Frost Advisory #250 – What’s Most Important?

It seemed an innocent enough question. My friend Kevin (not his real name) had just become the program director of an already successful Christian music station. One day over fajitas and guacamole he turns to me and asks, “What is most important for me to know about success in this format?”

Two days and numerous servings of chips and salsa later we were still quacking.

His question was a good one. It made me think. It made me want to write some stuff down.

I told him that the most successful stations are designed to appeal beyond just the existing small group of Christian music fans. You may have noticed that people who aren’t necessarily football fans watch the Super Bowl.

It’s that kind of thing. I’m sure that Matthew West is a fine fellow but giving away tickets to his concert doesn’t matter if people don’t know who he is. And no one tuning in for the first time knows who he is.


Most stations don’t understand this. Most stations have less than a three share.

Our conversation continued.

Tommy Kramer Tip #95 – A Tip from Kareem

A lot of the stuff I coach comes from other sources – great actors, great musicians, great athletes.

One of the people I’ve looked up to (no pun intended) for a long time has been basketball’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In his college career at UCLA, his coach was the legendary John Wooden, and later with the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers, Kareem played for the ultra-intense Pat Riley. Their imprints on Abdul-Jabbar are obvious, and here’s something that “the Big Fella” said recently that you might want to take to heart:

“Complacency sits right in there with Confidence, so you’ve got to get rid of the complacency and work on being confident because you’re prepared, and not just because you think you’re good.”

Good ratings, a nice salary, growing accustomed to being recognized—all of these things can create complacency. So NEVER open the mic without being prepared. As Kareem said, Confidence comes from knowing you’re ready. If you’re not, someone who is prepared every break may be working against you. The easiest way to beat the competition is to just outwork them.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #249 – Every Life Has a Story

Your station is hosting a Third Day concert. Mac Powell has just uttered his last, “Yeah”, and your station’s best air talent takes center stage as the applause is subsiding.

Her first words reveal how in tune she is to the moment.

She may exclaim approval for the band, inviting the crowd to join in. Or she may insensitively launch into, “A priest, a rabbi, and a nun walk into a bar….”, making others wonder if they have just shared the same experience.

In its most basic form a music radio station has just two components – 1) the music, and 2) everything else. Music is designed to do one thing. Everything else is designed for something else.

Some of that something else is to connect to what’s happening NOW in the listener’s life.

Will I be late for work?

What will the medical tests show?

Why doesn’t she love me?

I don’t feel like a good parent right now.

Chick-fil-A‘s “Every Life Has a Story” communicates the impact of envisioning your customer (listener) as a complete person, with a life and a story, not just someone who represents money to you.

We’ve all heard the stories. “And then a song came on the radio…” connects to the deepest place in a life journey and the comfort from listening that song at that time on your station.

When THAT connection is made (and it is made far more than we know), think of the impact if it didn’t STOP when the talent began talking. What if there wasn’t a purposely emotional-less song tag separating the music and talent? What if the talent wasn’t trying to get past all the station business they have to do to get to the stuff they want to do?

Maybe someday we’ll sound like we were having the very same experience as the listener.

When that day comes it will transform the format.

Tommy Kramer Tip #94 – Local, Personal, or Both

This might seem obvious, but listen to stations around you and you’ll realize how few people have been coached to do it.
Sure, you’ve heard that we want to be local—if possible. Of course, syndicated shows can’t really connect that way.
And the really good Consultants and Talent Coaches are always trying to get jocks to be more personal. (Although teaching someone exactly how to do that is a different matter.)

But these shouldn’t be thought of as mere suggestions. I contend that every Content break you ever do should have a degree of Local and/or Personal in it. And when you think about it, Personal is the MOST local, because it doesn’t depend on street names or buildings. It lives in the heart.

There should always be some ingredient of what you think about the subject or what you feel about it. That’s what creates a definable human being—a neighbor, as opposed to just another voice giving out data on the air.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #248 – It’s All About Adding Value

It’s the essence of programming. Each element needs to add value.

For a music station it begins with the music. That means that every song you play has to ADD value. The songs that add the greatest value are the songs that have the most value; the ones that are most loved.

For everything else it is about the value of that which interrupts the music. On one hand we can argue that if people come to us for music we should never interrupt it. On the other hand if we don’t add value beyond the music there is no reason to choose our station above Pandora, Spotify, or Slacker.

Add Value

Successful radio is, and always has been, about a meaningful shared listening experience.

“Success is a by-product of creating value. Happiness is a by-product of creating value. Significance is a by-product of creating value. Fulfillment is a by-product of creating value.”