One of the main arguments against radio today is that “people would rather watch TV.” Or stare at a computer, tablet, or cell phone screen. For our purposes, let’s just use TV as an example.
I watch an NBA game, and BETWEEN TWO FREE THROWS (!) they run a commercial. (The game itself, of course, is shrunk down so that my 70-inch screen might just as well be the 24-inch screen I had in 1988.) This is SO invasive. Announcers in every sport talk right up to the moment a pass or pitch is thrown. And baseball has been so ruined by TV directors that you see a pitcher, then – in the middle of his windup – they change cameras to show the batter, then another switch is flipped and you see a player field the ball. They could all be from separate games, and you wouldn’t even know it. And NFL games? Don’t even start. TV directors are so intent on “filling the screen” that you can see the pores of a quarterback’s face. I want to see more of the field (or court) so I can see where each player IS, and what they’re doing.
Here’s where radio is still magic: we’re not bound by what the Director decides to show. We can create “word pictures” that those screaming, big-voiced announcers don’t seem able to do, and we don’t have to listen to some broken-down ex-player describe things in such minute detail and in terminology that we don’t understand. We can do whatever we want to make something visceral and emotional.
But only IF:
*You’re not just some idiot reading crap off a computer screen with no emotional investment in what you’re saying.
*Or you’re not just endlessly intro’ing artists and song titles. (BORING.)
*Or what you’re talking about is timely, and connects with the listener’s life.
You have everything you need to succeed and be a true Personality, someone who seems like a good friend…someone I (as a listener) want to hear give your “take” on a subject.
I get asked a lot about what one thing I’d say to someone who hasn’t “gotten it” yet, and the answer is always the same: WAKE UP and say something worth hearing. Don’t let TV and Facebook be more valuable than radio, because there’s no way they can be as entertaining and as personal as you.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.
If you’ve worked with me or read any significant amount of my stuff, you know that a lot of what I coach comes from the acting world. Although he only lived to be 50 years old, Roy London has been a heavy influence on me.
A fine actor himself, over the last fifteen years of his life, Mr. London became one of the premier acting teachers in Hollywood, a profound influence on the likes of Sharon Stone, Jeff Goldblum, Hank Azaria, Geena Davis, and Garry Shandling, just to name a few.
One of London’s main tenets is “It’s all about Love. Every choice comes from trying to connect with Love.”
Man, that is spot-on. While some radio talents have had success being negative and snarky, the ones that most people hold dear are the ones who are consciously trying to connect on a human level. And Love is the highest of human values. Continue reading
My brilliant friend and associate John Frost recently heard a station that used the slogan “We Actually Care.”
These people are obviously… well, stupid. As a coach, this concerns me because the air talent that has to live UP to what the station says about itself is virtually crippled by it.
First of all, the only possible inference of that phrase is that they’re better than the stations that DON’T “actually” care. (But I’m not familiar with any station that has “We Actually Don’t Care” as their slogan.) Continue reading
If you listen to the air staff, way too many stations nowadays have what I call “a boulder in the lobby.”
“The PD has no power, so we can’t do things we want to do.”
“The wrong people DO have power, so the best ideas can’t even get heard.”
“The GM is just a Sales Guy, and doesn’t understand Programming.”
“The new owner is just a financial guy, and doesn’t know anything about radio.”
In one station I worked at, a person they hired to fill a key position lived on a houseboat, and bathed in a lake. He always smelled like catfish dung. It got so bad that several coworkers left various deodorants on his DESK, and many complained to the boss – who did nothing about it. Slowly but surely, people left the station. I know that sounds kind of gross, but it happened.
So here’s the deal: as a Talent, when you come into the station every day, you have a decision to make. You can walk around whatever the “boulder” is and give it your best effort to do radio that’s worth listening to. Or you can go work somewhere else.
What you should NOT do is stick around, but have a grousing or negative attitude.
New York Yankee great Joe DiMaggio, in his last season, once ran hard on painful bone spurs to make a difficult catch. Mickey Mantle (who was in right field as a rookie) told Joe that he needn’t have done it because Mickey had it in his sights. But DiMaggio answered, “There’s always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time; I owe him my best.”
So do you.
In the movie world, a lot rests on the Film Editor’s “eye.”
“Errors of continuity” – like a shirt tucked in one moment, then untucked in the next shot, then a moment later it’s tucked in again – can ruin the film. The Editor is always on the lookout for things that, somewhere in the brain, just don’t “add up.” Those little things destroy credibility.
I hear the same type of things all the time in radio, but of course, they’re spoken rather than pictured. For example:
An air talent refers to something that I wouldn’t have a clue about unless I was listening 15 minutes ago.
Or a jock goes to a contestant or a caller and says “Hi, Marsha…” How did you already know her name? Not logical.
The jock says “Jennifer tripped over it…” Who’s Jennifer? Your wife? Your daughter? Your dog?
Keep in mind that my timeline (as a listener) isn’t the same as yours. Don’t assume that I know what you’re referencing.