound ‘investigators’ who determine the best pitch to throw, and the best way to throw it. Then (be able to) do that again and again.”

That pretty much describes every great air talent I’ve ever heard or coached, regardless of format. But the question is, “Does it describe you?”

If you’re not trying to get better, you’ll get worse. If you’re not trying to police, then change, bad habits, you’ll sound out of date in no time.

There are two sure-fire ways to go about being an “investigator” on your own, which I’ll outline in the next tip.

If you can’t do it on your own, you need coaching. But this “radio is so over” stuff is c**p. Radio is still vital, entertaining, compelling, and “can’t miss” listening every day, when it’s done right.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #311 – Why Your Imaging is Boring People to Death

Normally, these tips are just to help air talent get better.  But it’s getting difficult for people to improve quickly when they only get to talk every third song or so.  So if you’re a PD, maybe this is something to consider: Your Imaging is boring people to death.

“The Greatest Hits from the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries… on KBRP 99…”

  1. No one cares.
  2. You just missed an opportunity to have an actual human being who works on the air CONNECT with the listener.

Continue reading

Frost Advisory #458 – C’mon Kids, Let’s Be Ordinary!

If you and I made a list of things that make a radio station ordinary we’d likely come up with the same list.

That’s the thing about ordinary. There is no surprise. There is no delight.

Consistency is good.

               Predict  abil ity is not.   

Consistency allows fulfilling expectations, delivering on promises, being dependable.

Predictability does things the same way, defaults to monotonous patterns, and ignores the transformative power of creativity.

“While a speaker… arranges his words into understandable sentences, the listener … anticipates and discounts the predictable.”

Roy Williams

Predictable is why we no longer see a billboard we’ve passed for weeks. It’s the reason our mind starts to wander when Uncle Virgil tells the same story over and over. It’s the reason ordinary radio stations can’t capture our attention, much less our hearts.

Continue reading

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #310 – Why You Want To Talk To ONE Person

Every time I hear an air talent talk to a “plurality” with words like “folks,” “ladies,” “all of you” (or “some of you”), etc. I want to call them up and do a coaching session right NOW on why this is ineffective.

Maybe you can best understand it through Bob Dylan’s acceptance speech when he received the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.  In part, he said, “As a performer, I’ve played for 50,000 people and I’ve played for 50 people, and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people.  50,000 people have a singular persona; not so with 50.  (With fifty) they can perceive things more clearly.  Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried.”  He added, “The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.”

The smaller the target, the more clear the perception, the more you can reveal.  “Hello, Cleveland” doesn’t address anyone in particular.

When I worked at a female-targeted station, I just talked to my wife.  When I worked a male-targeted station, I talked to my cousin Ricky, who was like a brother to me.

Put a picture of someone who personifies your target listener in the Control Room where you can’t miss it – like taping it to a chair in front of you.

Now… reveal.

Frost Advisory #457 – Men in Pink: A Programming Lesson

Did you see it too?

Hundreds of millionaire professionals willingly gave up a tool of their trade and replaced it will something that on any other day, in any other circumstance, would subject them to ridicule and harassment from their co-workers.

They wore pink.

Sunday was a special Mother’s Day at ballparks across the country as Major League Baseball joined forces to raise money for breast cancer research. The players demonstrated their support by wearing pink wrist bands and using pink bats. Some wore pink batting helmets and pink caps.

Think about this… if someone had tried to convince Major League ballplayers to wear pink just for the sake of wearing pink… it would have never happened.

Continue reading