Tag Archives: radio

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. It’s amazing what just a simple song intro can do, if the jock is “in the pocket” matching the pace and/or emotional vibe of the song. Plus, maybe he or she could say something meaningful in that time, instead of hearing more carvings from the blarney stone every other song (or even more often, in some dayparts).

“But we want to get the brand out there…”

It is. To the point of exhaustion. Plus, unless your brand is tied to a Reality – a person who sounds like somebody I’d like to know, visiting with me in the car – it’s just another commercial for you. (This is one of the factors in why people say radio plays too many commercials.)

First, try to make your Imaging brief, and fresh-sounding. But then the next step is to let the talent talk more frequently, and push them to do something worth listening to when they do. That’s how great staffs are built.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

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.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #309 – Jump Into The Pool

The other day, during a session, we were talking about what to do for Mother’s Day.  I mentioned having my mother do my show one Mother’s Day years ago, and the talent I was working with said, “I could bring my daughter on with me… which she would hate.”

I replied, “And that – her being resistant to it – would be something EVERY listener could identify with.”

Continuing, I suggested that she act out – complete with sound effects – her dragging her daughter into the room.  Like… with a chain, scraping across the floor.  Dripping with reluctance.

So here’s the lesson: Don’t be afraid to make things theatrical.  The more you create that “theater of the mind” thing, where the listener can PICTURE it, the better.

Unlike real life, JUMP INTO THE POOL.

DON’T look to see if there’s any water in it first.

Because all people are going to remember is that you jumped.

Note: My friend Ron Chapman, legendary Dallas morning man, once jumped out of an airplane on the air.  THAT was GREAT radio.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #308 – I Want People to Know When They’re Good

Because of a recent conversation with my partner and friend John Frost, maybe it’s a good idea to talk about why coaching is so essential to an air talent’s growth.

When I first set out on this path more than 20 years ago, I had only heard of two people that specifically worked on coaching talent – Valerie Geller and Randy Lane.  Each of them has credentials a mile long, and I’ve learned things from each of them.  Valerie is the Great Guru of Talk radio, with clients all over the world, and – among others – Rush Limbaugh as one of her first projects.  Randy is a master psychologist, with a gentle touch and a large dollop of personal magnetism.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #307 – Team Spirit, As It Applies To Your Station

In the last tip, I referred to basketball coaching legend John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” – something you should read, if you haven’t already done so.

Here’s another prime tenet of his teaching: Team Spirit.  About that, he says “The star of the team is the team.  ‘We’ supercedes ‘me.'”

So ask yourself this: When’s the last time you even MENTIONED someone else on your station?  And even if you did, did you offer any real insight as to why I should listen?

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #306 – Little Things Make Big Things Happen: A Lesson From John Wooden

This tip is for music stations.

If you don’t know who John Wooden is, you’re probably not a basketball fan.  Wooden, called “The Wizard of Westwood,” won TEN NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a ROW.  (No other team has won more than four in a row.)  Many of his players became NBA stars, often Hall of Famers like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Gail Goodrich, and Bill Walton.

Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” has become the Bible to dozens of present-day coaches, and one of the things adjacent to it is his list of “12 Lessons in Leadership,” one of which is “Little things make big things happen.”

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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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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.)

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #303 – Doing the Wrong Thing Well

Believe it or not, there are some instances when a really good talent will foul the ball off his own shin.  It happens to baseball players, and it most assuredly happens to air talent.

Case in point, recently a wonderful talent spent time (a setup, followed by two phone calls) setting up a little factoid about how we really only use about 13% of the things we learned in school.

Right at the outset, there are several things wrong with this:

  1. It’s not particularly timely, which means it’s largely irrelevant, because it’s not top-of-mind TODAY.  (Where does this rank on the list of the things that are most important to your listener today, 150th? 250th?)
      
  2. It relies on using a percentage, which automatically makes it sound “left-brain” driven, as opposed to something more “right-brain” and visual and creative, and…

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #302 – Looking in the Window

Here’s a little something that happened in a recent session with a great morning team in Austin.  I always try to do video sessions, and during this one, they were on location somewhere.

As we talked, I could see people behind them looking in the window.  The people were just curious, wonder what they were doing, and what the two of them were like.

And that’s what happens every time someone tunes in, too.

It’s kind of like a remark that Garry Shandling made to Jerry Seinfeld in a “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” episode when they talked about seeing Robin Williams for the first time: “You don’t remember what he SAID so much as you remember what he WAS.”

So think about who YOU are, to the listener.  Are you just another person “broad stroke” over-performing, larger than life – but not in a good way?  Or are you someone I can identify with, who’s entertaining, but also surprisingly down to earth and someone I’d like to hang out with?

What you project is a choice.  Choose wisely, because Shandling was right.