Tommy Kramer Tip #173 – Happy Generic Fluff

It’s so different on the other end of the radio.

Recently, a morning show I just starting working with did a break on “Words to not use with kids.”  Obviously, it was some article they plucked off the internet, and it sounded like it.  They thought it was “interesting”, but to me it was just the easiest road to take, pumping something into the show that was actually just “filler” stuff to take up space between the banner ads on some website.

What I told them:
This isn’t a break that we “make better”. It’s a break that we don’t do.

“Happy generic fluff” is NOT meaningful Content, especially when it just sounds like a self-help or “motivational” book.  Be better than that.  You’re here to share your thoughts and feelings on things that matter most to the listener TODAY.  Not “The 16 Most Important Foods to Avoid” which is usually subtitled something like “Number 9 will amaze you!”  (It never does.  And I’m going to keep eating hot sauce until it flows out of my ears, no matter what it does to my stomach lining.)

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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.

Measuring Success

“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo.  What is vertigo?  Fear of falling?  No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling.  It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
~Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being


Today I was helping a friend write a job description, and I encountered the term “measurable.”  It was something her organization was asking for, and while I understood the term and intent, I’m not sure that’s the real answer.

Success isn’t about whether you can have “measurable,” it’s about whether you’re accomplishing anything.  I always substitute the term “goal” for measurable and it changes everything.

A measurable is something you can measure, a goal is something you’ve accomplished.  Too often “measurable” is measuring activity, and not accomplishment.  It doesn’t matter if you can supply a score to a basketball game without a hoop, it matters whether you score enough points to win.

That’s what goals are about, not measuring activity but measuring accomplishment.

Frost Advisory #328 – Trump v. Clinton, and Your Radio Station

It’s here.  Likely the most eyeballs ever staring at the two presidential candidates, and they with the highest negative ratings ever.

It’s a made for TV reality show for better or for worse.

What can our stations learn from these unusual times?


Basic Trout and Reis positioning suggests attaching your product or service to what is on everyone’s mind.  That common ground thing, don’tchaknow?  Then connect what’s on everyone’s mind to the benefits of your brand.

As the headlines focus more and more on discouragement, there is another choice.

Tommy Kramer Tip #172 – Learn From Mike Nichols, Part 3

In his last interview, the great director, actor, and comedian Mike Nichols really opened the door to what fueled his process.

I’ve talked about a couple of his concepts in the last two tips, but this one may be the most important one when it comes to understanding what really creates a distinguishable and memorable presence on the air:

Your show, like a movie or play, isn’t totally real life. It’s a VERSION of real life.  And your persona on the air isn’t totally you.  It’s a VERSION of you.

Don’t really like an artist you play?  I doubt if saying that on the air will endear you to the listener who adores that artist.

Reading something for the 50th time this week?  Make it sound like you just thought of it, and you have a real INTEREST in it.

Can’t stand kids?  Well, depending on the format, you may not want to reveal that fact.

My friend and partner John Frost talks about being “transparent” on the air, and I agree, with my version being “Crack your chest open and show us what’s in there.”  BUT, I don’t believe in total transparency.  Some things aren’t useful, or reveal a side of you that may work against trying to win over more listeners.

As I’ve taught this over the years, many times the reaction has been indignant, with something like, “But that’s not me.”

You do get that Tom Hanks isn’t really Forrest Gump, right?  And he’s not the guy in Saving Private Ryan, either.  It’s ACTING.  However, each of those characters IS a version of him.

If you need help creating the most effective version of you, get it.  Every athlete, every actor has a coach… for that very reason.

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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.

Who’s Creative?

“But there’s a difference between having artistic interests and being psychotic.  That’s more than a fine line of differentiation, and I do see that a bit too much.”
~Crispin Glover


I hear so much about creativity, and I see so little of it.

The world seems to be divided into four groups:

  1. Those who think they’re creative and really aren’t.
  2. Those who really are creative.
  3. Those who think they’re not creative.

You can see my point, perhaps.  I believe God blessed everyone with the ability to be creative in some way, and I think many of the people who think they’re creative really aren’t.  They may be good synthesizers, or good connectors, but they don’t really create.  But if you challenge them on it you’ll be surprised at the vehemence of response!

This is the kind of thing you really only admit to yourself in the dark of night when no one else is around.

My experience is that the people who go psycho aren’t the truly creative, but those who think they are but really aren’t.  They’ll go to any length to build an argument about how their creativity is the reason an organization is successful.  They take one crayon from the box and deem that this color is creativity and everything else isn’t.  They’ll pound their square version of creativity into the round hole whatever it takes.  And some of us believe it.

But they’re not the people I really want us to think about.  I’m more interested in the people who think they’re not creative because they don’t understand the universal law.  Everyone is creative in their own area in their own way.  Your color is in the crayon box if you’ll just look for it!

I’ve seen a lot of people who misinterpret what creativity is, and continue to believe they’re not, and because that’s their belief they become what they think.  They can’t be creative because everyone has always told them they weren’t, or held them back from playing around, or simply reinforced their belief system.

You, my friend, are creative.  I don’t know in what way, and I don’t know how, but you are.  God has blessed us all with creativity, not just a chosen few.  If you don’t give up on it, you’ll find your creativity when the opportunity comes along.  As long as you haven’t shut that door.