It would be hard, if not impossible, for any comedian to even remotely approach the vast volume of material that George Carlin had. One of his pieces is a real lesson for radio (which is where George began his career, in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana). The routine was about “saving the planet,” with George pointing out that “The planet will outlive you, and will heal itself.”
But he had an interesting take on how that piece affected his performance, saying “That piece was very thoughtful, and very interesting, and I loved it, but I had to learn that there were times in the show when it was okay NOT to get laughs. Because one of the jobs I have besides getting laughs is to engage the imagination. If I make them laugh along the way, that’s part of the deal for me.”
That’s part of the deal for you, too.
If all you have to offer is “funny,” you’re going to be one-dimensional. If a plane flies into a building again, no one’s going to turn to you for your thoughts on it. A show needs changes of gear and depth, at least some of the time, to become great.
I was fortunate to be half of a team show in Houston (“Hudson & Harrigan”) that was known for laughs – lots of them – but we could do sincere and down-to-earth, too.
If you don’t have those elements, you need some coaching.
“Blessing” is not a word we kick around often in strategic planning meetings, and certainly not in budget meetings. But I reckon’ it’s a pretty good word.
One of the definitions for “blessing” is “something that helps you or brings happiness.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
My friend Brant Hansen shares, “Literally blessing means to add value. How can I bless the listener today?”
He digs into the process, or more accurately the WORK.
In coaching young air talent, there’s always that moment when you assess what their specific gift is – that one thing that stands out about each person – and you have to find a way to broaden their vision.
That’s when the first challenge is issued – to become more consistent. Anyone can have a good hour or a good show, but getting that to be EVERY hour, EVERY day, is “the first step up.”
Some people think the work is done with a good week, or a good month. But that’s just scratching the surface. Take any TV show that runs for years, and you see this challenge met. The first episode hopefully makes people like the show, and want to see it again. But it also sets a standard of what the viewer expects FROM the show every time they tune in. Continue reading
The beginning of a new year seems to me to be a good time to consider how we internalize the values in our organizations.
Andy Stanley suggests, “Just start celebrating what you value. People will value what you celebrate, and they will celebrate what you value.”
I’ve recently been reading, “Breakfast with Fred,” the conversations and ideas of Fred Smith, Sr, a mentor for many leaders such as Zig Ziglar, Philip Yancey, John Maxwell and my friend Steve Brown.
“When Fred was in his early twenties, he visited a cemetery and asked himself what he would want the epitaph on his tombstone to read. It was at that moment he chose the phrase that would set his life direction: ‘He stretched others.'”
A touchstone is something that serves as a conduit between two people. It connects them. I touch this end, you touch that end.
Content on the air is exactly the same – or it fails. If something you talk about is something I can identify with, or see myself doing, that “touchstone” is a winner.
So ask yourself this question: Why would you talk about something that’s only about you?
If I’m not in the picture (as a listener), you’re not going to be very successful.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.