Tommy Kramer Tip #137 – The Hammer and Chisel

To do great radio, you have to Entertain.  In its simplest form, this just means that what you say has to stand out.

Here’s the “secret formula” – two ingredients: (1) camera angles, and (2) vocabulary.

Those two things are the hammer and the chisel.  They carve out of life specific shapes and descriptions that weren’t there before.

It starts with a camera angle that isn’t obvious; something that’s slightly askew or unique to you.  The vocabulary brings it to full bloom.  Here are ten great examples from some of the greatest comic minds in history:

George Carlin: “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.”

Jonathan Winters: “If God had really intended man to fly, He’d have made it easier to get to the airport.”

Rodney Dangerfield: “I told my dentist ‘My teeth are going yellow.’ He told me to wear a brown tie.”

Robin Williams: “If it’s the Psychic Network, why do they need a phone number?”

Woody Allen: “Some guy hit my fender. I told him to ‘Be fruitful, and multiply’…but not in those words.”

Steve Martin: “Don’t have sex, man.  It leads to kissing, and pretty soon you have to start talking to them.”

Jerry Seinfeld: “That’s the true spirit of Christmas – people being helped by people other than me.”

Louis C. K.: “I don’t stop eating when I’m full.  The meal isn’t over when I’m full.  It’s over when I hate myself.”

Chris Rock: “Black people dominate sports in the United States.  20 percent of the population; 90 percent of the Final Four.”

Steven Wright: “I have a paper cut from writing my suicide note.  It’s a start.”

Some people think these skills can’t be taught.  That, of course, isn’t true.  There IS a way to cultivate these skills.  Call me, and we’ll start.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost ADvisory #291 – The Stuff That Doesn’t Matter

Odd, isn’t it?  In a format that MATTERS more than any other, we spend so much of our time talking about stuff that doesn’t.

Recently I’ve heard…

The tour dates and future music projects of an artist I’ve never heard of.

The details of a traffic problem that I wasn’t in.

A contest where if I text them the thing (twenty words or less) and I’ll be put in a drawing with all the other people that have texted them the thing (twenty words or less) and they’ll do a random drawing at 7:20 in a few weeks with Flip and Flap of the Flip and Flap Morning Show to determine the finalist that will be in the subsequent drawing for the thing.  Jeepers!  Who wrote your promo?  The IRS?

A company’s sales accomplishments with no connection of how it mattered to their customers.


Deejays that talk incessantly about things that happened in their lives that listeners can’t relate to.  Newscasts with stories that sound newsy but aren’t relevant.  Stations that position themselves with mindless slogans that are all about the station, not about what is meaningful to the listener.

Here is a challenge for the new year:

Listen to another radio station in the format for one hour and write down the things you hear that don’t matter.  You’ll be amazed!  (This exercise is impossible to do with your own radio station because it’s too familiar to you.)

When Michelangelo was asked how he created the statue of David, he supposedly responded, “I just took away everything that didn’t look like David.”

So, if you want your radio station to matter… you can start by simply taking away everything that doesn’t.

Tommy Kramer Tip #136 – The Door is Open

A concept that gets bandied about a lot these days is being “transparent” on the air.  I understand what that’s intended to mean, but “transparent” is not a term I use.

Rather than telling air talent to be “transparent”, I tell them to simply be Open and Revealing.  Being TOTALLY transparent is not always a good idea, actually.  Some things shouldn’t be shown.  Some things about you might be too revealing.  Some might be negatives.  Some might be boring.

Even the so-called “reality” shows on TV are highly edited.  (Indeed, to me, “Survivor” is the best-edited show in television history.  An editor’s clinic, really.  Think about it: they shoot 24/7 to get one hour—and that’s with commercials.)

I’d sum it up this way: Anytime you’re on the air, the door is open, but remember, it’s a door to an entertainer’s life; not a door to an accountant’s life.  I’ll bet nobody’s ever asked to come over to your house and watch you fill out your tax returns.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #290 – Gentlemen, This is a Football!

As the new year begins it’s easy to get bogged down in the multitude of details of programming a radio station; the politics, the personalities, and the to-do list that never seems to get to-done.  And yet, there are the more advanced concepts of focus and targeting, serving your core listener, developing the talent, connecting emotionally, and developing a meaningful brand.

But at its core good programming is relatively simple.
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi began every training camp with these words, “Gentlemen, this is a football!”, which underscores the importance of knowing the basics.


Here are the programming basics:

  • Play the music your listeners love.
  • Talk about things they are interested in.
  • Don’t waste their time.

If you’re a GM make sure your PD is accountable in these areas.   If you’re a PD, use this to prioritize.

If you kick off 2016 by getting these things right, then you’re in a better position to begin working on the other stuff that can make your station remarkable!

Happy New Year!