Tommy Kramer Tip #182 – When Repetition Becomes Irritation

The whole concept of “reach and frequency” is one of the benchmarks of all advertising, not just radio.  But since we don’t have artwork or a camera to tell part of the story, we have to be mindful of what our words are actually saying.

Yes, the listener needs to hear something a few times for it to penetrate the world he/she lives in, like a contest, a promotion, or a feature you run.

But when it comes to “regular” Content and your vocabulary, you really don’t want to sound repetitive at all.  In real life conversations, using the same words, expressions, or “camera angles” over and over again is an indicator of laziness, lack of imagination, and lack of respect for the person you’re talking to.

Those things you “always say” are the ENEMY of communication.

I used to coach a morning show in Dallas with a host who made a little whistling noise every time he played “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band.  (You know, that place at the end where there’s a little “slide” guitar thing that sounds like a whistle.)  Whenever that song came up, I really hoped that he WOULDN’T do the whistle – but he always did.  Aaarrrggh.

So, if the question is “when does something become stale?” then the answer may as short as “the second time I hear it.”  This is NOT something you should ever want the listener to think about.

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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 #337 – Givers and Takers, a Thanksgiving Message

As we turn the page on another Thanksgiving holiday in America, the front page tells us that Fidel Castro has died.  That’s reason for partying in the streets in the Cuban-American communities.  One news account referred to it as “Christmas coming early.”

I wonder if Fidel Castro was a grateful man.  Curious idea, don’tcha think?


We don’t usually associate dictators with gratitude.  No, they are the quintessential takers.  The news stories used words like oppression, control, and force.  And yet we associate being grateful with giving.

The same is true for our radio stations.

Is your station a giver or a taker?

I know radio stations where the only time one hears certain voices is when they are asking for money.  Their airwaves are filled with commands “do this” and “do that”, treating listeners like the proverbial dog on a leash.

But I know stations that are “givers”.  I know of a station that has a strategic initiative to connect listeners to local charities.  I know of a station that was on the ground offering bottled water and other help during a local disaster.  I know of a station that gives the opportunity to pray with listeners in need at each station event.

“The human spirit senses and feeds on a giving spirit… Think about what Jesus taught – half the time people didn’t know what he was talking about, but they listened attentively.  Jesus was giving – feeding them.  Not taking.  It is at a spirit (heart) level – he wasn’t just giving information.”
~John Maxwell

One of my heroes is a fellow by the name of Billy Howell, who runs an automobile dealership in the Atlanta area.  Although we’ve never met Billy is one of my heroes because he is a giver.  He partners each year with my friends at The Fish Atlanta to bless those who are struggling.  Just last week Billy and his company granted a Christmas Wish to fly a soldier and his family home to Atlanta prior to his deployment to Afghanistan.

“The best ministry we can offer on God’s behalf isn’t to explain our theology.  It’s to extend our generosity.  Because that’s what our heavenly Father did for us.  And that’s what he’s asked us to do as well.”
~Andy Stanley

Oh, and by the way, the stories of giving you share make wonderful gifts for your listeners

The Start of the Christmas Season

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
~Albert Einstein

We celebrated the start of the Christmas season in my house by watching Miracle on 34th Sreet.  Well, also because we were recently in New York and visited Macy’s.  Still, how can you not love a movie that ends up with Santa being set free?  At a pivotal point in the movie the post office drops off bags and bags of letters to Santa.  Most remember all those letters dropped on the judge’s bench, but just before that there’s a scene at the post office with people sorting the mail by hand.  I love the way they’d flip the letters up to be whisked away by the technology of the day.

Of course, the mail isn’t sorted by hand now, as the post office heads toward something called “Network Rationalization.”  The job shown in the movie doesn’t exist anymore.  Technology changed the way the mail was handled.  That happens, even to the point, we don’t even think about the “old jobs” that were eliminated.

Typically we look at, and complain about, change that happens to us, in our generation, but if we did look at the past we’d see all these instances where change happened, and life moved forward.  The world didn’t explode or freeze in time.  It marched on, continually changing, being embraced by some, and tolerated by most.

Tommy Kramer Tip #181 – Catch and Release

The whole concept of subtlety seems to have died out in the back yard, because no one heard it scratching against the door.

Go to “Catch and Release”, like in fishing.  You catch a Moment, then you let it go.  Trying to reach a second Moment is too far a “reach” for most air talents.  We’re not stand-up comedians, who work tirelessly on “constructs” where each step leads to another one.

Louis C. K. talks often about George Carlin’s process of writing for a special, then tossing that material out, which shocked Louis.  He felt like “I’ve worked for 14 years to get this one hour of good stuff.  How do you just throw that away?!”

Over time (and mustering up all his courage), he learned that you have to clear the slate to open up the mental space to create more.

Radio’s not really the medium for that “Construct” formula anyway.  Quick hits, then movement, define great radio.

I hear so many shows that sound like the people in the studio are having a good time, but like kids at recess, they don’t want to come back into the classroom and settle down.

Catch, then Release.  Stop hanging onto a falling satellite.  Your listeners will really appreciate it.

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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 #336 – Atlanta Is In the Eastern Time Zone

That’s the announcement that came over the airport PA.  But the announcement seems self-evident, doesn’t it?

Atlanta is in the eastern time zone.


…you’re not from Atlanta.

And most of the 250,000 travelers per day through the world’s busiest airport are NOT from Atlanta.

Almost everyone has to catch another flight.  So time matters.

The seemingly self-evident becomes vital with a simple change of perspective.

Your listener has a perspective. Great stations learn it.