Social Media Needs To Be Social

“The Relationship Era doesn’t mean using social media and other channels to advertise or publicize or otherwise dictate your message; it means finding areas of common interest and values within to forge conversation and common causes.”
~Bob Garfield

After a recent summit designed to gain the perceptions of very savvy, successful, Millennials, there was, as you’d expect, a lot of talk about social media.  Their comments were interesting, but even more interesting were the questions asked by the audience, primarily radio people.

We think the goal of social media is to promote our stations.  Millennials think social media is for opening a line of communication with each other.  That’s quite a difference in perspective.

So here is my observation: We’re using social media as a way to promote to those boomers and Xers listening to our stations.  That has zero impact on Millennials, and maybe minimal impact on the generations in our audience.  What I see is many stations trying to act or sound Millennial in their social media.

Social media is bound by interests, which in turn is bound by community.  We’re in an amazing world where like-minded people can join around a concept, idea or cause without the help of any “official” organization.  We should want to be involved where the listener is, how the listener is.

Promoting what your morning show said this morning isn’t social, it’s hype.  Thinking non-digital natives can build an effort to unite Millennials is a pipe dream.  And we all know that pipe dreams are fantastic hopes or plans that are generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve.

Social media is content, and very rarely is compelling content a promotion to listen to our own product.

Frost Advisory #333 – Stuff That Really Matters; a Lesson Learned from the World Series

It’s baseball’s biggest stage.  These games mean it all.  The dream of every kid who’s ever hit a baseball in his back yard.  And yet, at this penultimate moment in a millionaire player’s career they are willing to stop the game.  And hold a cheap handwritten cardboard sign.

What’s going on here?

“Major League Baseball, Stand Up To Cancer and MasterCard conducted a special in-game moment, with players, umpires, coaches and fans all pausing to hold up placards with the names of loved ones affected by cancer.”


If we view it through the filter of what is has to do with baseball it makes absolutely no sense.  But if we view it through the filter of who were are as a community – as a family, we see that it is more important than just a game.

This campaign’s viral marketing taps into beliefs and values that just so happens to be at the heart of your radio station: celebrating family and friends, and reaching out to help others.  Beliefs and Values is not about sounding religious, it’s about connecting to things that really matter.

While the other radio stations are talking about what matters to them, maybe we can be talking about what matters to our listeners.

“There’s singing at people,
There’s singing to people,

There’s singing about how you feel…
Then, there’s singing about how THEY feel”
~Tim McGraw

Tommy Kramer Tip #177 – Being Local Does NOT Always Win

There’s this myth going around these days when a station faces a syndicated show as a competitor.  A lot of stations think, “Well, they’re not local, so they can’t beat us.”


Being Local does NOT always win.  You have to be the best CHOICE.  Just because you know street names and buildings doesn’t mean that you’re the most compelling, the most fun, or the most desirable companion in my car, or my office, or at home when I want the radio to keep me company.

I’ve coached many syndicated shows over the years in several different formats, and frankly, we’ve made a habit of blowing right past people who think that because they can “get out and shake hands” with listeners, they’re not in any trouble.  But of course, the TINY percentage of your listeners that you’ll meet – or will EVER come to a station event – makes this idea totally outdated.

Whoever’s the most intriguing, the most entertaining, or just the most likable will win.  Heritage, especially to Millennials, doesn’t mean much (if anything).  It’s all about who’s the most relevant to THEIR lives.

And surprisingly, what we’ve seen for years now is that this is true for almost ALL age groups.  In the internet/twitter/snapchat/instant information age, AUTHENTICITY is the only thing that plays well to everyone.  The air talents who have that (regardless of their own age) always do well.

Drop “be local” as your focus and substitute “be GREAT AND local” and you’ll be on the right track.

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

The Illusion of Fact

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
~Daniel J. Boorstin


Along with the digital age, and the growth of search engines, has come a time when “knowledge” seems to be a click away.  You can learn, you can fact check, you can generate ideas.  There’s been concern that people are not “thinking” as much as they were, or aren’t as discerning.  If I can find it on the Internet, it must be true.

But the reality is that everything on the Internet has some sort of bias.  First of all, the ones at the top of the search are paid advertising, and those right below that are there because they are “popular.”  You can find something to back up your opinion as fact very easily.  But is it the truth?

What stops you from knowing the truth is thinking that you already have the truth.  You stop seeking the truth.  And you create your own reality, which is fine if you share that reality with a lot of people, and you can control that reality to your benefit.

But it still doesn’t make it the truth.

Frost Advisory #332 – This Election, Leadership, and Your Radio Station

This week’s Frost Advisory is authored by my colleague T.J. Holland, a very smart fellow indeed.

“When nobody is effectively ‘in charge’, you’re bound to get more people arguing over how things should be done.”
~Dean Burnett PhD.

You may have come to expect (and accept) that every election cycle will bring more and more mudslinging.  Yet this cycle, it seems the slung mud is inside the parties nearly as much as at the opposition party.  This sort of circular firing squad mentality is becoming part of the process as well.  Almost everyday there is a series of leaked documents that expose the internal espionage inside the parties.


Thankfully, WikiLeaks hasn’t released private messages within our own organizations.

Does your workplace suffer from your own form of infighting?  This is more than a programming versus sales discussion.

It’s about separate camps forming within because of lack of vision and leaders that unite.

Infighting is part of a larger type of group psychology.  Dean Burnett commented on political infighting in his recent article in The Guardian, “Why Political Parties Fall Apart:  the Psychology of Infighting.”

Are the current crop of politicians sufficiently capable “leaders”? A reliance on presentation and spin may mean they have an easier ride from most voters, but these qualities don’t automatically make you a strong leader.  In times of uncertainty (which seems to be 24/7 at the moment) a strong leader is very important for group unity.

It’s not surprising that curbing disunity comes down to leadership that is engaged.

How often do we spin poor ratings or a lackluster fundraising effort with spin instead of addressing the underlying issues behind the results?   The conversations after the explanation usually aren’t about how everyone bought into it.

Do we accept the results of a poor internal employee survey as a need for more self-awareness and change, or do simply send out a memo to the team letting them know “they’ve been heard” (or worse, conducting a “witch hunt” to find the dissenters)?  Does this lack of directness bring unity or division from those who are targeted?

After hearing breaks that consistently miss the opportunity to connect emotionally, do we take the time to coach up talent or do we shoulder shrug and complain about not having enough hours in a day to get the job done?  Your talent ends up alienated and silos are built.  It’s better to catch them doing something right and point that out.  That’s an easy first step.

It’s so easy to throw the word around, yet it’s really a challenge to a lead.  Be in charge, as your strong leadership will be the difference between a united workplace, or overseeing a group even Julian Assange would shake his head at.

Tommy Kramer Tip #176 – Why You Shouldn’t Let Ratings Methodology Drive You Crazy

Ratings are important, obviously, but the “analytical” mindset can be crippling.  Look at Sports, for instance.  Baseball is talking about having computers “decide” whether a pitch is a ball or a strike, then relay the call through an ear bud to the home plate umpire, who will then repeat it.

The National Football League STILL can’t tell what a catch is – and pass interference is a complete mystery.  NO ONE knows what it is. I’ve seen wide receivers practically clubbed to death, and nothing is called.  But on other days, if you even tell a guy you don’t like his car, it’s a 15-yard penalty.

To me, obsessing over ratings, particularly weekly ratings, is rather insane.

By and large, you have to [1] play the right music, [2] have your service elements – News, Traffic, Weather – actually BE of service (not, say, a forecast recorded at 4am by a TV weather guy who cut it between teeth whitening treatments), and [3] have air talents who are the most engaging, the most relevant to my life, and/or the most entertaining.  THEN I’ll listen.  If you don’t, no weekly PPM measurement can help you, because you’ve substituted left-brain information for what is essentially a right-brain challenge.

Weekly ratings are a joke, like measuring your kid’s height every day.  You need a little more time between measurements to get the full picture.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about ratings, but don’t let them take your eye off the ball.

Radio pioneer Gordon McClendon said, “Be Informative, Be Entertaining, or Be Quiet.”  (But we all knew that “or be quiet” really meant “or you’ll be gone soon.”)  Don’t WAIT for ratings methodology to tell you the obvious, or make you focus on things that won’t cure your problems.  PROGRAM the station.  Hire great people.  Tell them the Strategy.  And if they need it, get them some coaching help.

I can tell you if a station’s a Top 3 station in fifteen minutes of listening.  Because something that happens on the air during that time will MATTER to me.

Work on that.

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

A “Fixer Upper” For Your Station

“The most seductive thing about art is the personality of the artist himself.”
~Paul Cezanne


You’ve probably heard of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” where husband and wife Chip and Johanna Gaines rehab houses in the Waco, TX area. There’s a lot of talk about the show, how talented Johanna is… and how crazy Chip is.  That’s true, but what really makes it work is the stark differentiation between the two hosts. Dare I say role definition?

Two people who are exactly alike, or even closely alike, rarely generate the kind of passion seen on “Fixer Upper.” She’s smart, creative and more of a “driver,” he’s a total expressive, and a lovable clown. If it were just Johanna or just Chip it would wear out quickly. But that’ll never happen since both people are uniquely different, yet oddly compatible.

So how about your team shows? Are they similar in personality and approach, or do they create stark differentiation?

By stark I mean… well you’ll just have to see the show and how much they play up on the differentiation. They stand out from each other, and the result is a ton of entertainment.  Even “serial” entertainment, where they’ll want to come back day after day.

It’s the personality of the two of them that creates the “art” that’s made them so successful.

P.S.  Yes, I know part of the show is fake, but the two people in it are very real.

Frost Advisory #331 – What We Can Learn from Facebook Rants and Political Bias

Reckon’ it’s happened to us all.

I have Facebook friends whose political rants make me want to hit them with a baseball bat.  Metaphorically, of course.

My friend Randy’s FB tirades are the most extreme left-wing drivel you can imagine.  My friend Gort, a self-described liberal, has totally blocked his rants and hides under the bed when he calls.  And they are best friends!

My friend Cooper is as right-wing as a one-legged chicken.  He can’t even mention Hillary’s name without the liberal (pardon the expression) use of expletives.  #@#$#@%$@.

Their diametrically opposed views are so categorically biased you’d think that Hillary and Donald were worthy of challenging Mother Theresa on sainthood.

What can we programmers learn from this silly little journey into social media mud rucking?

A better way to spend our time than a Facebook rant, I’d say.


What if it was the other way around?

What if everything we heard was something we knew was true in our hearts?  What if every time they spoke we felt like they had been talking directly to us?  What if we consistently heard things that affirmed our identify, encouraged us in our daily challenges, and gave us a glimpse at the best version of ourselves?

“The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards.  They either help us become the best-version-of-ourselves or become lesser versions of ourselves.  We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, who remind us of our eternal purpose, and challenge us to become the best version-of-ourselves.”
~John Maxwell

What if those things of value came from our favorite radio station?

My friends at KLTY in Dallas are giving $500 to listeners to help a friend.  Even though the listener also receives $500, that is not the part that is resonating.  They’ve tapped into their listeners’ value system that helping a friend is a meaningful thing to do.

KLTY is helping their listeners become a better version of themselves.

Or, we could just post another rant on Facebook!

Tommy Kramer Tip #175 – Is Your Show Actually FUN?

As more and more research flows in, one thing is clear:  One of the main reasons people become fans of a show is “It’s fun!”

Now besides the fact that “fun” and “funny” are not the exact same thing, the takeaway should be making a really focused assessment of what you do each day, and holding your feet to the fire on whether or not it’s actually fun for the LISTENER, not just you.

An old friend contacted me last week to start working with his midday talent, but in the process of bringing each other up to speed on our lives, he mentioned that his morning show still does “The Impossible Question” trivia thing.  He said, “It’s a lot of fun, and people really like it.”

Well… no, not really.  Trivia – unless you really frame it in a way that’s fun – is not inherently fun or even interesting in itself.  (Of all the contests you can do on the air, trivia tests the worst BY FAR.  The reason is simple.  It’s not 1972 anymore.  With the 24/7 News cycle and the internet, trivia doesn’t pack much punch anymore.  If I Google “trivia” – which I just did – 178 MILLION websites come up.  So it’s certainly not unique or hard to find anymore.  Plus, I can just ask Siri and have the answer in under 5 seconds.)

The Secret Sound?  Well, okay, IF you do it right.  A series of “No, that’s not right, but thanks for trying” breaks on the air burn a hole in the listener’s brain after a very short while.

That great thing you do where your little kid, who can barely talk, is on the air… is that fun?  Are you sure?

So I guess what it boils down to is asking yourself, “Is this show actually fun?”  Be honest.  Tweak whatever needs it; throw away what can’t be improved.

The listener WILL find fun somewhere.  You have to make yourself the best choice for that.

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

Frost Advisory #330 – Don’t Believe Everything You Think

It’s an interesting idea.

Andy Andrews says, “Don’t believe everything you think.  What you think is what you know.  And wisdom goes beyond what you know.”

They say that there really are no marital problems, only people problems that two imperfect people bring into a marriage.

After more than 40 years in radio I’ve come to realize that there really are no programming problems; only problems that people bring into programming discussions.


They seem to fall into these key areas:

  1. Insecurity.  Often it is the “Peter Principle”, those that are successful at a lower level but then promoted to their own level of incompetency where they remain.  These are those who don’t know, know they don’t know, but work tirelessly to not be found out.  Oh, the stories I could tell.
  2. Experience (or lack of).  These people learned programming principles decades ago and are threatened by new concepts.  They tend to divert back to what they did in “the old days” because it is comfortable.  Unfortunately it is also forever their frame of reference.
  3. Work ethic.  When someone touts a programming philosophy that ultimately means they don’t have to work as hard, I know it’s not a real philosophy.  The best work we do is always the hardest work we do.

“People are more comfortable with old problems than they are with new solutions.”
~John Maxwell

Does any of this sound like your radio station?  I’d love to hear from you.  Confidential, of course.