Tommy Kramer Tip #66 – Work from the Listener BACK

Here’s something that should be obvious, but apparently isn’t. Work from the Listener back, not from the Control Room forward.

Example: Once, a morning team that I work with in Houston wanted to talk about American Idol auditions being held there the next day. Although they did a pretty good job of delivering the information, using the music from the show as staging, they missed the opportunity to get inside the Listener’s life and make it more visual by describing the scene in her house. (That station’s target Listener is a 28-year old female named “Jennifer,” with a husband, “Mike,” and a baby girl – two years old.)

Here’s the real deal:

It’s just before 6:00 in “Jennifer’s” house on the night before the auditions, and she’s telling her little girl and her husband that if they want dinner, they can either cook something themselves, or go get some takeout food. But they can FORGET seeing her there, because she’s going to the auditions, and if it means standing under a bridge in the rain for 12 hours, that was just tough…because that’s exactly what she’s going to do!

Describing that scene on the air, with its animation and sense of urgency, would be much more compelling than just giving the information.

Most Air Talents make the mistake of deciding what they want to do, and then projecting it toward the Listener. But it’s easy to just sound clinical or informational, and lose the opportunity to convey the visual “flavor” of that “scene” in the Listener’s life. In reality, what ALWAYS works is starting from the Listener’s perspective and working back to the Control Room, then putting that on the air.

You can never go wrong by reflecting your Listener’s life back to her (or him). It gives you a much better chance of ‘linking up’ in a right-brain way.

There’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” – General Eric Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff.


Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an advance copy of the future? It would come out early for those that registered. Or, how about an App or something that could show what’s a trend, and what’s a fad.

Too bad, but oh well. Guess we’ll have to do it on our own, learning, watching, growing and acting. It’s difficult but there are optics that can give you a better idea, not of the future, but where we’re going.

What seems clear to me is that the most popular option is to do nothing. We’re too busy working on today, or don’t have perfect clarity, or are confused by the future, or maybe you just don’t care. These people are the born followers, the people who just can’t go to the head of the line and say, “Let’s go!”

So fear and eventual irrelevance are in their future. When when you don’t spend any time thinking about or planning for the future you’ve given up.

If you’re one of those people pardon my directness, but get out of the way. Make room for those of us who want to lead, or even follow.  Stand aside, and let those who can craft the future.

Frost Advisory #220 – What Have I Learned Today?

Momentum is a waste of time!   

Momentum is the greatest opportunity for me to learn all year.

Those are polar opposite statements.   Both are true.   It’s your choice.

“Intelligent people are always eager and ready to learn.” Proverbs 18:15

We all know Fred.  He comes to Momentum every year to hang around with his friends, eat donuts with the new band Hercules and the Chicken Fat People, and brag about all the nifty things he’s doing at his 2.0 share radio station.

After Momentum Fred returns to his station and implements nothing he’s heard.   Sadly, Fred has decided that he already knows everything.

“When do you think most people stop learning?

Is it when we already know how to do something? Is it when we have some success under our belts? Is it when we imagine there’s nothing left to learn, no one knows something we don’t, or when we come to believe we know it all? Whenever it is, it’s too soon, and it’s too bad, because we’ve always got a lot to learn… no matter how much we already know.”  Mark Beeson

Learning Is Fun

Here’s a suggestion:

This year at Momentum write down the 3 most important things you hear from each speaker or seminar. Prioritize these items into an action plan with specific dates when they will be integrated into your day to day activities.

That one suggestion could make the difference on whether you say Momentum was a waste of time or the greatest opportunity to learn all year.

“Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn and you will prosper.” Proverbs 19:8

Tommy Kramer Tip #65 – Prep The Ending FIRST

This is the simplest way to guarantee success with any Content you do: Prep the ending first.

Here’s why:

Suppose you have several errands to run. You need to drop some clothes off at the dry cleaners, you’ve got to mail something, and you need to go to the grocery store. So to save gas and go in more of a straight line, you plan everything so you go to the grocery store last. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with a lot of refrigerated items melting in the back seat while you’re doing the other errands.

It’s the same way with everything on the air – know where you’re GOING. Where the “destination” is. THEN, plan the beginning – how you’ll get into whatever the subject is. You’ll find that the middle pretty much takes care of itself.

Saturday Night Live is a good example. Through the years, they’ve always had talented people in the cast, but when the show was strongest, every ‘bit’ had a sense of purpose – an ending or conclusion that was solid and provided some sort of resolution at the end. When the show was at its weakest, there were still some good ideas, but they just kind of fizzled out at the end.

Frost Advisory #219 – Why No Celebration?

I have a new friend. His name is also John.

He’s like a baby chick sticking his head out of the egg when it comes to Christian music radio. After decades in mainstream radio he knows he doesn’t know the format, but he asks REALLY good questions.

Because he is so charged up about his own faith he asks me, “Why isn’t there more celebration?”. Gulp. Out of the mouth of babes.

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Tommy Kramer Tip #64 – Momentum Is King

As you’ve heard or seen me state before, Momentum and Pace are different things. Pace is how fast you go, but Momentum is how straight a line there is between Point A and Point B.

You don’t necessarily gain Momentum by just going faster. It takes being concise, and good construction, like a great writer’s book that you can’t put down.

Recently, this came up in a dramatic way as a Talk show I work with really got it, and moved effortlessly forward by keeping a close eye on the lengths of calls.

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Frost Advisory #218 – Opinions Are Like Noses

“Opinions are like noses”, the saying goes. “Everyone has one.”

I like her voice!

She sounds nasal!

He’s funny.

He thinks he’s funny.

Subjective opinions are inevitable in an industry tethered to music and art. The question is… how do we keep subjectivity from driving our most important decisions, since subjectivity almost always results in the crankiest or highest ranking having their way.

I’ve found there are at least three unique areas that can be evaluated OBJECTIVELY:

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Tommy Kramer Tip #63 – Cattle

The great movie Director Alfred Hitchcock was once asked by a reporter, “Is it true that you said all actors are cattle?”
Hitchcock replied, “No, I did not say that all actors are cattle. I said that all actors should be treated as cattle.”

Whenever you have a guest – or a guest host – keep that in mind. If the guest or guest host is from TV, chances are that they know NOTHING about radio. They know about hair product and how to read a teleprompter, but if they knew anything about keeping a viewer around, they wouldn’t keep saying things like “after this break” or “when we return.” (I’ll dive further into this in a future tip.)  A guest, like someone who’s on “The Biggest Loser” or whatever, knows even less. They’re pretty much like ducklings, just trying to smile and not sound like amateurs.

YOU have to organize things for them.

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Frost Advisory #217 – It Doesn’t Matter What You Do If What You Do Doesn’t Matter


A station group I visited recently shared with me remarkable stories of changed lives, impact in their community, and their vision to reach people far beyond the boundaries of their current signals.

However, in listening to their stations I heard none of these things. I literally heard the trivial (in the form of ‘trivia’) more than I heard stories that demonstrated what the stations stand for.

Successful stations understand and embrace what makes them meaningful and preferable. They then efficiently demonstrate those values in ways that resonate emotionally with their listeners.

Efficiency and meaningfulness are two sides of the same coin. One does not exclude the other. Successful stations develop disciplines for each.

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Tommy Kramer Tip #62 – Kill The Word “Podcast”

The National Football League is a “copycat” league. If a team succeeds by throwing 50 passes a game, the next year, every team looks for its Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.

If a mobile quarterback wins a bunch of games, everyone starts drafting a quarterback who can run in addition to pass. (I’m not talking about Tim Tebow. Note the “and PASS” part. The only target Tebow can hit consistently is the ground.)

Radio’s like that, too. Continue reading