Frost Advisory #285 – We’re Attracted to Reflections of Ourselves

Two sections over at Dodger Stadium a stranger waves at me.   We seemingly have nothing in common other than the red St. Louis Cardinals jerseys we wear.  But in a sea of Dodger blue we see each other.

The loudest ovation at a recent Houston Rockets’ game wasn’t for the players on the court but for the six airmen honored during half time.  They didn’t cheer because they were basketball fans; they cheered because they were Americans.

The deeper the connection the louder the applause.

“We buy what we buy to remind ourselves – and tell the world around us – who we are.  We even choose our service providers based on how closely they mirror the way we would run their company.  We’re attracted to reflections of ourselves.  A salesperson points out this reflection, “That’s you, isn’t it?” and then gives the intellect the facts it needs to justify the purchase.  Win the heart and the mind will follow.”  Roy Williams

Facebook knows this.  They simply create ways for us to see a reflection of ourselves (a few years younger perhaps) and we’ll gladly share it with the world without even being asked.

Facebook knows that the more we see ourselves the more we’ll engage.


If someone was to tune in to your station right now what would they hear that is a reflection of themselves?  Would it be in the words you choose?  The perspective on life you share?  That you focus on things that really matter?

Facebook knows it.   Maybe we should too.   The more your listeners see themselves the more they’ll engage

Tommy Kramer Tip #130 – Team Show Tip: Listener First, THEN Each Other

This tip is specifically for team shows, but it applies to anyone who has someone else in the studio, whether that’s a partner or an interview with someone.

It’s really boring to tune into a couple of people who start a break (or a segment) by only talking to each other.  It makes the listener feel like he or she is outside the house, looking at the party through the window.

There’s an easy fix for this, but you have to do it EVERY time:  Talk to ME (the listener) first, THEN talk to each other.

Here’s an example from years ago, when I worked briefly on the morning show with one of my dearest friends, “Brother” Jon Rivers in Dallas at KLTY.  (You’ll also hear our newsman and Producer reacting.)  It was on a Monday.  I had taken the previous Friday off to go work with a station in Orlando, but instead of turning to me and saying “So how’d your trip to Florida go?” listen to how Jon started it…

Note: If you listen closely, you’ll hear Jabba the Hut’s laugh as I mention him.  The laugh was Jon’s idea, and he loaded it into the computer before we got on the air that day.  Just another example of Jon’s brilliance.  Production Values – even for something that small – can add an extra dimension.

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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 #284 – Just Take It Away

When they asked Michelangelo how he made his statue of David he is reported to have said, “It was easy.  I just took away everything that didn’t look like David.”

That profound simplicity is one way to approach programming your radio station.

If people come to your station for encouragement just take away the stuff that isn’t.  Then while you’re at it… just take away songs listeners don’t love; just take away everything that isn’t relevant and meaningful to their lives; just take away everything that isn’t friendly and welcoming.

“…anticipate and answer your customer’s unspoken questions.  Don’t blather on about the things you wish they cared about – even if those are the things the customer really ought to care about – until you’ve first answered the question that’s on their mind.”  Roy Williams

That involves knowing why they tune to your station in the first place.

So… go do that.  And take everything else away.


Tommy Kramer Tip #129 – Emotion and Opinion

Mark Ramsey is one smart dude. See:

If you’ve worked with him, or even just read or seen some of his stuff, you already know that Mark is always grinding away, looking to the present only as it applies to the future, and helping stations refine what really connects with listeners.

One of his most engaging thoughts is how essential “memorable moments” are to creating fans of your show (and the station).  All the best Consultants’ minds have their own takes on this, but as you may have noticed, I focus on EXACTLY HOW things work.

So, if you want to get on the fast track to creating those Memorable Moments, here’s the foundation in coaching terms:

It’s all about Emotion and Opinion.  You HAVE to give an opinion to be remembered.  And ALL memorable radio comes from an Emotional place.  (The same as great books, great plays, great movies, and great music.)

People NOTICE it when something comes from the heart and reveals something about not just what you think, but also what you FEEL.

Here’s a great example, from my friend Norm Hitzges on The Ticket in Dallas:

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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 #283 – We’re Successful Because…

We radio folk love to connect the dots.  Even dots that don’t connect.

The CHR in town plays 21 currents and their share went up.  Let’s do that!

They have a red-headed female on middays and they won Station of the Year!  We should do that, too!

We have new jingles!  That must be why our cume went up!   (Consider the illogical correlation of non-listeners’ behavior being affected by something they don’t hear).

I commonly hear otherwise smart radio folks confuse correlation with causation.

The GM loves that new one hour Saturday morning fishing show and the station’’s ratings go up.  Better prepare yourself for his next brilliant programming idea!

The more emotionally invested in a concept or feature the less likely we are to discern its causality.  Just because two things occur together does not mean that one caused the other, even if it seems to make sense.

Need to prove something you already believe?  All you need are two graphs and two events.


“People are drawn to black and white opinions because they are simple, not because they are true.  Truth demands serious effort and thought.”  Donald Miller

We’re never successful because of all the things we do.  Often we’re successful in spite of them.

Tommy Kramer Tip #128 – The Space Between Knowing and Doing

The space between KNOWING what to do and actually DOING it is the biggest space in the process.  By isolating the purpose of each break – what this break is about, each time – you close the gap.

It’s never “Ready, Fire, Aim.”  Unless you’re sure of how you’re starting, what the “plot points” are, and what the Destination of a break is, you’re playing Russian Roulette with that break, no matter how short or easy it may seem to be.

The time to do your thinking is BEFORE the mic opens.  Then you just relax into the performance.

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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 #282 – Never Underestimate the Power of Being Likable

“I feel like I’ve known her all my life.”

Those are actual words I overheard a listener say in describing a remarkable air talent.  Not that she was a good deejay; not that she really liked the way she did traffic and weather together.  Just… that she knew her.

Your station is ultimately about building relationships.  (For some, that may be a new idea!)

“We resist being influenced by people we don’t know or don’t trust. We are open to the influence of those whom we trust or whom we perceive have our best interests at heart.” Andy Stanley

There are only three voices that should ever be heard on your radio station.




Unfortunately many radio stations are overrun with voices of strangers.  We don’t know who they are, we don’t connect with what they’re saying, and worse, they don’t even sound like someone I’d want to hang around.

“Never underestimate the power of being likable.” Andy Andrews

Here’s a simple little idea that can transform a show.  Identify every voice as either friend, family, or visitor.

Friend is someone you like.  Family is someone you’re inexorably connected to.  Visitor is someone you welcome and help make feel at home.


I work with a guy named Bill whose specific job is to give traffic updates, a mundane task at most stations.  But he’s so much more than just a traffic reporter.  He’s a friend, relating traffic conditions to the listener’s lifestyle and commute, and he’s been on the air in their hometown for more than 30 years.  (By the way, we’ve built things into his traffic reports that only friends would say.  That’s called role development).

When you intentionally create a radio station where every listener feels welcome, there are no strangers.

This Frost Advisory inspired by my friends Mike Moran, Mike Blakemore, Ty McFarland, and Bill Ingram.

Tommy Kramer Tip #127 – I Was Gonna Say…

Bet you’ve heard this a hundred times…one person says something, then the other person says “I was gonna say…” and tacks on another thought. If you’re that second person, this may seem innocuous to you, but it carries several liabilities:

First, it’s not in the “now”, so, of course, it stops the momentum. (Or even makes it go backward.)

Second, what “I was gonna say…” REALLY says is “I’m determined to get this thought in, even though the moment has passed, come hell or high water.”

Third, it gives the impression that you have to get in the last word—or even worse, like you’re trying to “top” the other person’s thought.

So the solution for “I was gonna say” is…don’t say it.
Remember, every single thing said by each person (and that can be a caller or guest) should move the subject FORWARD, like the game “leapfrog” that we played as kids.

When you stop wasting words and embrace the discipline of just letting it go instead of forcing a thought in, you’ll have taken a step forward in being perceived as not wasting the listener’s time. With all the ‘buzz’ about PPM indicating that breaks should be short, it’s important to realize that it’s not really always about length as measured by a stopwatch; it’s also about how long it FEELS.

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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 #281 – How Will Your Station Be Remembered?

My cousin recently shared how a charity in his hometown of Austin, Texas, “had the clever idea of sending out a blank ‘book’ and asked a few folks to create their fantasy book cover as an auction item.  I loved the provocative experiment and wound up buying this cover back as a desktop catalyst for all sorts of reflective exercises.”

Cuzin’ Dan chose “Life, Love & Music” and selected “the photographic symbols that might highlight life chapters… love, loss, travel, art & music, friends, family and unique life experiences encouraged thoughtful and honest reflection.”


What would the “book cover” be for your radio station?  For some, compiling the station of the year entry gives perspective on the most significant things accomplished during the year.  The blood drive, the reuniting of families at Christmas, caring for widows and orphans, or helping single moms get a free oil change leap out as obviously far more memorable and meaningful than “27 percent more variety” liners, song to song segues, or that your station was the first to play Hercules and the Chicken Fat People’s latest song.

But where do we spend most of our time?

“It takes mental discipline to favor macro success over micro failure.” Jeff Luhnow, Houston Astros general manager

The second guessing and tinkering in reaction to erratic weekly and monthly ratings obscures our ability to focus on the real purpose of the station and those things that we would be proudest to put on the station’s “book” cover.  Nothing legendary has ever come out of a discussion about weekly ratings.

Cuzin’ Dan concludes, “There’s no time like the present to accept the past, celebrate the life learning moments and pledge to make the most of the precious time we have left. We owe that opportunity to no one but ourselves.  But, in making the effort, we’ll positively impact all around us.”